13 May 2022Back to Blog
Robots vs Humans: The Evolution of Chatbots for Customer Service
You’ll most likely be familiar with chatbots by now. Designed as a way to relieve some of the workload on customer service teams, chatbots interact with shoppers in a way that resembles an in-store sales assistant. The ease of online shopping has meant that customers have high expectations and limited patience when it comes to searching for products and/or having queries answered. This is where automated chatbots can step in as a way to combat frustration and provide instant assistance.
The problem with chatbots is that they don’t always work as hoped. In the past, they have presented as too formulaic, inhumane and unhelpful. This has left customers feeling more frustrated, tarnishing their shopping experience and the brand’s reputation. Customer service experts have even dubbed this process “the spiral of misery.”
The idea is there but there’s definitely room for improvement. So, how are chatbots evolving and where should ecommerce stores be investing their money?
The Future of the Chatbot
According to Gartner, the market for virtual assistants/chatbots will grow 15% to more than $7 billion in the next year.
With advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), we have seen how chatbots are evolving to become more intelligent and more conversational. Tapping into unlimited online data, they are often able to mimic humans and provide more useful responses to online queries.
It’s clear that as technology advances, chatbots could provide ecommerce businesses with a valuable tool for promoting brand loyalty, improving the customer experience and boosting online sales.
Decision made then, right? Well, not quite. Chatbots might not be the ideal solution for everyone.
To Chatbot or Not to Chatbot?
That is the question.
During a recent roundtable event hosted by Retail Gazette and Certainly, several retailers discussed the difficulty when faced with legacy systems which make it difficult to add chatbots and other solutions to their ecommerce platforms.
This is a big issue amongst many online merchants who are stuck with the decision of staying with their current platform and risk not being able to keep up with the needs of their customers, or face the cost and time of replatforming. As an ecommerce agency, it’s an issue we’ve seen time and time again. The majority of the time, we will recommend moving away from your legacy platform to a more robust and scalable solution like BigCommerce. This is simply because retailers need to start putting their business in a better position for adding to their tech stack. Customers are only going to get more demanding and competition will always be fierce. Invest in the tech that puts you at the top.
The other issue with chatbots is whether they’ll ever be ‘human enough’. Are you going to push your customers away when they realise they’re talking to a robot instead of a real-life human being? How does that reflect on your business? Every customer is different so it’s hard to give a definitive answer. However, it could be worth looking at other options for your customer service related tasks and weigh up what works best for you.
Putting the Humanity Back in Customer Service With Gorgias
If the chatbot doesn’t seem like the right option for your online store, but you are looking for a way to improve the customer service experience, you might want to consider Gorgias.
Gorgias is an ecommerce helpdesk, designed to centralise all your support tickets and customer information in one place. Tracking all your customer queries across various channels, your customer service team can easily view and respond in one easy-to-use dashboard.
Providing a holistic view of your customers, you will be able to display all customer data while talking, thus increasing your resolution time and building on that brand loyalty. You can do all sorts of tasks while chatting directly with the customer, including providing purchasing advice, adjusting their orders and refunding payments. This swift action and more personalised way of communicating with your customers is more efficient and provides a greater overall shopping experience. It will also streamline your actions in-house, saving time and money.
If you’re still looking for some automated capabilities, you can also set up responses for frequently asked questions and automate other tasks.
We’re delighted to be a Gorgias partner and can’t wait to see what they do next. If you want more information on integrating Gorgias into your current tech stack, drop us a message and we’ll get back to you!