Why Chatbots are Good and No, They Won't Take Away Your Job
Like machines, customer service robots assist workers-they will make jobs easier and advance industries
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We all go online to find products and services, even outside of business hours and on public holidays, sometimes struggling to get the customer service we need.
"Your call is important to us! Current wait time is 20 minutes."
"You've called outside of our business hours! Our office hours are 9-5 Monday to Friday."
"Thanks for your email! Someone from our team will respond within 5 business days."
We've all experienced the above at some point, possibly leading you to forget about making your purchase altogether.
You go through several hurdles before deciding to hand money over to a business, like navigating through a website to find the right information and having a conversation with customer service when needed.
We're already getting instant service in-store from fast food chains and supermarkets in the form of self-service machines, so what about online?
When I was looking to provide 24/7 customer service for my company, I initially planned on outsourced live chat. After writing up the sales script and FAQ, I realized it could all be automated and developed a chatbot to provide automated instant service.
Chatbots are the technology you can talk to and they don't sleep, get sick or take leave—they are always on and ready to talk to you with instant responses and even suggested quick reply buttons you can tap to get to the answers you need faster. But this doesn't mean human jobs are not required. Like machines, customer service robots assist workers—they'll make jobs easier and advance industries. They can also provide different types of instant service.
When asking a shoe retailer something like, "Do you deliver shoes to Melbourne?", a chatbot could pick up on keywords like "deliver", "shoes" and "Melbourne" and be able to reply with information about shipping that product to your location.
A handbag retailer's chatbot could offer product suggestions based on what information it learns from you like colour, style and brand.
An insurance chatbot could ask a series of qualifying questions that a salesperson would usually ask on first contact like your budget and the cover you are interested in and then direct you to the most suitable cover.
Wanted: Human workers
That's not what happens when automation enters the workforce. Look at companies using robot workers like Amazon. It has been expanding its robot workforce since 2012 and the rate at which it hires workers has not changed.
Robots help Amazon keep prices low, which means people buy more (cheap) stuff, so Amazon then needs more people to handle the work.
Chatbots can be a win for business, workforce and consumers. When a business is more profitable, wages can be increased or prices can be reduced. Money could also be reinvested to create an increased demand and lead to the need for more workers.