October 18, 2022

Chatbots in Telcos: Pros & Cons

In 2020, the market for chatbots around the world was worth about $17 billion. However, projections show that the chatbot market will grow to a value of more than $102 billion by 2026. That is a growth rate of almost 35% every year, which means that the market will grow almost 6 times larger every six years!

What is responsible for this incredible growth in the market for conversational AI chatbots? Improvements in natural language processing mean that chatbots now provide a far better customer service experience than they used to. They are also far better at data protection than older versions.

Chatbots have come a long way and now provide many advantages. Of course, they also have their limitations.

Read on to learn all about the pros and cons of using conversational AI chatbots in the telecommunications industry.

The Pros of AI Chatbots

There are two kinds of advantages when it comes to using artificial intelligence chatbots. There are advantages in efficiency that people are already aware of. However, these advantages have grown as chatbots have become more sophisticated.

Second, there are the kinds of advantages that people are not aware of when it comes to conversational chatbots. These days, many of the downsides of using chatbots have been eliminated.

Modern chatbots use more sophisticated natural language processing powered by conversational AI. That allows them to interact with people in a more helpful and natural way. In some cases, things that used to be downsides of chatbots have actually been reversed into advantages.

Keep Up With Telco Innovation

It is important to understand the mechanism by which companies innovate and grow. However, it is also important to appreciate the big picture. When you zoom out and forget about the details, the big picture is that technology is changing.

As new tools are invented, other telecommunications companies are choosing to make the most of them. As has happened many times in the past, the telecommunications companies that fail to adapt to new kinds of technology have a greater chance of being left behind by their competitors.

In the telecommunications industry, it is often those companies that update their tools the fastest that are able to keep up with the changing business environment and excel.

Improve Telco Customer Service

In the past, talking with a robot on the phone was more than unpleasant. The mistakes that traditional chatbots made were so egregious and laughable that they became the subject of comedy routines and scenes from sitcoms.

However, these days, chatbots sound so natural that it can be shocking. As fantastic as this might seem, such is the rate of progress in the industry of artificial intelligence. What this now means is that modern chatbots can help resolve many simple customer service problems.

When problems are simple enough, chatbots can handle them all on their own. When problems are somewhat more complicated, chatbots can often prepare a customer before handing them off to a live agent.

They can go through routine steps of the customer service process. These can include things like collecting customer information and verifying that they have already gone through certain troubleshooting steps. They can also support customers 24/7, provide immediate answers, adapt automatically to multiple channels and maintain asynchronous interactions with users.

In the telecom industry, chatbots can perform a number of functions without constant human intervention. They can:

  • Handle customer requests that are repetitive in nature such as inquiries about recharge plans, pricing, coverage areas, basic setup procedures, etc.
  • Reduce waiting times.
  • Redirect customer requests to appropriate departments.
  • Provide 24/7 support.
  • Remind customers to recharge before their current plans expire.
  • Collect customer feedback.

The end result is that your customer service representatives have to manage less busy work. Instead of spending a few minutes every call asking for the same pieces of information over and over again, they can review that information gathered by a chatbot.

Then, they can focus their attention on what is unique about each person's problem. The end result is that your customer service system will be more efficient and effective for everyone involved.

Streamline Processes

With an integrated chatbot, customers can obtain transactional information through a chatbot in just a matter of seconds. For example, they can request their data consumption, upgrades on their plans, billing information, and account details, and they can even download invoices or statements from the same chat. 

This is the main difference between a structured chatbot and a conversational bot: the possibility of handling end-to-end processes and transactions in a seamless manner. In this way, customer will be able to turn to the company’s chatbot for all kinds of questions and inquiries. 

Make More Sales With Telco Conversational AI

In many cases, making a sale is more complicated than customer service. That means that many sales require the attention of a skilled human salesperson. However, that is not always the case.

Sometimes, a customer calls up already knowing that they want to buy your product or service. When that happens, modern chatbots are often sophisticated enough to manage an order from start to finish.

Even when that does not happen, chatbots can prepare potential customers before handing them off to a live salesperson. Just as with customer sales representatives, this removes busy work from the plate of your skilled human talent.

Of course, chatbots can help with sales in more ways than trying to make a sale themselves. For example, they can increase the chance that a customer asks to speak with a salesperson at all. One way they do this is by opening up a pop-up message box while a customer is viewing your website content.

Modern chatbots are sophisticated enough to know what kind of opening line is most likely to interest a customer in a product or service. Once they have generated a lead, they can then funnel that lead to your human salespeople.

Provide Service Around the Clock With Digital Talent

A skilled salesperson may be more persuasive than a chatbot. However, they will not be able to provide service around the clock as a chatbot can.

Sometimes, you do not have access to your skilled human talent. When that happens, you can either tell potential customers to come back later, or you can provide them with some amount of service with chatbots.

Even if you do not want chatbots to manage orders or other issues on their own, they can interact with customers who call or message outside of business hours. They can then set them up to interact with a human agent once they are available.

Improve Employee Satisfaction by Reducing Busywork

As we have seen, chatbots are often capable of managing routine and repetitive tasks. We often call these kinds of tasks busy work. They are repetitive and boring and people do not like completing them over and over again.

By giving these tasks to chatbots to take care of, you can improve employee satisfaction. They will have less monotony in their work and more variety.

The Cons of AI Chatbots

Some of the cons of chatbots are outdated. Even those problems which still remain are often significantly smaller than they used to be. Many people cannot believe how sophisticated modern chatbots are until they see them for themselves.

People Prefer to Speak With Live Agents

As efficient as chatbots are, people often prefer speaking to a live agent rather than artificial intelligence. However, that does not mean that using chatbots will decrease your customer service ranking ratings.

Related article: 7 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Live Chat

After all, without a chatbot, your potential customers may simply wait on the phone. For most people, speaking with a chatbot is far better than speaking with no one at all.

People might be happiest if they could wait no time at all and always talk with a live agent. However, when that is not possible, speaking with a chatbot is better than waiting and not speaking to anyone at all.

Chatbots Do Not Understand Everything

One of the most important things for chatbots to understand is how much they do not understand. They need to be able to recognize when they cannot help a present or future customer. That way, they can hand them off to a human agent.

However, just as chatbots do not always know how to understand the concerns of a customer, they sometimes do not understand how much they do not understand. Using chatbots can mean customers are sometimes frustrated when they need to talk to a person and the chatbot has not yet realized that it needs to transfer them to a live agent.

Understand the Pros and Cons of Natural Language Processing Chatbots

Advancements in natural language processing have helped improve artificial intelligence tools. These days, you can enjoy conversational AI chatbots with a striking resemblance to competent human customer service representatives. That can lead to an improved customer service experience with excellent data protection at the same time.

To learn more about how chatbots can help you grow your telecommunications business, discover our solutions for this industry or take our product tour.

Are you looking for new ways to improve your CX?

Our customer service solutions powered by conversational AI can help you deliver an efficient, 24/7 experience  to your customers. Get in touch with one of our specialists to further discuss how they can help your business.