Industry Insights

AI chatbot vs. Support agent: The perfect balance for optimal customer support.

Adebukola Ajayi
May 19, 2023
What does an AI customer support agent say to an angry customer? " I'm sorry, I seem to have experienced a bug in my empathy module. Let me fix that for you!"

You might have noticed that businesses these days are using a combination of AI chatbots and support agents to provide top-notch customer service. It's a trend that's gaining momentum and for good reason!

Finding a perfect balance between AI chatbots and support agents is crucial for delivering optimal customer support. Why, you might ask?

AI chatbots bring some amazing benefits to the table. They can respond to customer inquiries fast, handle a large volume of requests simultaneously, and even provide 24/7 availability. Plus, they're pretty smart too! 

With natural language processing and machine learning algorithms, these chatbots can understand customer queries and provide relevant information or assistance in a snap.

But hold on, there's more. Customer support agents bring their own set of superpowers to the customer support game. They have that special touch of empathy, intuition, and problem-solving skills that can truly make a difference. 

They can understand the nuances of customer needs, address complex situations, and build those personal connections that customers appreciate so much. After all, sometimes it's just comforting to talk to another human being who understands your concerns.

However, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Both AI chatbots and support agents have their limitations. Chatbots might struggle with understanding certain complex issues or expressing genuine empathy, while human agents may have limitations in terms of scalability and availability.

That's why finding the right balance between AI chatbots and customer support agents is key. It's about leveraging the strengths of each while mitigating their limitations to create a winning customer support strategy.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at the advantages and limitations of AI chatbots and support agents. We'll also spice things up by using real customer issues from Reddit to illustrate how AI can enhance customer support efficiency

Advantages and limitations of AI chatbots.

AI chatbots have become indispensable tools in the world of customer support. In this discussion, we'll explore the benefits and constraints of these automated helpers to uncover their impact on the overall customer experience.

  • Quick and automated responses.

Chatbots excel in delivering lightning-fast responses. With their ability to process vast amounts of data in real time, they can provide instant solutions to common inquiries. This efficiency saves customers valuable time and enhances overall satisfaction.

  • Handling high volumes of inquiries.

One of the greatest strengths of these bots lies in their scalability. They can handle a large volume of inquiries simultaneously without compromising the quality of their responses. This capability ensures that customers receive prompt assistance, even during peak periods.

  • 24/7 availability.

Unlike support agents, AI chatbots are available around the clock. Whether it's the middle of the night or a holiday weekend, customers can rely on chatbots to address their concerns. This uninterrupted availability enhances customer convenience and improves the overall accessibility of support services.

  • Challenges in understanding complex queries and emotions.

While AI chatbots excel at handling routine inquiries, they may struggle when faced with complex or nuanced queries. Understanding the intricacies of human language, context, and emotions can pose challenges for chatbots. Consequently, customers may feel frustrated or misunderstood when interacting with them on more intricate issues.

  • Limitations in providing empathy and personal connections.

One aspect that distinguishes customer support agents from AI chatbots is their ability to provide empathy and build personal connections. Customer support agents possess emotional intelligence, enabling them to understand and relate to customer concerns on a deeper level. This human touch fosters trust, satisfaction, and loyalty, which can be challenging for AI chatbots to replicate.

The role of support agents in customer support.

When it comes to support, support agents have a superpower that no AI can match: empathy. They're pros at putting themselves in customers' shoes, understanding their concerns, and offering genuine support. It's like having a friendly neighbor next door who always lends a listening ear and helps you out when you're in a jam.

But it's not just about being understanding. Customer support agents excel at building meaningful connections because, well, they're humans too! There's a certain magic in having a conversation with someone who can adapt their tone, show empathy, and make you feel heard. It's like catching up with a friend who genuinely cares about your well-being.

Now, let's talk about situations where support agents really shine. Imagine you're facing a technical issue that's a bit more complicated than a "turn it off and on again" fix. This is where support agents swoop in like tech-savvy superheroes. They have the problem-solving skills to unravel the mysteries of glitches, brainstorm creative solutions, and guide you through the troubleshooting process step-by-step.

So, when it comes to customer support, there's no denying the incredible powers of support agents. They bring that human touch, problem-solving prowess, and an uncanny ability to build lasting relationships. After all, sometimes you just need a friendly face (or voice) to help you out, right?

How to use AI in customer service: Can it solve real customer issues from Reddit alone?

Complaint 1

The customer realized they brought the wrong items 5 months after purchase.

Tales from the customer on reddit
GPT's response to this.
Chat GPT

Key takeaways.

