Chatbots and Customer Experience: Why Authentic Interactions Trump Chatbot Customer Service

Chatbots and Customer Experience: Why Authentic Interactions Trump Chatbot Customer Service

In the artificial intelligence (AI) era, businesses are rapidly embracing AI-powered tools, notably chatbots, to streamline customer service. However, not every customer is sold on the idea. So, despite their efficiency, why do humans still hold the edge in customer service? One notable pain point? Chatbots, for all their efficiency, often end up sounding robotic. 

Let’s dive into the world of chatbots, explore their potential and pitfalls, and discover why, in the end, the human touch still reigns supreme. 


The Rise of Chatbots 

Chatbots have been around for quite some time, with the term “chatbot” coined by Michael Mauldin in 1994. One of the earliest examples, ELIZA, was created by Joseph Weizenbaum in the 1960s to explore how humans interact with machines.  

Over the years, chatbots have come a long way, thanks to technological advancements like artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning. These innovations enabled modern chatbots to understand better and respond to user inputs, making interactions more seamless.  

Recently, chatbots have gained widespread attention, especially with the rise of advanced models like OpenAI’s GPT series. According to Statista, the worldwide chatbot market size is expected to increase to 1.25 billion US dollars in 2025.1 This is a significant increase from 2016’s 190.8 million US dollars.  

This surge underscores the increasing significance of chatbots in shaping customer interactions and the broader landscape of AI-driven technologies. 

Additionally, AI chatbots offer numerous advantages. 

  • Fast Response Time: AI Chatbots respond quickly to user inquiries, ensuring prompt assistance and improving customer satisfaction. They evaluate user communications using automation and pre-programmed algorithms, providing relevant information or solutions without delay. 
  • 24/7 Availability: In today’s global economy, having round-the-clock customer service is crucial. Chatbots excel in this regard, providing support regardless of time zone or distance. Customers can rely on chatbots to handle their inquiries promptly, contributing to brand dependability and customer satisfaction. 
  • Consistent Responses: Chatbots deliver consistent responses by following pre-written scripts and algorithms. This consistency fosters trust and professionalism in customer interactions, enhancing the overall perception of the business. 
  • Engagement: Effective customer service involves engagement, and chatbots are vital in keeping customers actively involved. Chatbots capture and maintain users’ attention through interactive interfaces and personalized recommendations, increasing conversion rates and fostering brand loyalty. 


Room for Improvement: How AI Chatbots Fall Short in Customer Service 

However, despite their advantages, contact centers shouldn’t be so quick to replace their human agents, as according to Gartner, only 8 percent of customers use an AI chatbot.2 Here are some of the reasons why. 


They could provide incorrect answers and lead to misunderstanding.

Chatbots’ tendency to give inaccurate responses or misinterpret user requests is one of the main issues with them. Even with recent improvements in natural language processing (NLP) algorithms, chatbots may still have trouble correctly answering complicated or situation-specific questions.  

Customers looking for exact information or answers to their problems may become frustrated by this constraint. Furthermore, because chatbots rely on prewritten scripts, they might not cover every scenario or problem that a consumer could encounter. Consequently, there’s a chance that responses will be erroneous or partial, which could cause misunderstandings and user discontent. 

Related Article: Future Forward: The Top 7 AI Trends Reshaping Customer Service 


Might not understand natural language.

While chatbots have come a long way in understanding natural language, they could still have trouble understanding slang, colloquialisms, or unclear idioms. Because human language is contextually dependent and naturally complicated, chatbots find it difficult to understand the nuances of human communication fully. 

Because of this, consumers could become irritated with chatbots that misunderstand their requests or give them unsuitable answers. This constraint emphasizes how crucial it is to balance automated responses and human interaction, especially when empathy and subtle comprehension are critical. 


Cannot satisfy frustrated customers.

The inability of chatbots to handle agitated or very sensitive clients is another drawback. Chatbots are great at answering standard questions and providing programmed responses, but they could have trouble understanding consumers’ emotions or handling complicated problems that call for human assistance.  

