In what Forrester has coined as the “age of the customer”, consumers today are technologically savvy, expecting much more personalized interactions from businesses with whom they interact. According to newsvoicemedia.com, businesses are losing $62 billion per year from poor customer service. Brands need to audit their customer service processes and invest in innovative and intelligent strategies that elevate customer service levels. In fact, a report “Customers 2020” by Walker Information states that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. For example, Tesco, Airbnb, Spotify, and other brands have embraced new technologies to automate engagement with their customers. To compete in 2020 and beyond, businesses need to leverage intelligent automation to improve and transform consumer service interactions for higher customer satisfaction and engagement.
The Rise of Chatbots
Chatbots are revolutionizing the way intelligent interactions can be conducted between brands and consumers through chat interfaces, thereby transforming customer engagement and fueling growth.
Chatbots and live chats are synonymous in nature. Historically, organizations have a team of support personnel to manage all customer service activities. Chatbots, the automated alternative to a live chat, assist in answering common customer queries and resolve issues by engaging interactively with customers 24/7. This reduces workload, response time and costs while freeing up customer service resources to focus on strategic clients and more complex service requests.
Due to recent advances in Chatbot technology as well as Artificial intelligence (AI), more organizations are turning to Chatbots as their primary customer service tool. Let’s analyze the key reasons making the case for Chatbots over live chats:
- Chatbots don't require IVR processes
Chatbots are replacing legacy Interactive Voice Response (IVR) processes, helping organizations to provide immediate customer service. We have all been in voice prompt or automated attendant hell. Chatbots reduce the need for customers to dial into frustrating IVR processes and phone extension menus to get to a live person who can help. Through NLP (Natural Language Processing), Chatbots are becoming experts in understanding and interpreting FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and answering them concisely.
- Chatbots reduce negative interactions through conversational functionality
The age of monotonous and over-scripted live chat is gone. In live-chat – the agent can have a profound effect on the success of the interaction. Extensive chat volume, the time of the chat and type of questions being asked can negatively impact how a live agent handles the conversation – potentially leading to abandonment of the conversation and a frustrated customer. Bots can be trained to provide defined and elaborate answers to key questions – answers are consistent, irrespective of when the question is asked. A human may not respond in every instance in the same or detailed manner if the question is asked say after an extensive conversation, as humans may be more inclined towards closing out the chat as quickly as possible.
- Chatbots are available 24/7
Chatbots can attend to customers 24/7, 365 days a year without human assistance. With Chatbot technology employed, consumers can initiate a chat with your brand from anywhere in the world, at any time, and get the answers they need. Chatbot technology increases round-the-clock availability of customer service to your clientele without having to hire and train an additional workforce to cover expanded time zones or languages.
- Chatbots improve response time
With live chat- there is a queue where customers wait to be attended. Due to limitations in personnel and time spent helping other customers, the servicing process can be time consuming and inefficient resulting in frustrated customers. As a benchmark*, most chat operators can handle a maximum of 3 simultaneous chats without impacting response time and quality. Chatbots automate the process and engage with multiple customers simultaneously to answer simple questions and resolve issues much faster as compared to individual live agent chats. Now, the automation of the entire customer service workforce may not be feasible for many brands. But using a hybrid (Chatbot/live chat) approach can make use of intelligent conversational A.I., to boost the overall efficiency of the entire customer service function.
- Chatbots, using AI, can increase sales
With Machine Learning and cognitive capabilities, Chatbots can add personalization to customer service. Different visitor related parameters like season, location, browsing pattern and history, past purchases, demographics, and more provide the bot with detailed visitor insights. Equipped with these details, bots can drive additional revenue by offering additional / supplementary products based on visitor intelligence gathered. Interactions and offerings are completely customized to each visitor and provided much more quickly and efficiently than with a live chat - irrespective of the number of simultaneous chats or chat duration. This increase in overall efficiency creates an amazing customer experience that can positively impact revenues.
- Chatbots are cost-effective
Chatbots are a highly cost-effective solution for customer care teams with a large support inquiry rate. A single Chatbot can handle thousands of inquiries, 24/7, reducing the total cost of customer support dramatically. In the US, the savings from automating customer service positions through Chatbots is an estimated $23 billion dollars per year. With Chatbots engaged, skilled support personnel can contribute towards more strategic aspects of customer support or focus their time on critical clients vs. answering repetitive questions.
Chatbots are here to stay and giving enterprises another option over live chat for customer service. They are rapidly evolving and will quickly become a standard customer service toolset. In fact, Chatbots along with Artificial intelligence programs, are now being integrated with popular social media platforms or chat messengers. Lufthansa* launched a Facebook-integrated Chatbot to assist passengers in searching for cheapest flights. With this continued technological progress, Chatbots will get better and better at utilizing emotional intelligence as well. So much so, you won’t be able to tell if you are communicating with a live person or bot.
If you are interested in learning more about adopting Chatbot capabilities for your internal or customer service teams, contact us.