Chatbots Can Save Companies Money, But Won't Replace Human Help

Chatbots are certainly shaking things up, but businesses need to remember that AI will never truly replace human touch.

A great example is Intuit’s SmartLook®-branded customer-support experience, which blends an automated chat tool with skilled voice agents, who are also equipped with Glance’s visual engagement technology. 

When an Intuit TurboTax® customer taps the “Help” button on their tax return, the SmartLook chatbot asks a few questions about the nature of their request and presents some links to relevant Knowledge Base articles. In parallel, the bot queries information stored in Intuit’s CRM about the customer’s prior purchases and support cases. This helps the system decide whether to post an option for the customer to work directly with a support representative.

Customers with simple queries – or those who like to “figure it out on their own” – can explore the bot’s suggested resources. Those preferring a “human touch” are asked to enter their phone number. If the queue is empty, their phone rings moments later, providing a seamless experience from automated to human-powered guidance.

If an agent is not immediately available, the customer sees a timer counting down the anticipated wait time. The moment an agent is assigned, SmartLook alerts the customer to ask whether they still want to take the call.

Behind the scenes, the contact center’s routing engine selects an appropriately skilled agent, auto-pops the customer’s case object so that the agent can review any pre-conversation responses, and rings the agent’s headset while also placing a call to the customer. The moment they connect, SmartLook’s integrated visual engagement technology instantly opens a live view for the agent of exactly what the customer sees. 

The customer could be on, using their (desktop or mobile) web browser to do their taxes, or be using one of TurboTax’s native laptop or mobile applications. The experience for customer and agent is identical for all cases. The agent sees exactly what their customer sees, making it easy to guide the customer through the experience.

Not personal enough? The customer can also see the agent via one-way video. Agents love this feature, as its helps diffuse any customer frustration, builds trust, and establish credibility in the customer’s eyes. 

This carefully crafted combination of automated and virtually-in-person assistance has been a huge hit. In its first season, more than 400,000 customers opted for SmartLook’s video chat plus cobrowse. Another 600,000 used cobrowse with just the phone call.

By giving agents the ability to see their customers’ problems on screen, the average time to handle each call dropped significantly. In other words, customers received the information they needed more quickly and efficiently through the SmartLook solution, without the need for a follow-up call. That’s practically the gold standard for customer service.

Human touch is here to stay

Chatbots are certainly shaking things up, but businesses need to remember that AI will never truly replace human touch. That’s especially the case when responding to complex questions or high-value transactions.

The SmartLook system uses a chatbot to serve up useful answers to basic questions, but it’s only the first line of service. The kind of help that only a human can provide is a simple click or tap away. And by leveraging state-of-the-art visual engagement technologies, such as Glance’s cobrowse, screen sharing and video chat, a human agent can visually guide TurboTax customers, whether they’re using a computer or a mobile device.

Long story short? The best customer engagement processes use the latest technologies to enable, extend and improve human interactions, not replace them.

To take advantage of the AI trend, integrate a chatbot into your company’s low-touch interactions. But always ensure that your customers can quickly and easily escalate to a well-trained, visual technology-enabled customer service rep for a high-touch, high-value conversational experience that can build lifetime customer value.


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