Chatbots might even unintentionally increase tensions when clients express annoyance, displeasure, or anger by giving impersonal or insensitive answers. A lack of emotional intelligence can intensify disputes and harm the general customer experience. 


The Irreplaceable Human Touch in Customer Experience 

While chatbots excel at delivering quick responses and 24/7 availability, their limitations become apparent when dealing with the nuances of human interaction. This is where the irreplaceable human touch steps in, elevating customer service to a whole new level. 


Understands Context and Emotion

When it comes to interpreting nuances, context, and underlying reasons behind client requests, human agents are cognitively superior to automated systems that depend on established algorithms and decision trees.  

Human agents may better understand the underlying causes of problems, pinpoint underlying needs, and offer specialized solutions that address particular concerns by actively listening to and interacting with consumers. This detailed understanding enables companies to develop stronger bonds with their customers and build partnerships based on mutual respect and empathy. 


Has Empathy

Empathy forms the cornerstone of exceptional customer service. It’s the ability to truly connect with a customer’s feelings, validate their concerns, and offer genuine support. While chatbots can mimic empathy with pre-programmed responses, it often feels robotic and disingenuous.  

On the other hand, human agents can tap into their emotional intelligence to provide authentic empathy. They can acknowledge frustration, offer encouragement, and tailor their solutions to the customer’s feelings. This personal touch fosters a sense of community and emotional connection, leaving a lasting positive impression. 

For instance, a customer might casually mention a bad day during their inquiry. Unlike a chatbot, a human agent can respond with genuine concern, asking if they’d like to talk about it before addressing the initial issue. This simple act of human connection can significantly impact the customer’s experience. 


Tackle Complex Situations

Customer interactions are rarely straightforward. They often involve intricate situations and unexpected hurdles that throw chatbots off script. Human agents, however, shine in their adaptability and problem-solving skills.  

They can leverage their cognitive flexibility and experience to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions in real time. Whether it’s dealing with a technical glitch, navigating an unclear request, or consulting colleagues for expertise, human agents have the agility to overcome challenges and ensure a smooth experience. 

Imagine a customer with a unique product issue, something the agent hasn’t encountered before. Instead of getting stuck, the agent can proactively research, consult with colleagues, and even escalate the issue if needed. This resourcefulness demonstrates the company’s commitment to finding solutions, building trust and customer satisfaction. 


Can Offer Tailored Solutions

In today’s experience-driven world, customers expect personalized solutions catering to their needs and preferences 71 percent to be exact and 76 percent get upset when it doesn’t happen.3 Now, what does this mean? Unlike the standardized responses of chatbots, humans make customers feel valued and appreciated, which cultivates loyalty and advocacy for the brand. 

Human agents can leverage their subject-matter expertise, interpersonal skills, and situational awareness. They can engage in meaningful conversations, understand individual requirements, and co-create solutions that resonate with each customer. 

Think of a customer looking for a specific product feature. A human agent can go beyond suggesting generic options and delve deeper into the customer’s needs. They can recommend features based on the customer’s unique situation, fostering genuine care and attention. Technology is a powerful tool, but the human touch truly sets them apart. 

Related Article: Effective Call Center Improvement Strategies to Better Your Business 



Make the customer service your organization provides unforgettable and meaningful by hiring the right customer support professionals. Salem Solutions can help you connect with talented, emotionally-intelligent individuals. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you expand your teams with the right people. 



1 Statista. “Size of the Chatbot Market Worldwide from 2016 to 2025.” Statista, July 2022, 

2 LoDolce, Matt, and Jordan Brackenbury. “Gartner Survey Reveals Only 8% of Customers Used a Chatbot During their Most Recent Customer Service Interaction.” Gartner, 15 June 2023, 

3 McKinsey & Company. “What Is Personalization?” McKinsey & Company, 30 May 2023, 

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