From the globe-dominating FANG companies to just-launched startups with killer business plans, almost everyone is running the Artificial Intelligence race. If you have data, AI has the key to unlock its hidden power.
AI has countless applications. But, chatbots turn out to be the most easily adaptable and affordable of them all. We can rightly say that chatbots are the gateway to deploying AI in everyday operations.
In fact, 78% of business leaders currently use or plan to introduce AI for customer service and see many benefits in doing so.
Can chatbots really improve customer experience?
Chatbots can replace human agents whose performance fluctuates due to several dynamic factors. In the process, they can also offer a positive customer experience.
For instance, a human agent can work only for a specific number of hours in a day. During those limited working hours, they need breaks and at night they also get distracted by a variety of factors that affect their sleep and work. Above all, they can handle only one or two live user interactions at the same time.
As a result, the customer experience that a customer can render is restricted due to bandwidth issues. It is here that chatbots can make a difference. It can really improve the customer experience. They provide several benefits as proven by the 2018 State of Chatbots Report — a combined study by several top software companies.
Customer experience is a broad topic. It has several moving parts to it and no single part makes up for the rest. It is necessary to understand the specifics of how chatbots create an overall customer experience.
1. Act as your virtual store assistant
In an online store, a chatbot can guide customers toward the product they are looking for easily and quickly.
For instance, finding the right cosmetic product can be a challenge for most customers. But, not for Sephora’s customers. Sephora, the global cosmetic brand is also one of the world’s first retail brands to have pioneered the use of chatbots.
Sephora’s chatbot offers two services: Sephora Reservation Assistant and Sephora Color Match. The reservation assistant makes it easy for customers to set up reservations with Sephora’s beauty specialists. Color Match assets customers in choosing beauty products that exactly match the color in an image that they send to the chatbot. Sephora’s chatbot was initially pivoted in the Kik messaging platform. It is now available in Facebook messenger and on their website.
2. Be the Anytime accessible support agent
As mentioned earlier, one of the inherent downsides of agent-led customer support is downtime. Human agents can not work 24/7. If a business wants to provide round-the-clock customer support, it must establish multiple shifts — usually double or triple shifts. This is definitely an expensive affair that small businesses cannot afford. For instance, even though live support improved their customer satisfaction score by 8%, the team at Soltiaried is moving to a chatbot setup because the costs of live support were too high.
A chatbot offers a remedy to this scenario. A chatbot can provide real-time support irrespective of the time zone and time of the day. They work 24/7 without complaints. They are computer programs that need only electricity and programming logic to serve customers.
Another benefit chatbots offer is that they can cater to customers from any time zone equally. In customer support, time is of the essence. Chatbots help deliver timely customer support without any downtime. This, in turn, leads to a better customer experience.
3. Smoothen your customer journey
A smooth customer journey is the fastest way to convert a customer. Unfortunately, in the B2C or the B2B space, the customer journey is not always linear. It is rather sporadic with multiple pit stops and U-turns. Also, there could be instances when your existing customer is trying to repeat a transaction.
New customer or existing customer. Irrespective of the previous association, a chatbot can provide a smooth customer journey.
There are several ways how a chatbot can do it. Some of them include:
- Offering live chat support any time of the day or year
- Providing consistent information repetitively by integrating it with knowledge management portal
- No more IVR or tickets that delay responding to customers
- No lengthy forms that demand users to fill up private information
All said chatbots help serve information to customers in the fastest way possible. This makes it easy for customers to quicken their decision-making and also reach the last leg of the customer journey at the earliest.
4. Offer personalized content suggestions
As a human, how well can you understand another person?
No matter how hard we try, it is extremely difficult. The same applies to personal relationships and business relationships. Understanding user preferences, and favorites, and serving them relevant content is not an easy task.
But, chatbots can make it easier. A chatbot can connect the dots based on the user’s previous favorites, preferences, and browsing history to suggest contextual relevant content suggestions that can drive engagement.
If you have visited the TechCrunch Facebook page, you must have seen this in action. TechCrunch Facebook Messenger chatbot serves personalized content suggestions. It also lets users choose the topics that they want to follow and be updated about in the near future.
And, should we elaborate on the potential benefits of personalized suggestions. Undoubtedly, engagement will skyrocket.
5. Collect actionable insights
One of the most underrated benefits of using a chatbot is that it provides data for deep analysis and therefore helps to understand consumer behavior. Every conversation that the chatbot has with a user sheds more light on the user’s requirements, expectations, and wants. It is a data gold mine of sorts.
With chatbot analytics, you can place a finger on what kind of key metrics like active users, sessions, and user retention. In fact, chatbot analytics can also give an idea about the bot’s efficacy in resolving customer issues.
Google offers its own chatbot analytics platform which lets you integrate with any voice or text messaging apps, including Facebook, Kik, Viber, Slack, WhatsApp, WeChat, Alexa, Cortana, Allo, Line, Skype, and Twitter, and more.
Christened Chatbase, the chatbot analytics platform enables businesses to evaluate their chatbot performance from several angles, including when the session started and what action was concluded.
Virtual customer assistants help organizations reduce by 70% call, chat, and email inquiries by. Above all, they offer tangible benefits that no business can turn a blind eye to.
The biggest draw among them all is that chatbots can enhance customer experience by notches. Chatbots make life easier for users by providing contextually relevant and personalized suggestions to frequently asked questions. On the flip side, they do it in a cost-effective manner.
As a result, even small businesses with a shoestring budget can make use of chatbots. If improving customer experience is on your agenda, then a chatbot should definitely form part of the strategy.