76% of Contact Centers Leverage Chatbots To Support Operations and Customers

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The pandemic forced contact centers to adopt new strategies and solutions to streamline operations and provide seamless customer support. Chatbots, too, saw an uptick in adoption in contact centers. To understand the state of chatbots in contact centers today, Botco.ai recently conducted a study.

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in 2020, like most other industry sectors, contact centers, too, were forced to adopt new strategies and find solutions to enable their remote staff and support frazzled customers. However, legacy systems and staffing problems made satisfying customer expectations challenging. Many contact centers also faced limited resources and budgets while contact volumes increased. Fortunately, the adoption of conversational assistants or chatbots, too, increased. According to a Salesforce reportOpens a new window , over 23% of customer service organizations use AI chatbots, and the market is growing fast. 

So, what is the state of chatbots today? How are chatbots helping contact centers, and what challenges do the latter face this year regarding chatbots? Botco.ai recently conducted a studyOpens a new window to find the answers. Here are a few insights.

Chatbots Benefit Contact Centers Massively

The study showed that conversational automation and chatbots are crucial tech advancements for contact centers. About 76% of respondents said they leverage chatbot technologies in their organizations.

Using chatbots yielded several benefits for organizations. About 51% said chatbots reduce customer call time, and 50% said chatbots have a smooth handoff to human representatives. About 44% said that the tech deflects calls and reduces the workload, while 28% said it helped them improve key metrics, such as average time to answer and customer satisfaction. A few other benefits of using conversational AI for virtual assistants include streamlining conversations, handling high-volume requests, and delivering more accurate and personalized customer experiences.

That said, professionals are looking for specific features when evaluating automated solutions or chatbots. While 47% said trainable intelligence was an important feature, 42% cited simple deployment. About 39% cited conversational proficiency as an important feature.

See more: 99% of B2B Marketers Say AI Chatbots Increase Their Lead Conversion Rates

Almost Half of the Calls Are Deflected by Chatbots

Resolving customer calls and queries is of high importance to contact centers. And metrics guide contact centers to gauge success and chart progress. While quality, service level, and average handle time are some of the traditional metrics, with the usage of chatbots or conversational AI, call deflectionOpens a new window is another metric being measured. For a customer issue to be considered deflected, the customer should indicate that a chatbot’s solution has completely resolved the issue and that there is no need for further action. 

About 46% of the study’s respondents said that calls are deflected by chatbots or other automations in the range of 20-30%. This same range is consistent for deflection for both non-emergency (37%) and emergency (29%) service demands. The findings are consistent with ServiceXRG’s findingsOpens a new window , where the average call deflection rate is 23%.

Chatbots Integrate Easily With Various Enterprise Systems

When asked how chatbots integrate with other enterprise applications that contact center professionals use, 58% said their chatbot integrates with their scheduling database, and 68% said their chatbot integrates with their CRM  or customer profiles.

Whether integrating with ERP systems, connecting with CRMs, merging with an HRMS solution, or linking with business intelligence systems, chatbots can make everything more accessible and help generate business outcomes faster. 

Chatbots Help Reduce Attrition and Burnout

Contact centers face high attrition rates. According to a ContactBabel studyOpens a new window , 26% of respondents had to deal with attrition rates of over 30%. High attrition rates and employee burnout is detrimental to the staff and the company. Conversational AI can augment and assist employees and help them resolve customer queries and issues faster with less effort. 

When asked how chatbots affect the team makeup, 48% thought chatbots are there to replace some of the team members. However, 46% felt chatbots are used to augment the team’s capabilities and not replace humans.

Automating mundane and manual tasks can give employees time to handle more complex calls. Chatbots also reduce burnout and improve core metrics. Further, virtual agents can help with workload management and enable teams to prioritize important cases, ultimately delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Long Training Time Is the Biggest Perceived Challenge

As with most things, chatbots also have a few challenges and limitations. A few limitations are:

  • They do not understand the human context 
  • They are not capable of customer retention
  • They cannot make decisions
  • They have no emotions and zero research skills

However, the most common perceived issues using chatbots are that they take a long training time (39%). About 35% also felt chatbot technology causes logistical problems with scheduling or other business applications. More concerning is that 30% felt that chatbots would replace them. The sentiment is not completely unfounded, as 48% revealed that chatbots are there specifically to replace a few humans currently doing the job.

Despite these limitations, more businesses are investing in chatbots because they understand that conversational AI can enhance operational efficiencies, improve customer support, and improve their bottom line.

See more: Why Chatbots are Powerful Tool For Consumer Engagement

Many Perceive Price as a Potential Barrier to Entry

According to the study, the perception that implementing conversational AI technology is cost-prohibitive poses a barrier to greater adoption. About 40% of the respondents currently not using chatbots said that the price was too expensive to implement. Regarding the pricing, nearly half of the respondents believed an acceptable monthly price range for a chatbot solution was between $100-250 (24.5%) or $250-500 (24.5%).

But if a cost-benefit analysis is done, AI-powered chatbots are a cost-effective solution. Virtual agents cost about 10% of human agents, never take breaks, and work 24/7. Further, they offer the benefits explained above. Looking at chatbots from an ROI perspective, the technology provides huge returns.

Conclusion

Chatbots play a key role in improving contact centers’ operational efficiencies. As customers expect faster, more personalized, and smarter experiences, AI-powered chatbots ensure busy agents keep up with service demands, satisfy client expectations, and deliver exceptional experiences. 

Despite the perceived challenges and barriers, forward-thinking executives are eager to embrace digital transformation and make strides to modernize customer experience. It is time for the hesitant ones to do the same.

Are you using chatbots in your contact center? What benefits and challenges do you see with them? Share with us on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window .

Image source: Shutterstock

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