By 2022, Juniper Research predicts the integration of chatbots into the customer service industry will save businesses over $8 billion per year. These cost savings are anticipated to particularly benefit the healthcare and banking industries.
Customer-centric businesses receive and digest large amounts of data each day from purchasing patterns to customer complaints and troubleshooting requests. With advancements in data analytics, machine learning and predictive analytics tools driving artificial intelligence-powered chatbots, chatbots are becoming smarter and more personalized than ever before.
The Age of the Chatbot
Technology has undoubtedly changed human behavior.
The connected world we live in and accessibility to mobile devices have created an environment where instant gratification has become the expected. While this is more common with generations that have grown up with technology at their fingertips, it’s prioritized and redefined what it means to optimize the customer experience. The consumer mindset has built a culture of impatience, and when engaging with businesses, consumers want to receive a quick and accurate response.
Chatbots help businesses by offering the 24/7 customer service their customers demand. Service representatives gain extra time back to reprioritize and focus on tasks that require human skillsets – which is an opportunity for cost savings. And with new technologies making chatbots increasingly more intelligent, they now offer a customer experience that is not much different than what would be delivered by a human.
But in today’s age, it’s important to consider what your organization’s unique needs are before integrating a chatbot into your business operations.
A Day in the Life
There are two categories of chatbots used to address different business needs.
The first, is a transactional chatbot that addresses simple commands. Think, Siri or Amazon Echo. These chatbots are leveraged for automating an existing action like scheduling or booking a meeting, ordering a taxi, checking the weather, placing a food order or paying bills. You’re likely interacting with a transactional chatbot at least once a day, without even knowing it.
The second, is a conversational chatbot used for offering human-like interactions and guidance, that builds a relationship with clients over time. These customized and more personalized engagements get smarter as more data is gathered and responses will be tailored based on past experiences.
For example, conversational chatbots create more customized shopping experiences by making tailored recommendations based on past purchases, size and views. Chatbots are also starting to coming into play with traditional set ups, such as in mental health. To support therapy, these chatbots provide an engaging journaling experience by customizing responses and questions based on the types of emotions associated with past events.
The Next Generation
To date, chatbots have been used to support and streamline business activities in addition to providing customer support. As the deep learning technologies behind chatbots become more advanced, we’re seeing a rise in businesses that create chatbots for specific purposes.
Facebook has been bolstering its Messenger Platform for businesses, promoting direct engagement with consumers. Last year, Whole Foods released a Messenger chatbot that would allow consumers to use text and emojis to find healthy recipes. Also, the competition between Dominos and Pizza Hut is heating up around the delivery of a Messenger bot and its capabilities to accept and process a pizza order.
A recent feature in WIRED shares how James Vlahos has created a chatbot modeled after his dying father. Dadbot uses PullString’s software, highly refined rules and most importantly, recordings that transcribe into 203 single-spaced pages and 91,970 words. While only a shadow of James’s father, dadbot is able to mimic how his father talks, emulate the essence and voice as well as communicate in his manner and personality. The knowledge on his family history has even been tested by James’s mother.
While the future of chatbot integrations are unknown, we can anticipate they’ll only become increasingly more popular, accurate and precise. With many new use cases being presented by chatbots, it’s only a matter of time before businesses find new capabilities.