At first, an automated system designed to answer all of your client's wants and needs, both good and bad sounds amazing. Having the ability to address concerns at any day and any time is the kind of customer service all businesses strive for. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is as automated responders or chatbots while getting better, still, pale in comparison to good ole flesh and blood human customer service. In an age where businesses can live and die by how they communicate back with their clients, automated bots are falling short of expectations.
You Need the Human Touch, For the Good.
Having a staff answer a client's engagement, concerns and negative feedback on social media is a full-time job. It's a job that depends on the size of the business and requires someone (or sometimes more than one person) to always be responding to clients who are actively engaging with you. This can range from thanking people for leaving nice comments about a product to discussing with people what they like the most about what your business offers and how it can be better. People like a business that talks to them and shows them that they care about what the consumer wants, and is listening to their concerns. If you want to see two great example, the Arby's and Wendy's social media feeds show ways of giving information, keeping it more of a way to share information rather than a sell something and most importantly, have fun. At the end of the day, people like to have fun and if they see a business is having fun with them, even online, they feel more inclined to remember you and participate with you in the future. Chat bots simply cannot offer this level of spontaneous fun banter with clients without sounding forced.
For the Bad
It's not all fun and games though, as sometimes there will be clients who experience negative encounters with your business, service or product. Because of this, humans are needed more than ever to offer the reassurance and level of situational awareness to react accordingly to an angry customer and offer them a solution as quickly and efficiently as possible. Taking it offline is a phrase we use a lot at JM2 and it has more meaning and depth than just trying to delete and mute negative comments.
We all have bad experiences and we all get angry. The last thing we want is the feeling of being ignored or not being fully listened to. By keeping that human touch, we have another person willing to listen to all of the client's woes, offer them a solution and a sincere-sounding apology for the incident happening in the first place. With an automated response, this canned answer leaves clients feeling like they're ignored and left without any real source to fix their problem. They can't offer the level of empathy that we understand our own frustrations and disappointment. While some have said in the past to leave the emotion out of business, when it comes to client care and empathy, we disagree.
And the Ugly
Clients and customers have never had more freedom to discuss to a wide reaching audience their pros and cons with a business. Whether you're a mega-corporation or a brick and mortar shop, clients have never had more power to voice their love or their hate of a business. Look no further than the recent incidents with businesses like American Airlines and Uber to see how a lack of clear messages and mismanagement both in the real world and online can lead to disasters.
Understanding the tact and nuance of human emotions and expectations is something that AI minded chat bots simply cannot match. Their pre-recorded dialogue can actually work against a business, no matter the original intention, now creating an even bigger incident than the original one. Your business is now a business that isn't interested in interacting with their customers for good or bad reasons and has the potential to become an even bigger issue when people show other's you aren't listening. What was once one disappointed customer can now turn into dozens if not hundreds of angry customers if their dissatisfaction goes viral. At this point, it's almost too late to take the negativity offline and requires and entirely new strategy to counter what started as a simple miscommunication. One that as of now, is impossible to be detected and reacted to by bots.
There's an old saying that the internet never forgets nor do they ever forgive. This is an old adage that businesses should take care to keep in mind not as a threat, but as a figurative measuring stick to keep a business honest with their clients and with themselves. Communication no matter your businesses size will always help to build a better relationship with your clients, something that simply can't be done with automated responses. You may initially save money with bots and human-less responses, but the long term damage your business will receive can't really compare to a few upfront savings.
I'm always ready to talk about what works best for customer service and how your business can benefit from it. Want to chat? Need help with your business? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, I'd love to hear from you.