How are Chatbots redefining Customer Engagement?

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There’s a loud and growing voice advocating chatbots to be the future of customer engagement. Isn’t that pretty exciting? Just to think that, in a couple of years, there is going to be a massive disruption with regards to how customers and businesses interact with each other.

It’s like we’ve bought ourselves into this whole realm in the customer experience galaxy, where human-to-human interactions are taking a back seat and human (customer/user/prospect)-to-bot engagement is being evangelised. But what exactly is driving this shift?

Why is there a need to say YES to chatbots?

Now, if you’re going to ask whether there’s a dying need that chatbots actually meet, the answer is YES!

According to this infographic from myclever which is based on a survey conducted by Usurv,

• 46% of consumers in the UK were frustrated with online services because the websites don’t provide even the basic details such as address and open hours.

• 40% of the respondents bemoaned the inability to get immediate answers to simple questions.

• Another 33% cited ‘unresponsive contact facilities’ as the reason behind their frustration.

Given the pace and ease with which transactions happen in the online world, it’s pretty much a pre-requisite when customers expect product/service/contact information at the click of a button, seamless navigation to go along with it and complaints and queries resolved at the earliest. But if you lag behind in these aspects, your customers will definitely move on…. to your competitors!

So, how do you respect your customers’ time and deliver them not just quick but quality service? At the same time, how can you make this service a lot more seamless, fun and holistic? This is where chatbots play a decisive role.

1. Firstly, chatbots help you get rid of boring, run-of-the-mill customer engagement strategies. In its place, you have a dynamic platform that focuses primarily on building conversations, understanding customer queries/issues thoroughly, and providing highly relevant, contextual and real-time solutions.

2. Apart from driving hardcore real-time engagement, chatbots are a priceless addition to your omni-channel CX strategy. All the customer data you gather via a chatbot can be integrated into the grander scheme of things that aids the top management in creating more customer-centric strategies.

3. You would have seen by now that the perks of chatbots are quite incredible. But, it’s also equally important to know whether they are heavy investment – the answer is NO! Chatbots are cost effective when compared to other customer engagement platforms. Also, owing to their versatility, investing in chatbots helps cut down on other expenses; like for instance, you don’t need a separate app to collect feedback on your website

4. Also, isn’t it pretty much written on stone that people today have this craze for messaging platforms – be it Facebook, Whatsapp or WeChat? So from a user’s perspective, chatbots are most likely to be well received because they themselves are core messaging platforms at heart.

One question that we’ve heard a lot is ‘does it affect the way I do business?’ And if it does, how?

Chatbots and Disruption – What can you expect?

Then-and-there Customer Service: Here’s a simple example to illustrate how chatbots can disrupt (literally!) the manner in which customers contact/interact/engage with your business in the online world.

Let’s say John, a customer, has ordered for a product online. But then there’s some delay in delivery that he gets to know while going through the order details on your website. Totally furious that the product hasn’t arrived on time, he then has to skim through the website for a contact number of the customer service department in order to raise a complaint. And there’s no guarantee that the complaint will be addressed or resolved effectively.

The customer service department could have an IVRS automated answering machine that is even more annoying that John finally gives up and quits this brand once and for all, while venting out all this on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Enter CHATBOT…..

Let’s say the website uses a chatbot. All John has to do the moment he finds out that there’s a delay is CLICK on the Chatbot window on the very same page and communicate the issue to the bot. The bot keeps John well informed on the delivery status – why was there a delay in the first place and when can the delivery be expected – all in real-time!

Chatbots allow customers to bypass frustrating customer service reps, outdated IVR technology, and get their issues across seamlessly whilst expecting an efficient system at the other end to help them out in a reliable way.

What’s even more interesting is that customers can also leave their feedback, say for instance following a purchase. And if they haven’t found a particular product, they can immediately initiate a conversation with the chatbot and be clearly informed on its availability.

Chatbots have truly opened the doors to more unique and exciting ways for companies to conduct business and engage with their customers. And very soon, they’ll become a critical competitive differentiator when the customer has to choose between different brands. So, what are you waiting for? Go catch up with this brilliant piece of technology and drive real-time engagement!

Ganesh Mukundan
Hiver
I'm a content marketer at Hiver. I've been writing about customer experience for the past 5 years. I'm passionate about narrating delightful customer stories, researching CX trends, and deep-diving into concepts such as VoC and Customer Journey Mapping.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Ganesh, all well and true – with two caveats, imo:
    1. Bots, more precisely the AI behind them, are not yet far enough to effectively perform the jobs you describe. Sooner or later they will be there to do more than just simple things

    2. Self service via communities will see a surge as well. After all: For most problems we first fire up Google …

    Having said that: Bots certainly are an important enrichment of a company’s customer service offerings that will help humans doing their jobs more efficiently by e.g. initially taking over more simple but then jobs of increasing complexity.

    2 ct from Down Under
    Thomas
    @twieberneit

  2. Hey Thomas, thanks for your inputs! Firstly, chatbots as we currently see them are another channel that is powerful in engaging with customers. Their strength comes from the fact that they can be dynamic and flexible as opposed to very static Q&A’s.

    However, there is still a long way to go before the true potential of AI can be explored to create an almost human interaction. Meanwhile, chatbots definitely form complimentary channels of engagement with customers within the entire media and CX landscape. As rightly said, community-based engagements also have huge potential that brands are yet to tap into.

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