In customer care, Chatbot applications have been heavily discussed by many, however after the initial excitement around this newfound technology it has been found that its usage shows mixed results.
This means, while there are several organizations that managed to adopt this technology successfully by combining it with their support agents to bring quick answers, others developed Chatbots that eventually degraded their customer experience, owing to a dearth of comprehension and the inability of the tool to handover the conversation to a human.
Hence, here are a few most essential considerations that you must judge upon before launching a Chatbot for your brand and business, such as:
1. When is Chatbot relevant in the customer journey?
2. What you can do as a brand when it fails to answer?
Therefore, to better understand Chatbots and their potentials, let us go through their present applications in customer care.
What Is A Chatbot?
According to the definition published about this tool from Chatbots Magazine:
“A Chatbot is a service, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that you interact with via a chat interface.”
In another definition of Chatbot as an app Gartner (a global research and advisory firm ) highlights this digital tool as:
“Chatbots are basically the “apps” of messaging and voice platforms, defining how consumers converse with your services and data in digital businesses.”
Now, Chatbots are frequently associated with AI (Artificial Intelligence) as AI can be used with this too, but then again it is not always mandatory to do so.
This is because most advanced Chatbots use NPL (Natural Language Processing) and AI to understand complex and complete sentences from customers like real humans that makes the interactions with a Chatbot look akin to a conversation in messaging apps we already know, which again depends on the Chatbot technology in use whereby the conversation with a Chatbot can feature several components such as:
• Welcome Screen
The screen that is visible to the user when they begin a conversation with a Chatbot, which includes the picture, name, and description of the Bot with a greeting text.
• Structured message
This function in a Chatbot offers the recipient of the message different options to choose from. For example, the action to take, or the nature of the consumer’s inquiries, so that it can help the Chatbot to understand the user appropriately.
• Text message
This function unlike structured messages, allow the user of the Chatbot to write complete sentences, that the Chatbot will be able to understand using NLP.
Why Chatbots Are Becoming So Very Popular Nowadays?
We have observed as one of the leading vendors of CRM for small and medium business that in the past few months, the media has been frequently talking about Chatbots in most customer care events.
Here are some of the factors that can explain the growth of this trend:
1. The stellar rise of messaging apps
With more than 2 Billion messaging apps that are expected to hit the markets across the globe by 2020, messaging is fast becoming the preferred channel of communication for the consumers.
In fact, the steady rise of customer care channels for messaging such as Messenger has greatly contributed to the development of Chatbots.
According to studies done on this technology, Messenger alone now counts more than 100,000 active Bots in the app and these numbers are on a rise.
Messenger has even recently launched a “Discover” tab, that is helping users to find Bots inside Messenger easily.
2. Consumers’ anticipations for quick answers
In the present times, consumers expect quick and speedy answers, which has forced businesses to improve upon their response time.
Now, for handling basic requests a properly implemented Chatbot can aid in matching these trivial customer expectations by providing answers instantly 24/7.
According to a study conducted by MyClever (a social media agency), it has been found that finding 24 hours service and quick answers to simple questions are the two most key benefits that businesses expect from Chatbots.
3. The expected cost-saving
Chatbots by providing automated answers can save an agent’s time, which in turn helps in reducing that associated costs.
Nevertheless, as Bots cannot answer all the enquires, the need for human agents still today remains essential for smooth performance in businesses.
Moreover, the cost associated with development, integration with business growth technology like CRM, knowledge enrichment, maintenance and monthly subscription fee of deploying a Chatbot, are also arenas that business must consider while calculating expected cost-saving while using Bots for support service.
4. The “hype” effect
In the present times, several organizations desire to build their own Chatbots and integrate it with a business growth technology once they buy CRM to offer innovative customer experience to their consumers.
However, to do this successfully the implementation of Chatbot in such businesses must be capable of answering to the customer’s real needs and therefore should be integrated relevantly in the customer journey with the brand.
In fact, according to a survey it has been found that 80 percent of businesses plan to have Chatbots by the end of 2020.
The Main Uses Of Chatbots In Customer Care
A Chatbot can provide assistance for basic enquires such as updating personal details, retrieving passwords, and more, where the answers to such inquiries are very similar and customers expect a quick redress to their issues.
The advantage of this approach is to free the agent’s time so that they can focus on more valuable and important tasks in hand.
2. Informational purpose
A Chatbot can be used to cater to information in real-time in a more active way than other channels of communication that we use for our business.
For example an update on travel or status of an order can be sent to the customers using Chatbot, but for this the Bot must be connected to easy to use CRM or any other software the company uses to find related data.
3. Redirection to an agent
A Chatbot can be used during the initiation of interaction with the consumers to get information from the customers, by asking the nature of their inquiries or the customer’s number to help qualify requests and redirect them to the right channel or pass the conversation to the right agent in the customer support team.
Hence before launching a Chatbot here are three main issues that businesses need to address for proper use of the Chatbot tool:
• What will be its perimeter?
• On which channel(s) it will be implemented?
• How the Chatbot will be accessible to the consumers?
As Chatbot technology is still at an early phase, hence there are plenty of rooms for improvement of this really helpful business tool, as in a study done by 3C Interactive, reveals that more than 70 percent of consumers still say that the Chatbots they interacted with could not properly answer their questions and enquires or help them appropriately.
Therefore when developing a Chatbot or integrating it with easy to use CRM, customer experience should remain at the heart of the reflection which must ensure that the conversation can be handed over to a support agent when needed to build a world-class customer experience and moreover instead of developing Chatbots for each channel, companies must try to deploy their existing chatbots in a multichannel environment that will make company save time and additional costs on multiple deployments of Bots for rapid customer care and business growth.