Is 2018 the year of the chatbot?
Chatbots are on the rise, writes Alice Blair, the marketing manager of Engage Hub. According to an Oracle survey, around 80% of businesses will be using chatbots by 2020. That’s just two years away.
From speeding up response times to enhancing conversion rates and adding personality to products, chatbots can positively impact customer engagement. What’s more, brands everywhere are becoming savvier, using them in new and creative ways to drive customer satisfaction. With innovation pushing new boundaries, 2018 is most definitely set to be the year of the chatbot. But, is it the year your business will invest in one?
Thanks to the proliferation of chatbot channels such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat – not to mention SMS too – it means opportunities to reach customers are constantly multiplying. People want answers quickly and whilst chatbots aren’t human, they can respond like one, providing real-time interaction which is why they’re gaining popularity in a range of industries, from retail to finance.
They are also an economically viable option for revolutionising customer experience, without having to expend precious employee time and resources. Imagine if a chatbot answered 50% of frequently asked queries on your customer service chat. Offering a conversation approach and customer satisfaction, they can free up the time of customer service agents, allowing them to better focus on the complex customer queries that needs a human touch or intervention.
It’s commonly known that bad customer service can turn even the most loyal fan into a lifelong avoider of a brand. For example, in relation to CX in mobile, WOW Local Marketing recently found that 52% of people are less likely to re-engage with a brand because of a bad mobile experience. Chatbots are fast becoming the ultimate company representative – they are the face of the business, enriching customer engagement and service to ensure conflicts are resolved quickly and efficiently. In turn this type of communication means customers are kept happy and engaged with the brand. And it isn’t just the most straightforward queries that chatbots can answer either, if a customer is experiencing an issue with a product they can directly connect with a chatbot. Customers can then be given troubleshooting information as well as a recommendation of how to fix it, ensuring a swift resolution.
Going above and beyond is in a chatbot’s nature. Along with answering questions they can also help to bolster a product, or brand visibility, as they also have the ability to share products with customers based on their personal preferences. They can even become a personal shopper – helping your customer find the perfect gift, for example, with just a few basic questions.
Developers are constantly looking to advance the technology, making chatbots even cleverer, pushing AI learning more with less input and less data. In fact, the potential for innovation is increasing all the time, with developers working feverishly to bring new consumer experiences to market. For example, when WhatsApp opens to bots, it will unlock direct access to over one billion new users. Businesses can continue to improve the experience for customers by adding responses and Natural Language capabilities, even once the chatbot system has gone live
Futureproof your business
Putting your customer first isn’t a new concept, which is why chatbots are fast becoming a ubiquitous part of online customer service. Many businesses are already reaping the benefits, using them to better engage with their customers. It doesn’t matter whether your business is a small start-up, or a large enterprise, there is an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage and future-proof your business by investing in chatbot technology. With a creative approach, you’ll see ROI fast, so what are you waiting for?