Chatbots are on the rise, and for good reason, too.
According to studies, 29% of customer service positions could be automated through chatbots, leading to $23 billion in savings for U.S. businesses. Comparing these savings with customer satisfaction levels, it is interesting to note that 35% of customers want to see more companies using chatbots.
Of course, the proof of the pudding lies in numbers.
Overall, people have a positive impression of chatbots. According to Business Insider, globally, 38% of consumers view chatbots positively. Only 11% have a negative perception of chatbots, while the remaining 51% are neutral about chatbots.
The Growing Popularity of Chatbots in Facilitating Customer Service
According to Deloitte, “Organizations are rapidly leveraging artificial intelligence to dramatically change the way they interact with customers.” The report elaborates that chatbots deliver a richer customer experience as they are scalable and data-driven.
Here are some stats that show the growing popularity of chatbots and their increasing importance for businesses:
- According to 67% of industry professionals, chatbots will outperform mobile apps in the next few years
- By 2022, bots will save businesses up to $8 billion per year
- 25% of customer service and support operations will integrate a virtual customer assistant or chatbot technology across channels by 2020
The rise of AI-enabled chatbots has made it possible for companies to interact with their customers in real-time, ensuring better customer satisfaction.
These intelligent bots not only enable 24/7 query resolution on your engagement channels but also don’t get fatigued or irritated, which means they can handle higher volumes of interactions in a given span of time.
For instance, Acquire’s chatbot can instantly handle up to 80% of customer queries by leveraging machine learning to interpret inquiries and learn from new experiences.
Types of Conversational Chatbots
A conversational chatbot is a computer program that you can converse with through messaging apps, chat windows, and even by voice. The chatbot uses the same application to respond to you, leading to a two-way conversation. Accenture divides conversational chatbots into four types:
Informational bots offer an instant resolution to common and straightforward queries posed by users, beyond conventional search results.
Custom enterprise bots are designed to connect to enterprise data resources to streamline enterprise workflows and improve efficiencies.
Transactional bots offer your customers a powerful interface to carry out transactions such as ordering food, booking tickets, or managing bank accounts.
Think of Dom – Dominos chatbot that allows you to order pizzas from almost anywhere, instantly.
Device control bots are used to enable connected devices, such as your smartwatch or home assistant, to facilitate interaction.
Industry-Wise Adoption of Chatbots
Talking about online retail, today, both B2B and B2C customers demand 24/7 connectivity, faster resolution, and personalized interactions. Customer support is one of the key areas in which online retailers can use conversational chatbots.
By integrating chatbot technology with their existing CRM, not only can these companies ensure more personalized greetings to start the conversation on a positive note, but also offer prompt support, especially for commonly repeated questions. Chatbots can also be used to start conversations pro-actively to help customers navigate around your store or find what they are looking for quickly.
According to a HubSpot research report, 71% of people use chatbots to solve their problems quickly. Moreover, a large number of people prefer to interact with customer service via messaging apps, and 53% of customers are likely to shop with businesses they can message.
In the financial industry, it is expected that 85% of customers will use chatbots to manage their bank transactions by 2020. Currently, some big banks are already using chatbots to ease the lives of their customers. SEB’s Aida “handles about 13% of all IT support questions, as well as helping bank customers with card issues, account queries, and booking meetings.”
In India, HDFC Life adopted the country’s first life insurance chatbot that helps users choose the most suitable life insurance plans and solutions. According to a Haptik report, the bot has connected well with the users, with 8.03% of users expressing purchase intent after interacting with the bot.
Top Ten Benefits of Using Chatbots for Your Business
According to a report by Aspect, 61% of consumers feel that “chatbots in customer service are here to stay”. Moreover, 70% of millennials report positive experiences with Chatbots and favor them for the convenience and instantaneous conversations they allow.
Clearly, customers like bots.
But your business would like them even more once you read about these top benefits of employing chatbots in your business:
1. Faster Response Time
Research shows that 33% of customers feel frustrated as they have to wait long enough or repeat themselves multiple times to customer service representatives. In addition, up to 40% of customers want service reps to respond to their queries faster. This creates additional pressure on brands who may have to hire and train more support staff to handle a large volume of queries.
However, AI-enabled chatbots have turned this situation around by offering businesses an intelligent alternative for handling high-call volumes with quick results. A bot can sieve through massive amounts of data instantaneously, providing detailed information to users in a jiffy.
A report by Accenture states that “Chatbot-based customer support has the potential to be almost twice as fast as voice-based support over the telephone. And it will come at a lower cost.”
2. 24/7 Service
According to the 2018 State of Chatbots Report, 64% of respondents rated “24-hour service” as the most important benefit of chatbots followed by “instant response,” voted by 55% of the participants.
Indeed, bots are great.
They do not get tired or irritated. Thus, they can operate non-stop, engaging with customers ‘round the clock on all multiple platforms.
24/7 availability also means that your business is open at all hours – never losing out any potential customer in any time zone.
