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Will Chatbots Replace Human Customer Service Agents by 2027?

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The rise of artificial intelligence has given way to numerous innovations that have changed the manner in which businesses operate. Chatbots are AI-powered virtual agents that can converse with customers, answer their questions and even sell products if needed.

As customer service is one of the primary ways that companies can connect with their customers directly, it’s no wonder why so many businesses are utilising chatbot technology to serve their customers and reduce operational costs simultaneously.

Ask anyone what comes to mind when you mention artificial intelligence and you’re likely to get a response about killer robots or computers taking over the world. While those assertions may be a little overblown for now, there is some truth behind them regarding AI automation and businesses. The Global Chatbot Market was valued at USD 3. 78 billion in 2021 and is projected to register a CAGR of 30. 29% over the forecast period 2022 – 2027. Let’s take a look at whether or not chatbots will replace human customer service agents by 2027 as predicted by Gartner.

How do Chatbots Impact Customer Service?

Chatbots have a huge effect on customer service because they’re able to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they never get tired. They can also process a lot of information at once, which is invaluable for businesses that need to be able to handle a wide array of inquiries at once.

The most common use of chatbots today is a replacement for the FAQ pages. Customers can go to a company’s website and ask a question about their product or service. When the customer service team is not available, the chatbot can respond to those questions and answer them to the best of its ability.

Chatbots can also be used to initiate the first contact with a customer. Companies with new products can use chatbots on social media platforms to respond to customer questions and generate initial leads. This can be a great way to drive traffic to your website while also engaging with people who don’t want to talk to you.

They can even manage the complete eCommerce experience from product catalogue display, selection, and shopping cart through to payment – all within the messaging inbox.  

What are the strategies for successful Chatbot deployment?

When first deploying chatbots, it’s important to note that they’re not a “plug-and-play” solution. They need to be trained, monitored, and maintained just like any other software. Before deploying a chatbot, it’s important to identify the business problem that it’s solving.

There are a few different ways to go about this. One option is to conduct a thorough customer experience audit. This is a best practice for businesses of all shapes and sizes and is something that can be done internally.

Another option is to work with a customer experience consultancy that can help you identify problems and come up with a strategy for improving them. Once you’ve identified the problem that a chatbot could help solve, it’s time to decide on a deployment strategy. It’s important to keep in mind that chatbots are not one-size-fits-all.

Each business should look at the problems they’re trying to solve and then decide which channels make the most sense to deploy chatbots on. For example, if you’re a car dealership, you might have customers who are interested in a car coming in to test drive it on the weekend, and customers who are interested in buying a car while they’re at work on a weekday.

Chatbot Use Cases

Businesses are seeing the greatest return when they deploy chatbots in the following areas:

  • Customer service
  • Ecommerce
  • Retail
  • Healthcare
  • Banking

And providing 24-hour service is the best chatbot use case!

So let’s focus on Customer Service chatbot usage, what are they being used for:

  • Self-service in simple scenarios
  • Gathering initial information about a service case before handing it off to an agent
  • Providing agents with guidance and recommendations as they handle cases
  • Greeting customers when they visit a website/portal

Chatbot Deployment Strategy

Before deploying a chatbot, you must first identify the appropriate metrics for measuring success. While it’s true that chatbots can save businesses money by reducing the need for human agents, there are other ways to measure success.

The number of customers assisted is not an accurate metric for success because the customer may use other channels to resolve their questions. You should also look at the volume of engagement with your bot, along with the quality of that engagement.

Once you’ve selected the appropriate metrics for success, it’s time to prioritize the order in which you deploy your chatbots.

Where do you expect them to be most successful?

Which social channels have the highest volume of engagement?

And which social channels have the highest rate of dissatisfaction? It’s important to begin with the channels where you’re expecting the most success initially and then move on to the others once your resources are fully utilised.

Identify Relevant Chatbot Metrics

Once you have a strategy for deploying chatbots, it’s time to identify the metrics that will help you determine whether or not they’re successful. When choosing metrics for your chatbots, you have to consider the relationship between your business and your customers.

If your customers are likely to reach out to you by phone, you’re not going to be able to answer their questions through a chatbot. In those scenarios, you want to track metrics like the number of customers who are assisted, the average amount of time it takes to respond, and the percentage of customers who contact you that are fully satisfied with the assistance you provided.

If your customers are likely to reach out to you through a different channel, like email, you’d want to track metrics like the number of customers who are assisted, the average amount of time it takes to respond, and the percentage of customers who are fully satisfied with the assistance you provided.

Review Cadence

One of the most important things to consider when you’re deploying chatbots is the cadence of your engagement. The best way to think about this is to picture a scale. The left side of the scale represents pushy and aggressive engagement, while the right side represents no engagement at all.

Each channel that you deploy your chatbot on will have a different ideal cadence. For example, if you’re deploying a chatbot on your website, you can get away with sending a message to each visitor daily. This is an aggressive cadence and is not recommended for most businesses. On the other hand, if you’re using your chatbot on a social media channel, you may only want to send a message once a week or even less frequently. This is a very light cadence and may not be enough to encourage some customers to engage with your chatbot.

Remember most customers want to use chatbots for the following:

  • Getting a quick answer in an emergency
  • Resolve a complaint or problem
  • Get detailed answers or explanations
  • Finding a human customer service assistant
  • Making a reservation (hospitality)
  • Pay a bill
  • Buy a basic item
  • Get ideas and inspiration for purchases

And your chatbot should take these common goals into its design and offer an easy path to achieving these goals.

Will Chatbots Replace Human Agents?

There are many who believe that chatbots will eventually replace human customer service agents. While this may be true in a few years, the reality is that it’s not likely to happen by 2027.

For now, human agents are better equipped to handle complicated and difficult situations that involve emotions. While your average chatbot may be able to handle your question about a return policy, it may not be able to send an apology after your car was damaged during a service appointment. That being said, it is likely that eventually, businesses will rely entirely on artificial intelligence for their customer service needs. When that happens, the customer service experience may improve significantly. For example, if you’re having an issue with your internet service and you call the support line, you’ll have to go through several layers of menus before you can talk to a human agent.

Depending on how large your provider is, you could be on the phone for hours before you ever speak to a human. Imagine if your internet provider had a chatbot that you could interact with 24/7. You could send it a message when you have an issue and get a response almost immediately.

If the problem requires a technician to come out to your house, you could schedule the appointment and get a notification when the technician is on the way. This is the type of experience that is possible when businesses rely entirely on AI for their customer service.


Chatbots offer enormous benefits for businesses by improving customer satisfaction, reducing costs and improving product offerings. Unfortunately, when it comes to handling complex issues, many chatbots are lacking. For example, many current chatbots cannot handle escalated issues, and if the customer reaches out by clicking on the “Call” button, the bot is not able to see the conversation and respond appropriately. That doesn’t mean that businesses shouldn’t try using chatbots. In fact, the metrics show that customers prefer to interact with businesses through channels like email and social media. It’s just that as businesses invest in chatbots, they should also invest in improving their call centre to handle the more difficult conversations.

The good news is that as chatbots improve, they will be better equipped to handle these issues. In the future, businesses may be able to respond to customers on virtually any channel with the same level of customer satisfaction we are already seeing the offers of Omni-Channel Bots – able to talk to customers over numerous messaging platforms and provide extensive customer service experiences. Contact us if you’d like a demo of our bot platform – Smart Octopus Bots.

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