Perhaps the most successful area in AI research currently is chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs that simulate a conversation with a human. Through machine learning and natural language processing, these computer programs can understand to a degree what people are saying to them and they can formulate responses that are intelligible and appropriate within the context of the conversation. What makes chatbots such an exciting area of study within artificial intelligence research is that it is a practical area of study and one that already has real-world applications and implications. Businesses are already using chatbots in a number of important ways and one of the biggest uses of chatbots currently is in customer support.

Not everyone is excited at the prospect of chatbots being used in the customer service industry and some are claiming that chatbots will take the jobs of customer service agents. Ironically, these complaints are mostly coming from people who don’t work in the customer service industry. And the majority of those who do (80%) say that they’d welcome chatbots into their customer support team and that chatbots would improve their job satisfaction. For a better understanding of why that’s the case, consider the following points.

Chatbots reduce the mundane

Imagine you work in a customer service on a live chat team. Would you prefer that 90% of the questions you’re asked consist of the same five or six questions or would you prefer to tackle more challenging questions that require you to really exercise your brain to help resolve them? And here’s a follow-up question, would your work day seem faster in the first scenario or the second? If you’re like most people who work in the customer service industry, you’d prefer the second scenario. Assisting in answering the same handful of boring, easy questions day in and day out is mundane. It leads to decreased job satisfaction. Chatbots eliminate this by fielding the easy questions for customer support agents so only the more challenging and unique situations make it through to the human customer support staff.

Chatbots make customers happier

When customers encounter a problem or question, they expect a quick resolution when they turn to the brand’s customer service team for assistance. You can probably imagine quite easily (because it’s happened to you more than once) a situation where you initiate a live chat session with a customer support team and have to wait for several minutes to get beyond the automatically generated message telling your your question has been received. When a live agent does come on to assist you, there are still long gaps between communications because he/she is trying to balance several interactions simultaneously. Your customer service interaction with that agent starts of on the wrong foot and only gets more strained from there. Chatbots eliminate this problem by reducing wait times and freeing up live agents to give more attention to the more difficult situations that chatbots can’t resolve. Customers are happier right at the start because of prompt service and the chances of a successful resolution increase substantially.

Happier customers means happier customer service agents.

We’ve come full circle. Chatbots make employees happier and more productive because they make their jobs less mundane. This in turn makes customers happier because they don’t have to wait as long and they’re dealing with friendlier support staff. And happier customers in turn makes customer service representatives even more effective because they aren’t facing an uphill battle in dealing with an upset customer right from the start.