3. Reduced costs
COIN, a bot launched by JP Morgan Chase & Co, is capable of analyzing complex legal contracts at a much faster rate than humans. To everyone’s surprise, the bot helped complete in seconds the tasks on which JPMorgan staff spends over 360,000 hours a year.
In addition to saving thousands of hours, can you imagine the amount of money saved in operational and staff overheads?
The above is just one example. According to research, chatbots will help businesses save over $8 billion annually by 2022.
Automation in customer service is another area that can reduce costs for businesses. Bots can improve the productivity of your customer support team by providing quick answers and solutions to customers with simple and straightforward queries.
Besides, a human can only handle one customer at a time, but chatbots can handle an infinite amount of interactions simultaneously. This not only reduces your customer response time but also saves a lot of money in hiring and training several human customer service agents.
4. Pro-active Customer Service
Chatbots use direct messaging to provide relevant information and support to customers. For example, your chatbot can start a conversation by asking users what they are looking for on your website.
If you are a travel company, your bot can initiate a conversation by enquiring a visitor about the destination they would like to visit before offering them various services such as automated ticket booking, hotel suggestions, and tailored itineraries.
It can also share promotions based on the visitor’s search history or links to blog entries and video tutorials to increase engagement on the website.
5. Track Customer Satisfaction
Businesses often have trouble in compiling and using customer satisfaction data.
Chatbots can help by tracking customer feedback for your business through quick customer satisfaction surveys, shared via messenger, for better engagement as compared to traditional modes like email.
6. Eliminate Manual Errors
Humans have limitations; they can only concentrate on a couple of things at a time, which means, your customer support agents cannot handle more than two clients at the same time competently.
Moreover, after a long day at work, a human agent may slack in providing complete information to a client or show his or her irritation on the call. On the other hand, a bot can not only handle hundreds of interactions simultaneously but also not suffer any fatigue or irritability, leading to consistent behavior at all times.
Of course, bots are not suitable for all types of interactions.
In some instances, a customer may have more personal queries that demand human intervention. The good thing is that intelligent bots can recognize this and connect users to suitable persons in your team who are well-equipped to handle specific types of queries.
Chatbots can also record a conversation and throw up detailed insights, dispensing the need of taking down notes or making manual observations, that may be prone to errors.
7. Better Customer Experience
According to a survey, customers generally depend upon a chatbot for the following:
- Quick answers to questions when faced with an urgent situation (37%)
- Detailed answers or explanations (35%)
- Means for getting connected with a human (34%)
Today, it is a well-known fact that most customers prefer self-help options rather than waiting for hours to connect to customer service. Chatbots facilitate this by enabling customers to clarify their doubts quickly, without making any calls or scrolling through various resources on a website. Using AI, you can also enable your chatbot to anticipate customer needs and chat with them contextually.
8. Happy Employees
Who likes to repeat tedious and monotonous tasks when a chatbot can automate them?
For example, would you not prefer having a virtual assistant to send automated email messages to your clients, post updates on social media, and manage your Facebook ad campaigns? Shopify’s Kit is a digital assistant that performs all these functions – leaving your employees with more time to focus on other aspects of your business.
When it comes to customer support, chatbots can use natural language processing to answer general queries posed by customers – only passing on complicated cases and qualified leads to your human support team. Such a procedure not only saves time and money but also keeps your employees happy, owing to reduced call volumes.
9. Increased Efficiency
At the beginning of the article, we had mentioned enterprise-assistant bots that can optimize workflows for enterprises, leading to greater operational efficiency and productivity.
Wanda is an example of a digital assistant that can complete timesheets and take care of simple tasks such as fixing business meetings for employees.
We have already spoken of JP Morgan’s COIN that can process complicated legal documents much faster than human lawyers.
There are many other examples of conversational chatbots, such as those employed in recruitment to streamline the process by asking potential candidates a set of contextual questions through a messaging app.
10. Reduced Customer Stress
Customers often get frustrated as they have to repeat their query multiple times to different agents, as their call gets transferred from one department to another. Besides, research indicates that the average email response time for customer service is over 12 hours, and 62% of companies do not even bother to respond to customer service emails.
No wonder, many customers feel stressed out at the thought of contacting customer support, while most would prefer to purchase from a company that offers real-time customer support.
Chatbots can alleviate this situation by providing instant support on your website, 24/7/365, reducing customer stress to a great extent.
In case the customer is already stressed out when he or she contacts your company, a chatbot can recognize this and connect the customer to a human support agent with a complete transcript of the conversation so that the customer doesn’t have to repeat herself again.
As businesses compete increasingly on customer experience as opposed to price and quality, investing in AI-based technology such as conversational chatbots could determine the future of your company.
Above, we listed the top ten benefits of adopting a chatbot to facilitate your business. However, before investing in a chatbot for your company, it is vital to understand that chatbots are not replacements for humans, at least not yet. On the contrary, chatbots can help you achieve your business goals when deployed for specific use cases in addition to human support.
Do you think chatbots can help your business? Tell us how in the comments section below.