Whether you’re on your favourite messaging platform, a business website or a food ordering app talking to a “representative”, chances are you’re actually talking to a bot without even realising it. That’s how far chatbots (Conversational AI) have penetrated the business world across industries today. They can carry out simple tasks and answer queries at a fraction of the speed of humans doing the same, without compromising on efficiency. The way they are programmed also makes it possible for them to process, store and analyse data to make them smarter with every conversation they have and every function they perform. Here are the five most prominent ways in which chatbots are helping businesses:
1.Cutting costs and saving time
For a lot of companies, hiring and training hundreds of customer support representatives is not feasible. This is especially true for when your user base grows significantly, and there are millions of customers who are in need of support simultaneously. While it is practically impossible for human teams to respond to each of these within a reasonable timeframe, chatbots can take care of this within minutes.
Out of this large number of queries, what chatbots cannot handle can be passed on to human teams. This helps streamline processes, thus saving on a lot of precious time. Efforts from human teams can, then, be directed to other tasks oriented towards value-addition. While they do require an investment initially, once in place, chatbots come with the added benefit of lowering operational costs in the long run - something that only increases with every new batch of human hires.
2.Customer satisfaction and retention
Chat is amongst the most preferred mediums of communication there are today. It is preferred by people not just for their personal interactions, but while purchasing products and services as well. The instant responses of chatbots save customers from the hassle of long wait-times and solutions from human teams who are stretched for time and/or resources. According to a report by McKinsey, 75% of online customers expect help within 5 minutes.
With chatbots, it is possible to program FAQs for them to give users straightforward answers as well as anticipate certain follow-up requests within a conversation. They are programmed to be friendly and professional in nature, making it easier for customers to be given their ‘individual’ attention with personalised conversations and minimal wait-time.
3.Data insights and inferences made easier
Data and insights majorly drive business operations. By implementing chatbots into the framework, companies can monitor conversations with consumers to derive trends in behaviour and track their interests. These insights gathered and integrated by chatbots can be used to improve or change processes according to what customers are looking for.
To make the most of it, companies should look at using a conversational analytics tools. With such tools, companies will be able to make business decisions based on data they have gathered in advance, rather than wait to see if their customers will take to a new product or service.
4.Tapping into the novelty of chatbots to help drive marketing and sales
Since chatbots are becoming the consumer behaviour ‘gurus’ of sorts, they are able to build relationships with customers and drive sales via personalised recommendations. This is carried out through follow-up conversations or through periodic messages to notify consumers about a potential item/service to purchase.
For example, global fashion company H&M is using chatbots for its online clothing store. It helps customers search for outfits by providing them a number of options that align with what they want to buy based on their responses. If someone rejects a choice, it will provide an alternative. If a consumer likes an outfit, the bot will direct them to tap on a link to buy, save, share, or move on to the next suggested outfit. In this way, the bot is guiding the purchase and influencing the customer to a certain extent by giving them a personalised virtual shopping experience. Now customers aren’t just saved from the trouble of having to step out of their houses to shop, with chatbots, they are being saved from the trouble of opening multiple tabs and searches for that perfect outfit!
5.Proactive engagement with customers
Chatbots make it possible for companies to give their customers access to help and support 24/7. Given that chatbots can be used across a number of different digital platforms, returning as well as potential customers have access to them from almost anywhere. They can also be programmed to work in multiple languages, hence making it possible to reach a wider audience, even globally. Every time a customer needs help or support, chatbots can use this opportunity to encourage user feedback and also help customers make repeat purchases by extending personalised offers to them.
A contributory article from Aakrit Vaish, Co-Founder & CEO of Haptik, one of the world's largest conversational AI platforms, with a client list that includes Fortune 500 brands such as Samsung, Coca-Cola, Future Retail, KFC, Tata Group, ICICI Bank, Mahindra Group, among others. The company focuses on key customer engagement use cases such as customer support, feedback, order status and live chat and has processed more than a billion interactions till date. Haptik was the first company to open source a conversation-based Entity Detection engine and is patent pending on our unique bot to agent routing capabilities....