When IT chatbots were first introduced, admittedly, they were less than impressive. They were slow, clunky and in many cases, it was painfully obvious that a robot was on the other end. Advances in artificial intelligence technology, however, have addressed these concerns and the virtual agents of today are becoming more human-like by the minute. And their popularity is growing, with Gartner predicting that by next year, 50% of medium-to-large enterprises will be using chatbots.
Should you be one of them? Let’s take a look at a few of the ups and downs of using virtual support.
Pros of IT Chatbots
Frees Up Humans Resources – The first and most obvious benefit to deploying IT chatbots for the helpdesk is that it shifts a significant portion of the workload from human to machine. This frees up human agents to be able to focus their high-level skills and cognitive talents on more complex and important business initiatives. This is a much more optimal allocation of resources.
Enables 24/7 Support – Most organizations can’t afford to pay for round-the-clock IT support, and for those that do have the budget, justifying it can be a challenge. IT chatbots are available 24/7, which means if a problem arises at 2am, there’s a good chance it can be automatically addressed and resolved without human intervention. A higher level of support without having to pay live agents? Yes, please.
Advanced Interaction – With the right software solution, IT chatbots can be fully customized. Furthermore, thanks to advanced AI technologies like machine learning and natural language processing, virtual agents can be so “intelligent” that the end-user doesn’t even realize they’re interacting with a robot and not a fellow human.
Cons of IT Chatbots
Volume – The overarching goal of any IT chatbot implementation is to automate routine, manual and recurring tasks. Logically, if the volume of recurring activities for your IT team is low, the benefits of introducing virtual agents may not outweigh the cost and effort it takes to implement.
Time/Resources – While it’s true that chatbots free up existing IT staff, the technology isn’t something you simply plug and play. It requires oversight and maintenance by skilled human workers who can make sure the software has all the information it needs, can add new services, applications and processes for the end-user as needed and that the bots are properly tested.
Fear/Resistance – Lastly, as with most automation technology, chatbots often elicit feelings of fear and resistance from human workers who may be concerned that they are being replaced. Additionally, if the technology is not up-to-par, the end user may push back against the idea of working with virtual agents vs. human help desk support.
These issues can be overcome, provided the right people, technologies and policies are in place. In fact, if you take your time to fine-tune your chatbot platform, it can easily become an effective and realistic channel for supporting end-users, making it well worth the time and investment.
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