Are you planning to improve your customer experience? Wondering if chatbots can help you achieve that, and how?
Did you know – Chatbots may soon be leaving human agents behind.
Yup, here’s some proof.
- The average satisfaction rate of bot-only chats is 87.58%, almost 2% higher than the satisfaction rate for chats that get passed over to human agents.
- Chatbots are the fastest-growing brand communication channel, and
- Chatbots handle 68.9% of chats from start to finish.
This means that better algorithms and technologies like NLP or natural language processing, are evolving chatbots from dumb machines to ‘real’ artificial intelligence.
But hey, this is not a chatbot vs live chat battle. We are just trying to tell you that the future with chatbots has arrived.
They are contributing in all fields of business, including customer experience, which is what we are going to discuss in detail in this article.
So without any further ado, let’s proceed.
What is a Chatbot
Oracle defined the chatbot as a computer program that simulates and processes human conversation (either written or spoken), allowing humans to interact with digital devices as if they were communicating with a real person.
But chatbots do not only work through text but voice as well. And because chatbots simulate human conversation, they can not only reply to your questions but can also start a conversation all by themselves.
Chatbots are divided into two broad categories:
- Task-oriented or stateless chatbots – capable of performing one function at a time. Think FAQs, queries with limited variables, etc.
- Data-driven or stateful chatbots – capable of sophisticated, interactive, and personalized tasks. Think virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa.
What’s more, chatbots are a continuously evolving technology. Modern chatbots are built with complex NLP (natural language processing) and ML (machine learning) algorithms.
These chatbots learn as they go, which means they need massive amounts of data. The more you interact with the bot, the better it deals with you, your voice, and your queries.
So enough about bots, because we cannot dare fit the whole topic here. Let us move on to the benefits chatbots can bring to your business.
What are the Benefits of Using Chatbots
#1. Instant response
What would you prefer? Chatting and multitasking your way through a query, or staying glued to your phone, waiting for a support agent to answer? My guess is, chatting.
No wonder then, that the first response time on any customer-facing chat needs to be under a minute.
And this varies greatly across industries. Here are some examples:
- 27 seconds average in consumer products and services
- 56 seconds in banking and finance
- 57 seconds in healthcare
- 1 minute in technology
- 2 min, 26 sec. in business services
But the point is response time matters, and the advantage of chatbots is that they have the highest satisfaction level when it comes to replying to queries quickly.
#2. Removes language barriers
As many as 58% of small businesses already have international customers. And many of the largest US-based MNCs have close to (or more than) two-thirds of their total sales outside the US.
So chances are that your chat support teams are talking to consumers in different countries, with different languages.
With chatbots, you can provide multi-lingual chat support as they translate foreign languages in real-time. You no longer need to drop queries because of language gaps.
#3. Increased productivity of the human team
According to a 2019 study, chatbots were able to handle 68.9% of chats from start to finish. This means that chatbots are getting more and more advanced with time, and organizations are getting more skilled at creating automated conversation flows.
It also means that bots can deflect the majority of customer queries involving FAQs and simple questions and boost your agent-productivity.
Working with chatbots, your live chat team can focus on more complex queries.
Even if you use the best query filtration methods like pre-chat survey, segmentation, and routing, scaling up can become extremely difficult and costly with human agents.
So, deploying chatbots when it comes to high query volume, is a game-changer.
Because one of the key benefits of chatbot marketing is that one chatbot can handle unlimited queries at a time, so, you can scale up without thinking twice.
#5. Efficient feedback mechanism to fuel business growth
Consumer reviews are playing such an important role in business today as never before. A report says that 92.4% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service if they have been able to read a trusted review about it.
But how many customers take time out by themselves to leave a review? Not many.
Enter, chatbots. Because 71% of customers will leave a review IF ASKED, and chatbots will do exactly that for you.
You can deploy a chatbot to prompt the customer to leave feedback immediately after purchase. And the chatbot can collect feedback in a way that is suitable to your business:
- Clickable buttons for star ratings
- Clickable buttons with pre-written responses for faster feedback
- A free flow text box to get a more subjective feedback
- Discount offers and vouchers to encourage people to share feedback, etc.
You can even connect your chatbot to email and let it send emails to clients asking for feedback. This gives them time to respond at their own convenience and might suit some people better than giving feedback instantly.
Now, let us focus on how chatbots improve CX at various touchpoints.
How Chatbots Improve the Customer Experience
#1. Round the clock availability
What is the number one criterion for a memorable customer experience? That you are there for your customers when they need you.
So, there may be multiple benefits of chatbots for customers, but the major contribution of chatbots is undoubtedly their 24×7 availability.
