Human vs AI Support – Why Human Support is Better than AI Chatbot Support in eCommerce?
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In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, the integration of AI support in eCommerce has undeniably revolutionized efficiency and scalability. However, it is imperative to acknowledge that while AI support has its benefits, such as speed and scalability, human support contributes to a more holistic and customer-centric eCommerce experience. When opting for an eCommerce-based App, Service, or Product, it’s strongly recommended to carefully evaluate the available support options, as they play a significant role in determining various key aspects over the course of time. This gives rise to many questions, Is AI better than humans in eCommerce customer service? Will AI assist or replace humans in terms of eCommerce support in the long run? Can AI chatbots exist without human support? And the list of questions goes on. Well, hold on to your hats as we are here with a detailed comparison of Human vs AI Support in eCommerce.
Human vs AI Support in eCommerce? Which is Better?
The new trending AI-based support is good, but the availability of human support is vital as it eliminates a lot of friction hence providing a better overall experience, which AI might not be able to achieve. This may sound a bit direct, but we will justify how.
Below are the key points that emphasize the distinctive strengths of human support systems:
- The Ability to Gather Qualitative Data
- Mitigating Customer Frustration and Escalation Handling
- Understanding Real Concerns with Empathy
- Handling Complex or Unique Issues
- Providing Personalized Recommendations and Solutions
- Navigating Language Intricacies and Contextual Nuances
- Building Reassurance and Trust
- Handling Negotiations and Unique Scenarios
Lets go through each in detail:
The Ability to Gather Qualitative Data:
Human support systems excel in collecting qualitative data by engaging in meaningful conversations that go beyond transactional interactions. Human support in eCommerce can scrutinize while empathetically listening & understanding your sentiments, preferences, and needs. This qualitative understanding goes beyond AI’s data-driven approach, enabling businesses to make informed decisions based on the subtle insights gathered during conversations.
Consider a customer struggling with the latest App interface. An AI or chatbot will promptly ask, ‘Thank you for your feedback. Anything else to add?’ and note down the response. Meanwhile, human support will delve deeper, seeking specifics on what was unclear about the new layout. The agent is more likely to ask probing questions to understand the context, and the reasons behind the customer’s perception, cross-check on those pointers, and gather potential suggestions for improvement.
The next point of comparison in our human vs AI support eCommerce is:
Mitigating Customer Frustration and Escalation Handling:
Human support in eCommerce comes with a unique skill to expertly manage frustrated customers, de-escalating tense situations with empathy and personalized responses. Talk when you need to is something humans are good at and in such situations through active listening and emotional intelligence, they can address your underlying concerns, turning negative experiences into positive ones. Also, from the perspective of business, this human touch shields potential damage to the brand’s reputation, something that AI is unable to do.
The best example of this case is the peak Covid pandemic period. The frustration at that point was at a peak, as the customers could not see a possible course of action. Most sellers faced a shortage of funds, and there was a massive spike in refund cases since lots of them decided to close their stores. But the human support turned out to be the much-needed assurance for customers which kept things on track while resonating with the emotions & insecurities that customers were feeling. They provided the right insights of how to steer through this phase which was indeed required. In such a case, AI could not have been able to address and uphold the situation as human support did.
Understanding Real Concerns with Empathy:
Getting to the root cause while recognizing the emotional aspects of your concerns is something human support can uniquely do. Unlike AI, human agents can truly empathize with you through genuine interactions that acknowledge your feelings.
It is often difficult for users to explain what they are facing, and in such cases, it is very important to primarily establish a stronger connection with authentic care and then dig into issues. Human support can provide valuable feedback on customer pain points that an AI-based chatbot might struggle to comprehend.
Hope you are enjoying this comparison between human vs AI support in eCommerce. Let’s go to the next point that defines the supremacy of human support over AI chatbot.
Handling Complex or Unique Issues:
Tackling intricate or unprecedented issues that fall outside the pre-defined set of issues is something AI’s algorithms can’t cope with. Adaptation and critical thinking are something that comes to humans naturally. Hence in such scenarios where all doors seem shut, human support can craft creative solutions or discuss among peers to collectively come up with something, ensuring customer satisfaction even in non-standard scenarios.
Let’s take the example of an eCommerce App user Sarah who had been experiencing quite bizarre issues with her newly purchased App for several days. She tried referring to the manual but couldn’t find her issue listed. Frustrated and unsure of how to articulate the problem, she reached out to the AI-based customer support and mentioned her problem. After some pre-defined questions, the AI-based support provided troubleshooting steps based on the limited information which was of no use. Luckily there was an option of Human Assistance through which Sarah connected and Sarah immediately felt a sense of relief, knowing that she was now communicating with a real person. The support person asked a series of follow-up questions and in no time was able to pinpoint the issue which was not an App related issue but a blocked request from her browser that was preventing the process from occurring.
Providing Personalized Recommendations and Solutions:
Human support personnel can leverage historical(past) interactions and customer data to offer tailored recommendations and solutions. The AI-based results are usually one and the same for everyone but that’s not the case with Human support.