For the customer:
  • Guidance on next steps: The customer can follow the suggested suggestions to contact the customer support team and review the return and warranty policies. This provides them with actionable steps to address their concerns effectively.
  • Resolution assistance: By contacting the customer support team, the customer can seek personalized assistance in resolving their specific issues with the doorknob and dishwasher. The support team can provide solutions tailored to their situation, ensuring a satisfactory resolution.
For the customer support agent:
  • Reference for assistance: The response serves as a guide for the customer support agent. The reality is that support agents do not have a solution for every customer issue especially if they are just starting out at a company. They can use it as a starting point when providing suggestions or recommendations to customers facing similar issues.
  • Enhancing productivity: With access to similar AI tools, customer support agents can utilize the technology to generate automated responses based on templates like the one provided by Chat GPT. This enables them to save time and allows customers to prepare the necessary documents for authorizing a return or refund even before connecting with a customer support agent.

Complaint 2

The customer realized their food handlers exam had expired after not needing it for a previous job and faced difficulties getting assistance through the live chat support.

customer complaint gotten from reddit
Chat Gpt's response to the customer issue
Chat GPT

Key takeaways.

An AI bot could have identified the customer's frustration and inability to receive a response through the live chat. It could have then proactively provided a prompt message explaining the situation and directed the customer to contact the support email ( for direct assistance. This message will assure the customer that their issue will be resolved and reinstate the importance of patience while waiting for a response.

The balance between AI and customer support agents.

When it comes to finding the sweet spot between AI chatbots and support agents in customer support, it's all about understanding what customers want. Everyone's different, right? Some folks love the speed and convenience of chatbots, while others crave that human touch. So, businesses need to get to know their customers and cater to their unique preferences.

That's where a tiered support system comes into play. It's like a dynamic duo working together to save the day. Chatbots can handle the quick and easy stuff, like answering FAQs and providing self-help options. Meanwhile, support agents step in when things get tricky or customers need that personal connection. It's a tag-team effort to make sure everyone gets the support they need when they need it.

But here's the secret sauce: routing inquiries like a pro. Smart businesses use intelligent routing systems to analyze what kind of questions customers have. If it's a simple one, bam! The chatbot jumps right in with a lightning-fast response. But for those complex issues that need a human touch, the bat signal goes out to the support agents. They've got the know-how to dive deep, find the best solutions, and save the day.

Oh, and let's not forget about customer preferences. Some folks have a burning desire to talk to a support agent from the get-go, while others just want the fastest answer possible. By collecting feedback and paying attention to what customers want, businesses can tailor their support systems to meet those desires. It's like giving customers a VIP pass to the support experience they've always dreamed of.

So, when businesses strike that perfect balance between AI chatbots and support agents, it's like a well-oiled machine of efficiency, personalization, and happy customers. It's about knowing when to let the chatbots do their thing and when to bring in the support agent heroes. Because, hey, everyone deserves support that's just right for them.

How can AI improve customer experience?

  1. AI bots can proactively identify customer frustrations and provide prompt messages to guide them toward the appropriate support channels.
  2. AI can assist customers by providing guidance on the next steps and addressing their specific issues more efficiently.
  3. AI tools can serve as a reference for customer support agents, helping them provide accurate and effective solutions
Benefits of AI for customer service:
  • Improved customer satisfaction: AI chatbots can promptly address customer concerns and guide them to the appropriate support channels, ensuring a faster and more efficient resolution.
  • Personalized assistance: With AI tools as references, customer support agents can provide tailored solutions and recommendations to address specific customer issues effectively.
  • Time-saving for both customers and agents: AI-powered automation allows support agents to focus on more complex cases while providing customers with quick responses and guidance.
Benefits of AI for the business:
  • Increased efficiency: AI bots and automation tools can handle routine customer inquiries, freeing up support agents' time to focus on more complex and critical tasks.
  • Enhanced productivity: AI-powered tools provide support agents with pre-built templates and responses, allowing them to provide accurate and consistent information to customers more efficiently.
  • Improved customer loyalty and retention: By providing prompt and personalized assistance, businesses can build trust and loyalty with their customers, leading to improved customer satisfaction and higher chances of repeat business.

In a nutshell, it's all about finding the right balance between AI chatbots and support agents in customer support. AI chatbots are super fast and can handle a ton of requests, but they might struggle with tricky problems and lack that personal touch. On the other hand, customer supportagents are great at understanding emotions and solving complex issues, but they can't match the lightning speed of AI.

So, the trick is to understand what customers need and want. By using a combination of AI chatbots and support agents, businesses can create a support system that's tailored to each customer's needs. It's like having a team where everyone plays to their strengths. The easy stuff goes to the chatbots, and the more complicated problems get handed off to the support agents.

As technology keeps advancing, the world of customer support will keep changing. Businesses need to embrace the power of AI while never forgetting the value of good old-fashioned human interaction.

When AI chatbots and support agents work together seamlessly, businesses can provide top-notch customer support that's fast, efficient, and caring. It's all about striking that perfect balance to give customers the best of both worlds.

What did the AI customer support agent say to the customer who asked for a discount? "I'm sorry, I can't process that request, but I can provide you with exceptional service!"

Adebukola Ajayi

Content Marketing Manager, Simpu
I am a writer who loves to watch modern family and friends during my free time.

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