When It Comes to Chatbots, There's Room For Improvement, Forrester Finds

Chatbots have become a critical tool that organizations use to interact with their customers, especially as chatbots are becoming smarter and more customizable. According to an April 2019 survey from Forrester Consulting, 89 percent of customer service decision makers in North America believe chatbots and virtual agents are useful technologies for personalizing customer interactions. But problems arise when the capabilities that chatbot vendors promise to deliver just aren’t there, or require too much involvement from internal IT teams.

For example, according to Forrester’s findings, though 93 percent of respondents said “providing personalized responses to each customer regardless of whether their question is an FAQ” is important, only 69 percent that’s a current chatbot capability. Similarly, though 88 percent said it’s important for chatbots to “provide real-time insight to agents to resolve inquiries quickly,” 64 percent said it was something chatbots could actually do.

If a chatbot doesn’t come with certain functionality out of the box, there may be the option to customize it, but often, there’s too much of a disconnect between agents that actually interact with customers and understand what may be missing from their experience, and the IT teams that customize and tweak the chatbots, wrote Rachel Linthwaite, market impact consultant at Forrester, in the report: 

“When asked about the challenges inherent in using AI and automation to personalize customer interactions, CX teams noted a lack of autonomy over their tools. Over half of respondents indicated that their solutions must be customized by IT teams, leaving business users disconnected from their own tools, and unable to create compelling experiences. Furthermore, 50% also acknowledge that the business users which make up these CX teams do not have a technical background, further feeding into the over-reliance on IT.” 

The solution? Forrester argues that for organizations to get the most return on investment from their chatbot solutions, they must opt for tools that empower the business user, such as customer service agents or marketers, according to Linthwaite:

“AI-powered chatbot technologies, that can be customized and operated by CX teams, must be embraced. These technologies will integrate into the larger business tooling infrastructure and more efficiently offer a high degree of personalization, leading to more satisfied, engaged, and loyal customers.” 

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