Online interaction between customers and companies has become a normal practice today because it helps streamline e-Commerce and provide the seamless customer experience. This article presents an overview of one of the most effective tools for business communication as of now — chatbots.
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The Proliferation of Chatbots
Earlier, the telephone was the main communication channel between businesses and clients; gradually, companies started creating websites with the feedback form; then, mobile apps and messengers emerged as more powerful communication tools.
With the growing number of digital clients and their increasing demands for the quality of customer support, business owners admitted that human customer service specialists couldn’t manage the huge flow of requests quickly. They needed to automate processes with the help of high technologies, so this was the point when first virtual assistants aka chatbots started hitting the market.
- 56% of businesses claim that chatbots are driving disruption in their industry (Accenture Digital)
- 90% of businesses report faster complaint resolution with bots (MIT Technology)
- 2.5 billion hours projected time savings for businesses and consumers from chatbots by 2023 (Juniper research)
- More than 50% of medium and large enterprises will make use of chatbots in business operations by 2020 (Gartner)
Why are they becoming so popular? It is due to their ability to imitate human conversation and manage the hectic pace the current generation of consumers is used to. Chatbots offer immediate digital connections and query processing, provide more efficient collaboration, increase conversion, save time and money. In other words, implementing chatbots into your business improves customer engagement and brings you financial benefits.
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The survey by Statista shows that 33% of respondents worldwide find customer service chatbots very effective; 54% — somewhat effective; and only 13% suppose that they are not helpful at all.
The Effectiveness of Customer Service Chatbots
Another survey reveals the impact of chatbots on customer service agents. They state that due to the cooperation with artificial intelligence, agents provide more personalized services, improve personal skills and feel more satisfied in their jobs.
Customer Service Agents Opinion about Usage and Value Added by Chatbots
What Is a Chatbot?
This is a computer program that can conduct oral or textual dialogues with human users. Such programs are built into websites, applications, messengers or call centers and act as conversational partners when customers ask questions or request information.
Chatbots or can be of two types depending on the way they are programmed:
- Simple chatbots — based on pre-written commands and keywords. They can understand only requests with standard words and expressions included in their database and respond with prepared answers.
- Smart chatbots — based on artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms (natural language processing, to be precise). They can analyze requests, understand topics and compile relevant responses. Moreover, they record each word from customers’ requests, process them, analyze the context and learn from this data for later service improvements.
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Creating Chatbots for Small Businesses
Most people believe that to build your own bot, you need a software engineer with sufficient knowledge in AI and machine learning. In reality, everything is much easier. There are dozens of specialized platforms that help you create a bot without coding.
Such platforms have a common algorithm for bot development:
- Give the name of the bot
- Set the parameters of a robot’s behavior
- Specify questions and answers
Then, on the basis of the data you provide, the service builds a ready-made chatbot.
The most powerful platforms for non-coding virtual assistant development are Chatfuel, Botsify, Flow Xo, MobileMonkey, etc.
There are also coding development platforms with advanced tools that create AI chatbots for sophisticated business conversations. They are SAP Conversational AI, IBM Watson, Microsoft Bot Framework, Wit.ai, etc.
Main Benefits of Chatbots for Business
The core purpose of virtual assistants is to support seamless conversations between businesses and customers. This involves numerous pros both for business owners and users.
Let’s go through some important benefits of chatbots for business.
1. Continuous Work 24×7
Robots don’t require breaks or lunch hour, and they are never tired, so they can process client requests day and night all year round without delays or pauses.
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You as a client don’t have to wait for a human operator to become available while listening to boring music and wasting your precious time. This is important, because modern customers want to get the information when they need it, but not “in a couple of business days.”
Unlike humans, chatbots can simultaneously hold thousands of conversations, providing relevant information and making no errors. No matter how many people are contacting a company, all of them will be attended to instantly, and you will not lose clients.
What is more, virtual assistants are always ready to be engaged without irritation or experiencing other negative emotions, making customers happy and ranking your brand higher in your sector.
2. Better Customer Experience
Disappointed and dissatisfied customers will never turn to your service again and will provide negative feedback; this is self-evident.
Chatbots are able to improve customer experience and expand your audience. They can reach almost 100% satisfaction of applicants as they:
- Respond immediately
- Don’t depend on mood and emotions, and hence are always polite
- Don’t forget anything and are devoid of human errors
- Provide only relevant information
- Can speak different languages
- Create engagement, suggesting discount codes, promoting the latest products, etc.
In case a chatbot hasn’t provided the full reply, there’s always an option to talk to a real person.
3. Money Savings
Call centers and customer support teams need a lot of employees to function at scale. Their wage costs grow as your business is extending.
One chatbot can handle the activities of dozens of customer service representatives, significantly reducing the required company staff. Consequently, business owners can save a lot of money on customer support. The Juniper research predicts that chatbots will save $8 billion annually by 2022 in the banking, healthcare, retail and eCommerce sectors.
At the same time, virtual assistants are not able to completely replace human agents, and the most complex queries will still be handled by people.
4. Automation of Routine Tasks
Nobody likes doing routine work over a long period of time. If a person’s job requires repetitive tasks, he or she is subject to making errors and, what’s worse, burning out.
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But chatbots don’t care. They automate repetitive operations and free people from routine. Thus, they allow human workers to perform more interesting and creative tasks and be satisfied with their jobs.
5. Applicable in Many Industries
We can find examples of chatbots use in various industries that are starting to get value out of them.
e-Commerce and Online Marketing
Bots provide website visitors with information via pop-ups. As a rule, they are more effective in achieving user engagement than emails. Consequently, chatbots help increase sales.
Travel and Tourism
Virtual assistants may accompany travelers before, during and after their trip. They check the availability of hotel rooms and plane tickets, make orders from restaurants, give tips about possible local activities, gather feedback and suggest future trips on the basis of personal wishes.
Banking and Financial Services
Smart programs can warn you about unauthorized charges and other issues with your bank account. They can also give you suggestions on where to invest money or, having analyzed your spending habits, offer ways to save more.
HR and Recruiting
Bots are able to automate every stage of the recruiting process. They find and evaluate candidates, check if they are qualified for a job by asking simple questions, and act as advisors during the training process for new employees.
Benefits of Chatbots for Clients
- Instant responses save time and build loyalty
- Users receive only the information they need as chatbots are not trying to sell anything to them
- Clients are free to use the most suitable communication channel
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It’s Time to Get an Assistant
Having chatbots for businesses is a wise idea nowadays because they eventually lead to greater brand awareness and increased sales. Your company doesn’t need to be large to start using smart virtual assistant models, as they are available to everyone.
SaM Solutions can help you keep up with the times by introducing technological advancements such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and others to your business processes. Wondering how to get started? Contact our specialists!