Consumers Like Human More Than ChatBot: 7 Mistakes You Must Avoid in Online Customer Service

A white robot

Every online business owners desire to automate their sales funnel from generating traffics to converting the audiences into buyers. Yet, no matter how you perfectly design the journey of your website or mobile app and assign a smart chatbot to serve your customers, sometimes customers still want to connect with a real person before paying money. A study says 86% of consumers prefer human to a chatbot, and 71% say they will less likely to buy a product if no human customer representatives are available.

Hence, customer support is irreplaceable for online business as of 2020, especially when you are serving high-end products like a luxury travel package or a premium bank account. Here is some advice on what we should avoid when serving customers online:

#1 Use only a chatbot to answer questions, or Copy and paste like a robot

Technology is always the source of laziness of humans. With an auto-answering robot, online stores answer customers’ general enquirers instantly by providing them the standardized answers according to the keywords contain in their questions.

However, auto-generated answers are always robotic and not customized. Chatbots only read and answer according to keywords of a question, but not customers’ emotions and feelings. It just displays an answer but never chats.

A worse situation is, you have an online customer representative who answers questions like a robot. Whatever a customer asks, he/she just copy and paste from the database then send it via email or instant chatting windows.

In this case, Customers may not even know they are talking to a real human. Communication will not be effective as you cannot apply one answer to all situations. So please don’t be lazy to read all customers’ requests and answer them by typing yourself, implementing real interactions with customers.

Robot CS
Most consumers prefer human to robot customer support. Image: Unsplash

#2 Pressuring customer to submit personal information

As a customer, I have to admit I sometimes ask silly questions. The best thing about using an online CS platform is, we can ask silly questions anonymously.

I remember once I sent an email to an online gadget store and receive a quick reply within minutes. But instead of answering my questions, the online CS asked my phone number and full name. They said this is their company policies to answer questions only over the phone, and they only serve those submitting personal information.

If the telephone is the only communication channel of your online store, why do you apply an online live chat widget on the website? Some websites requested you to fill in a super long list of blank boxes before you can ask your one little question. This really discourages customers to engage with your business online.

#3 Always ask for uncessary proofing documents (even this is a simple question)

An ex-colleague of mine explained to me so proudly that he “expel” customers by asking them to provide a long list of material to provide their identities as customers, which includes but not less than screenshots of pages you have questions, 10 shots of photos from a different angle to show the products you bought, home addresses, proof of addresses…etc. This reduces the workload of a CS but will only make the customer annoyed.

#4 No response in more than 48 hours

Life is waiting but no one likes waiting. 48 hours may not be a long processing time if you are running a big company like Facebook or Google, but most people do not expect waiting too long when they are shopping in an online store or asking for services from SMEs.

Of course, sometimes you are too busy to reply 100+ enquires. Please don’ t hesitate to say something like “Thank you for your patience” if you believe you are getting back to customers lately.

#5 Bad temper

It’s true they everyone is emotional and sometimes we may be angered by unreasonable requests. Remember you are not meeting customers face-to-face when doing e-customer service. You can curse the customers behind the screen and at the same time sending them a smiley emoji, but please never try to start a war of words with them. Keep a positive and cheerful image all the time.

#6 Writing too short

In many cases, customers only ask Yes/No questions. Rather than replying to them with only a “Yes” or a “No”, it is always good to use complete sentences and provide them extra information regarding your products or services. If you cannot think of anything else, just tell customers “Feel free to contact me if you have more questions”. Writing long may not be useful but it makes people feel you are enthusiastic.

#7 Being too humble

Being humble is always a good habit but please do not overdo. Hold your bottom line and say no politely when there is a request you cannot fulfill. Do not make customers overestimate what you can provide. When customers are making non-sense requests, you should say no to them politely.


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(Article Last Updated on October 4, 2020)