At least since the introduction of Apple’s Siri, chatbot and virtual assistants are terms the majority of the population knows. They are said to replace mobile apps and human customer service little by little.
Nowadays companies are looking constantly for ways to improve customer service and experience. As an important component, some of them also realize that improving their customer care technologies is a vital part of it.
Have you ever thought about launching your own bot?
We will tell you why it can be worth it!
But what is a chatbot? According to the oxford dictionary, it is “a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.”
Most of you have already heard or maybe even use virtual assistants like Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa. Their purpose is to make our life easier through helping us with daily tasks. They are our companions, which will know us in the future better than our partners do.
But today we are looking at the business perspective and how business can use and profit from chatbots. Let’s start!
“By 2020, over 50% of medium to large enterprises will have deployed product chatbots.”
Chatbots on the rise
“By 2020,” according to research vice president at Gartner Van Baker, “over 50% of medium to large enterprises will have deployed product chatbots”.
Three aspects are speaking for the growth of chatbots in the near future. Firstly, the demand for self-service is rising, as people do not have the patience anymore to wait for weeks to get answers to their questions.
The second reason is the often unsatisfying experiences online that users are facing. 34% of people revealed to have problems with the site navigation and 31% do not get satisfying answers to simple questions.
Thirdly, online shopping is popular as never before and hence is pathing the way for incorporating intelligent automation technologies. The online experience is lacking advice from a salesperson, though.
The North Face tried to close this gap to provide a great omnichannel experience, by introducing a shopping assistant software with the aid of IBM Watson relying on AI. Online customers go through a kind of funnel by replying to questions. Consequently, it narrows the path to get a group of suitable products presented in the end.
Other companies, like Pizza Hut, let people already order Pizza over a Facebook messenger chatbot.
In 2016 Facebook opened its Messenger for the integration of chatbots. So basically every business on the Social Media platform can deploy its own bot. The significant advantage here is that 1.3 billion people on this planet monthly use the Facebook Messenger app. That promises a low entry barrier for companies since no additional apps have to be downloaded and the interface is well-known.
But how the acceptance looks on the consumer side?
A survey from a collaboration between Drift, SurveyMonkey Audience, Salesforce, and myclever brings interesting insights about the state of chatbots. It suggests that less than 40% of interviewees choose a face-to-face contact with a business in the year 2017. Instead, 60% of respondents had been using email as a tool to communicate with a company. And 15% had been talking to a chatbot. At first sight that might seem a small number, however, it is already a quarter of the people using email.
Consumers that are brave enough utilizing chatbots of the early adopters often show a high affinity for technologies. They are aware that the creation of a personalized experience depends on the amount of interaction. Moreover, those users understand that the usage of the bot will help the machine learning technologies to improve and develop.
The acceptance of virtual assistants and chatbots is increasing. So do only a bit less than 45% of customers still prefer to speak with a real human.
Chatbots increase customer experience
A simple chatbot can increase the customer experience by spending little money. As there is open source software available, the chances are high to find something suitable for your businesses. Furthermore, bunches of software to build an own chatbot can be found online
1. Brand Experience
Chatbots can make the brand more approachable for the customer. The one-to-one conversation nurtures the relationship between consumer and company. The chatbot experience shows that the company is innovative and does not get scared by digital changes in the future. As a consequence, the brand is perceived positively.
2. Tailor-made Offers
With the help of chatbots, the creation of individualized user experience is possible. Through remembering previous conversations and learnings done by the software, offers can be more tailored-made. Consequently, clients feel more cared and treated as individuals.
3. No unattended Customers
The right chatbot software features handling of multiple customers at the same time. As a consequence, every customer is served immediately, and nobody is staying unattended.
4. Availability 24/7
Another advantage is that chatbots are available at any time, what means 24/7. We are speaking here about a customer service which is independent of time zones and able to serve the whole globe at the right time. As a side note, we would like to mention that 64% of consumer would enjoy a 24-hour service.
5. Relaxing support
Making conversation with a chatbot is a calm way of receiving support. No misunderstandings are arising from dialects, mumbling or background noises. In addition, the pressure of doing a fast call is taken away, since the customer can take as much time as preferred for talking to the chatbot.