Whether it is IT support, customer service team, or sales, the biggest customer experience factor is that you are there for them when they need you.
Chatbots rank #1 in supporting your consumers round the clock.
For instance, research says that 8 to 9 pm on Mondays and Thursdays are consistently the most popular times for online shopping. So if you close the office after business hours, your business is suffering.
Plus if you are an online business, you most probably have international customers, in which case, you must take the time differences into account.
In short, businesses that are available 24/7 are the winners today.
But hiring agents to work round the clock can be expensive and unrealistic. Even if you can afford it, why not save some bucks by using the technology intelligently?
Chatbots help you be present for your customers 24×7 without costing a fortune. Here is an example from HDFC bank that is using Eva, the bot, for helping its customers 24×7:
#2. An omnichannel solution
You know it. It is a buyer’s market.
And for giving them the best experience, you must meet them wherever they are in their journey, and/ or in whatever medium they choose.
Not just that, with an omnichannel approach, you provide a consistent communications journey to your customer, with their conversation history and context going with them from channel to channel.
The good news is, that chatbots can interact with your customers on multiple platforms, websites, messaging apps, email, social media, you name it, and chatbots are there. Not just that, they can interact with the customer simultaneously on multiple platforms.
Here is Hipmunk’s Facebook messenger bot helping a customer make a travel itinerary:
#3. Instant access to knowledge-bases
No customer has the time to call, email, or even chat with customer support if they can solve their problem themselves. And this is not a guess.
A report from Microsoft found that 86 percent of customers expect a self-service option. Especially for cases like:
- A quick answer to a simple question
- Long waiting times to talk to the customer support rep
- Urgently required help in out-of-office hours
In such cases, bots are a great go-to customer experience tool. By using AI chatbots or even simpler chatbots, you can direct customers to your knowledge base, like articles, FAQs, use cases, videos, links, etc.
#4. Engagement goes through the roof
All of us at this point have already been proactively greeted by a chatbot when we land on a website, like this:
Thing is, proactive chat can literally convert strangers into qualified leads by allowing chatbots to pop up and start providing support to visitors even before they ask for it.
This can be especially helpful for businesses like SaaS where visitors need more than average onboarding, and new or potential users may just be shy to ask questions.
With proactive chat, you can create logical chatbot conversation flows for enhancing customer experience at every point in their journey.
Focus on ease of conversation by using things like clickable answer buttons in the chat window for a lightning-fast chat experience.
#5. Better buying experience
Don’t you just love it when your favorite shopping platforms recommend products aligned with your taste and past purchases? Thereby saving you time to scroll through hundreds of pages?
Well, most of the time that is the work of chatbots.
Chatbots can make personalized recommendations to shoppers based on history or by asking them a few questions, thereby greatly enhancing customer experience.
Believe it or not but here is a chatbot making wine recommendations to a customer:
#6. Aids conversational marketing on social media
In 2021, 82% of the population in the United States had a social networking profile. We are guessing some of these are your customers for sure. So if you care about them, you cannot ignore social media.
Social sales generate more than 50% of revenue across 14 major industries, including healthcare, logistics, etc.
So, adding chatbots to your social media pages should be a part of your sales and CX strategy. Your customers can resolve their sales queries on your social media page itself, without having to go anywhere else.
Here is how FB messenger is already using chatbots for businesses:
#7. Great deals at the last minute
Your customers go through the whole sales funnel and leave at the very end for a variety of reasons, like:
- Extra costs
- Slow delivery
- Complicated checkout process
- Security issues, etc.
And organizations keep finding new ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment, simply because converting a potential client who went all the way should be relatively easier. And it is, with the right tools.
All you need is to do is to make an offer to the customers they cannot refuse!
One way to do this is through chatbots, and they do an amazing job at it by:
- Answering customer questions
- Offering discounts
- Assisting hesitant visitors proactively, etc.
#8. Personalization through feedback loops
Remember how we talked about chatbots getting smarter as you interact with them. That brings us to our last, but very important customer experience metric – personalization.
Your customers may just be segments or personas for you, but they expect you to engage with them as individuals. They expect you to remember their unique tastes and preferences when they are talking to you a second time.
And chatbots help you make personalization possible, through feedback loops.
For example, over time AI chatbots can:
- Predict consumer personality using machine learning
- Understand not just natural language, but even regionalisms, and even typos. For example, your Latin American customers, can not only talk in Spanish but also use Spanish idioms and regionalisms.
- Surprise your customers by using emojis, gifs, and images
- Use holidays to contextualize the conversation, etc.
Here is an example of a chatbot using emoji:
Hope we were able to give you a good overview of the reasons why you should be using chatbots for customer experience.