Chatbots aren’t a new concept.
The first one, ELIZA, was developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology back in 1994. However, it was a far cry from today’s state-of-the-art smart algorithms that are on the cusp of passing Turing’s Imitation Game test.
With the advancement of technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics, and natural language processing over the past couple of decades, chatbots have become increasingly common in different industries.
For example, customer service can greatly benefit from implementing chatbots as a way to streamline and speed up assisting customers.
93% of people say they are more likely to purchase repeatedly from companies providing excellent customer service. Let’s discuss why chatbots are game-changers and how they’re disrupting customer service.
1. They Are Available 24/7/365
These days people expect an immediate response from brands. To be more precise, 90% of customers rate immediacy as very important when it comes to getting answers to their customer service questions.
And in their books, “immediate” means up to 10 minutes.
It’s hard for companies to live up to such high expectations, as their human agents can take only one call at a time. Some queries are more complex and require longer troubleshooting, which means that some customers will have to be put on hold.
Moreover, let’s not forget that many people need assistance outside regular business hours, as well as that there are different time zones.
All this can be a problem as it leaves a number of customers without any response, not to mention that it increases the workload for customer support the following day. Even worse – it’s a sign of poor customer service.
Unlike their human counterparts, customer service chatbots can work round the clock and handle different queries at the same time. In case of some more complex issues, when critical thinking is required, chatbots will forward the query to a human agent.
Such an approach can significantly reduce customer churn and improve satisfaction by providing a seamless experience. In other words, it allows brands to solve their customers’ issues and answer their questions instantly and at any time without putting them on hold.
2. They Can Handle Repetitive, Boring Tasks
A great deal of customer support requests revolves around answering some simple questions and handling mundane issues that keep on repeating.
Why waste your customer service agents’ time on the I-forgot-my-password kind of chats when they can be out there helping your customers solve some high-value issues?
And while some chatbots are built with the purpose of simulating human intelligence, sometimes all you need for amazing customer experience is a smart algorithm that will help your customers achieve a certain goal.
And they don’t need to be like TARS, an almost sentient robot from the Interstellar movie, in order to perform such tasks. The capability to search through huge databases and find the right answers to customers’ questions quickly will do just fine.
Besides, the fact that they’re not human can sometimes be a big plus. They treat every caller in the same, polite way, and never lose it if an angry and disgruntled customer starts shouting and calling them names.
3. They Can Collect and Process Customer Information
Having said that customer service chatbots are totally devoid of the uncanny valley effect, it’s worth mentioning that they can be designed to provide a personalized experience.
Namely, with big data analytics on board, the latest chatbots can collect, process, and interpret huge volumes of unstructured data. This means that they can identify certain patterns and make sense of otherwise unusable sets of data.
Such a powerful feature, paired with chatbots’ conversational nature which is the result of natural language processing, can do wonders for personalization and interactivity.
Long gone are the days when chatbots could produce only predefined and canned phrases.
A new generation of these intelligent algorithms can save customer data, preferences, and interests for future reference. They can draw conclusions and make predictions based on customer behaviour and customize every next interaction by pulling out relevant information from their database.
Long story short, chatbots are able to access every bit of information a customer has ever provided in no time and personalize the communication. Such tailored experiences can significantly boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Some brands take all this to the next level by creating different personalities for their chatbots, thus managing to gain a competitive edge and stand out from the others.
4. They Can Cut Costs
From everything we’ve said so far, it’s clear that customer service chatbots are of tremendous importance for improving customer satisfaction.
What’s even more impressive is that all these superb features don’t come with a hefty price tag.
Quite the opposite.
Companies that implement chatbots can expect to reduce their customer service costs – they won’t have to hire additional agents in order to handle an increased influx of support requests.
According to stats, businesses spend $1.3 trillion on 265 billion customer service calls annually.
Enter chatbots and slash this number by 30%.
They can speed up response times, answer 80% of common and routine questions, and allow service agents to focus on challenging tasks.
The math is clear. Chatbots offer much better customer service at a lower price.
5. They Can Generate New Leads
New customers are the lifeblood of any business.
However, lead generation is still one of the biggest challenges to 61% of marketers.
Acting fast is essential for capturing new leads, and that’s where chatbots come in to save the day.
Imagine what happens when a potential customer lands on your website looking for a particular item that is currently out of stock. The disappointed customer will leave and go to your competitors.
But, if you have a chatbot that will ask them for their email address and promise to let them know when the product is back in stock, the customer might change their mind and give you another chance.
The same goes for providing customers answers about certain product features – a chatbot that will instantly address their concerns can positively impact their purchasing decision.
To sum up, the global chatbot market is expected to hit $1.34 billion by 2024 and with good reason.
Chatbots can supercharge customer service efficiency and effectiveness, and transform the customer experience.
This article is a guest post from Micheal Deane.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.