A trending technology is the use of bots in customer service. While bots can certainly help companies manage communications faster, sometimes they fail to provide the correct information and consumers just stop communicating with them, pick up the phone and overload call center phone lines.
Have you ever tried to ask Amazon’s Alexa for information, or to complete a task, just to have it misunderstand you? The same thing happens with bots. When seeking information, customers quickly become frustrated if the bot doesn’t give correct answers, or they end up arguing with a technology that is supposed to make the buying (or information getting) process easier.
However, bots have proven one thing – they are efficient. So efficient, in fact, that they are ruining Christmas for a lot of consumers. A recent article in The New York Times reports that efficient scalpers and resellers are using bots to snatch up in-demand toys faster than any human could ever click and submit, as well as “hot” theatre tickets for shows including Hamilton. In fact, in one case, a scalper purchased 1,000 tickets to an U2 concert in less than a minute.
While bots helped make this nefarious and unscrupulous activity possible, and caused many consumers to miss out on these tickets for Holiday gifts, the one thing this illustrate is just how efficient bots are at accomplishing a fixed task. Given the right programming, bots can make a business incredibly efficient. Think about how long it would take you to purchase 1,000 tickets to ANYTHING – especially when there are ticket limits. The mere activity of searching for tickets, adding them to a shopping cart and going through the checkout process can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes, depending on how fast you can type.
While this example did leave a string of upset people who missed out on buying something, it also proves that bots aren’t going away. In fact, bots are increasingly used by businesses to lessen workloads, increase customer service times and to allow consumers to gather information quickly, without having to call into customer service, tackle a phone tree and wait on hold.
Resellers and scalpers have already figured out how to take advantage of bots for their own profit and OEMS and dealerships are quickly figuring out how to do the same – but in a much more beneficial way for the customer. While chatbots, including Siri and Alexa, are designed to answer questions on a universal level, auto industry-specific chatbots are designed for specific interactions.
Ask Alexa, “What is the warranty on a 2012 Jeep Wrangler?” and she’ll respond with “Sorry. I can’t find the answer to the question I heard.” (Go ahead, try it.) However, a chatbot tailored for that specific purpose, fed knowledge that’s appropriate for questions about its industry, (e.g. various basic warranty issues) would be able to answer this with ease.
Here’s an example that could happen before long:
Customer to service advisor: How do I transfer the warranty on my CPO vehicle that I just sold?
Normally, the service advisor would have to login to the manufacturer portal, search for this process, compose their own message, copy/paste the links, and then send it out to the customer, a process that could take as much as 10 minutes. With the chatbot-assisted model it takes a mere 5 seconds.
Consumers want information when they want it without having to jump through hoops. Consider this reality as you analyze just how effective (or ineffective) your communication is with your customers. Are you providing the right experience and reeling them in, or simply driving them away due to a lack of fast and efficient customer interaction?
You might just find that implementing procedures and/or new technology which offers faster and more efficient communication delights your customers while increasing your productivity and profits — no more Grinch stealing your future profits!
Author: Ujj Nath
Ujj Nath is the Founder and CEO of myKaarma (www.mykaarma.com), the cloud-based conversational commerce software that’s revolutionizing the auto service industry. He has 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and automotive industry executive. In 1990, prior to myKaarma, Ujj founded Syncata, a major provider of business consulting and systems integration services. In 2004 he successfully negotiated the sale of the company to ProQuest Business Solutions (NYSE: PQE), which was subsequently acquired by Snap-On Tools (NYSE:SNA). At Snap-On, Ujj was Vice President of Global Accounts and headed the Professional Services Organization for Snap-on Business Solutions. He can be reached at email@example.com.