31% of consumers claim not to get satisfying answers to simple questions.
Values chatbots can provide to your business
But not only the customer experience will be enhanced through chatbots, also internal processes can profit from them.
The efficiency of the customer service team can profit from chatbots. The reason is that the software takes care of standard questions while the human workforce deals with more complex issues.
Many companies face the issue of having information somewhere stored within the company, but only hard to access. In some cases, the knowledge is stored in the brain of only a few workers. Often knowledge management is absent or not appropriately applied. In this way, it is not uncommon to happen that customers have to come a long way to arrive at the only person that can help with their issues.
Additional Marketing Touchpoint
From the marketing point of view, a chatbot is an opportunity to create an additional marketing touchpoint in the customer journey.
Collection of Customer Data
The collection of valuable customer data and insights is a further strong point of using chatbots. The entered information can be processed and helps the company to get to know their customers better as well as improve the chatbot.
The downside of chatbots
But let’s not only talk about the positive things coming with chatbots. So can chatbots also harm a brand and the customer experience when not being done in a good, professional way.
As the software is learning continuously, it has to be surveilled to not have the same outcome as Microsoft’s bot Tay in 2016. An actual attempt to let Tay learn from conversations and thus getting smarter, turned her into a nightmare. She ought to respond to queries, but in the end, she learned to repeat racist and anti-feminist statements.
This case is an extreme example of failure in the initial phase and surely an exception.
Nonetheless, every new technology experiences a learning curve and will not be perfect with the first launch. It’s important to accept that in order to get perfect, you have to overcome obstacles.
Successful chatbot examples
For which businesses are chatbots fitting best?
When you think about bots, the first things that might cross your mind is either Andrew from the movie Bicentennial Man or a customer support chatbot on an E-commerce. However, there are no restrictions on certain kinds of businesses for utilizing chatbots. Other branches than online commerce have already discovered the power of conversational bots. We will tell you some great examples.
In the healthcare sector, a team existing of psychologists, storytellers and data scientist aims to improve the user’s mental health through Cognitive behavior therapy via Chatbot. Woebot was created to help young adults with depression and anxiety symptoms. So does the bot, for example, enable mood management and tracking emotions through a friendly conversation.
The city of Vienna developed a chatbot which makes demanded information about the city quickly and easily accessible. Currently, it provides answers to about 350 topics and services and allows voice recognition as well as direct chatting. To let you see more for what use cases it can serve, we will name a few concrete examples. The WienBot provides help with lost belongings, names you free parking lots or where to find dog bags in your close area and presents sightseeing advice.
No limits for chatbot application area!
Whole Foods Market
The company Whole Foods Market based in the UK integrated its chatbot into facebook. A quite smart idea considering the still high and present Social Media use. The chatbot assists in finding a dish to cook and presents the recipe. Further, it suggests the company’s shops available within a small reach.
We can also find a messenger bot in the music market. Spotify integrated their chatbot into facebook. The user can receive musical inspiration based on mood or genre. Besides, sharing of lists with friends is featured.
Amtrak, a passenger railroad service, implemented a virtual assistant called Julie. The customers receive support through useful information about train timetables, as well as direct rail travel ticket booking within the virtual assistant. The company increased its ROI 8-fold and saved 1 million euro for email customer service in only one year. No wonder, when chatbot Julie answers more than 5 million questions per year.
Not only for customers chatbots can be of advantage, but also businesses can benefit from them. Slack, a messaging app for teams offers the “Slackbot”. It supports among other things with personal reminder and sending automatic responses.
Apparently, there is no limit for chatbots. They can be applied in all different kinds of businesses to enhance the customer experience.
Don’t ignore the power of chatbots!
The age of chatbots has already begun and as statistics show does only less than half of the popularity still favor real-life assistance.
Fast, easy, entertaining and innovative will be the leading keywords for the future.
The consumer expectations for instant reactions/ answers, high-level customer experience, easy usage, and innovativeness are growing.
Chatbots can provide excellent value for companies in the future. From restaurants to cities or healthcare companies, can the application area has no limit. Chatbots done in a good way can not only enhance the customer experience, but also save at the same time company resources, monetary as well as in terms of human assets.