This unique personal touch demonstrates a deep understanding of the individual’s needs and fosters a sense of value, which automated responses struggle to achieve.
Next is a very significant point of difference in our comparison of Human vs AI based support in eCommerce.
Navigating Language Intricacies and Contextual Nuances:
Every customer is unique and so are their preferences. The AI-based support fails to navigate language intricacies, dialects, and cultural nuances, which quite often results in in-accurate communication and interpretation. How often do we end up with a
Luckily, that’s not the case with humans as they have a broad contextual comprehension through which they can identify sarcasm, understand cultural references, and hence contribute to more meaningful interactions.
Let’s take the example of John, a frustrated customer, who had been experiencing ongoing technical issues with a software program. He sent a message on the Chatbot “Oh great, another day of flawless software performance! You guys are doing an amazing job!” In this message, John’s tone is dripping with sarcasm, as he’s clearly not satisfied with the software’s performance. But to this the AI’s basic response was “Thank you, John! We’re glad to hear you’re enjoying our software. If you have any questions or need assistance, please let us know.” This example highlights how AI bots often struggle to grasp the subtleties of human language and emotions but if this could be easily avoided in case a human was on the other side.
Building Reassurance and Trust:
It may come flat, but it’s hard to trust an AI chatbot especially in eCommerce. Reassurance and trust are usually built through genuine conversations and emotional resonance. This emotional connection that human support builds is pivotal in forming long-lasting customer relationships, where human empathy and authenticity shine.
To support this view, let’s take the example of Alexia, a small business owner who ran an online store selling handcrafted jewelry on both Etsy and Shopify. She intended to get a tool to manage her inventory and listings across both platforms seamlessly, but she had a critical requirement which she needed to clarify before making the purchase. She needed to ensure that the extension could handle her unique customization options for each piece of jewelry.
The website’s AI based chatbot provided a general overview of the extension’s features, including synchronization capabilities. Still, it couldn’t comprehend the complexity of Alexia’s customization requirement. It gave a vague response, which left her unsure if the extension could cater to her specific needs. Alexia can’t find that reassuring and started looking for alternatives where she stumbled upon an Etsy Shopify Integration with an interactive human support. The support not only demonstrated how this whole thing will work but also showed examples of sellers who have previously done so along with tips to make it more profitable. Alexia felt confident in her decision to purchase the extension. She knew that it could meet her unique requirements, and the human support experience had played a pivotal role in her decision-making process.
Handling Negotiations and Unique Scenarios:
Human agents possess the flexibility to negotiate and make nuanced decisions tailored to specific situations. Unlike AI, which follows predefined protocols, humans can easily adapt and close sales even in the most critical scenarios.
The example of Alexia shared in the above scenario (#7) also shed light on the fact that AI was unable to complete the sale although the client was interested in the product. Humans provide a very high level of flexibility and adaptability in negotiating and making nuanced decisions which AI chatbots can’t.
Well, this very much wraps up all the 8 unique strengths of human support systems.
I hope these points make it very clear how Human Support is far better than AI support in eCommerce.
Let’s have a look at some of the common FAQs of eCommerce based individuals with in the context of AI support in eCommerce:
Common FAQs – Human Support vs AI support in eCommerce:
Will AI assist or replace humans in terms of eCommerce support?
AI will assist humans in eCommerce support by improving efficiency and customer experience. But, humans will always be in charge since the oversight that humans provide ensures the much needed empathetic responses to diverse customer needs.
Can AI replace human-based customer support?
The answer is No. As per the current situation and past experiences, it is safe to say that AI-based eCommerce support lacks the ability to comprehend complex emotions, cultural nuances, and moral reasoning, which are essential in various aspects. However, AI can augment customer support for routine inquiries, yet complete replacement is far from possible.
Can AI Chatbots exist without human support in eCommerce?
No. Firstly, Setting up a chatbot primarily requires initial human support. The set of instructions on which the chatbot will function will be defined by humans only. Secondly, continuous improvement, ensuring accuracy and relevance in responses, is something that requires human involvement. So, AI chatbot is highly unlikely to exist without human support in eCommerce.
Why are humans still better than AI in terms of support?
Human judgment, adaptability, and creativity remain unparalleled and indispensable in one-on-one interaction scenarios. Humans excel in emotional intelligence, adaptability, and nuanced problem-solving, qualities that are crucial for complex, real-world situations like providing support where AI may fall short. This makes humans far better than AI in this context.
Why is AI preferred over humans?
AI can enhance efficiency in customer service by handling repetitive tasks and analyzing complex data, which allows businesses to streamline processes, especially the repetitive process. This is the only point that favors AI over humans.
Well, I guess we’ve covered all the major FAQs. Now let’s conclude.
In the end, it all boils down to the fact how important it is to have humans in customer support in eCommerce. The biggest takeaway from our evaluation is that while the emergence of AI-driven support is a noteworthy trend, the presence of human support stands as an indispensable element, seamlessly removing friction and thereby ensuring a superior overall experience that AI alone may not (or is yet to) achieve.
If you liked what you read or if you can add some more pointers on ‘Human vs AI support’, please feel free to share your views with a comment.