As artificial intelligence (AI) has matured, chatbots – programs designed to emulate human interaction in messaging applications – have become more sophisticated, and customers are no longer put off by doing business with a computer.
Chatbots are an increasingly popular first port of call for customers, making customer care more efficient and cost-effective.
Thanks to rapidly evolving AI technology, consumers are warming up to the practice of interacting with chatbots for quick online solutions. In fact, according to research from the 2016 Aspect Consumer Experience Index, 70 percent of survey respondents said they prefer to deal with customer service bots for simple tasks.
Why use chatbots?
Chatbots that are well programmed and frequently updated can interact with customers over the phone, or more popularly through messaging apps or website ‘live chats’.
In these text-based formats, chatbots can answer simple questions or walk customers through actions on the website, such as paying a bill. The benefits for enterprises are obvious in terms of cost savings, but using chatbots for routine tasks also eliminates tedious work for customer care agents by monitoring customer engagement.
Consumers, on the other hand, receive quick assistance for simple problems, and can be passed along to a human at any point if their issues prove too complex.
Who’s using chatbots?
It’s not uncommon to engage with a chatbot when browsing an online retail store, but what about industries that deal with our sensitive information, such as banking and insurance? Research by Accenture shows that 59 percent of Canadians and 72 percent of Americans would use entirely computer-generated support for banking/purchasing insurance/investment advice.
The finance industry has been quick to embrace new technologies to connect with customers, and chatbots are no exception. Bank of America announced the launch of its chatbot Erica last year, which is designed to help answer customer questions and empower them to make smarter financial decisions.
Beyond customer care
Chatbots aren’t just a way to ease the burden on your customer service department; they can also generate sales leads for companies. Website chatbots provide two-way communication on a company platform that has historically acted as a one-way street.
This means users who are interested in products can get information and ask questions immediately, allowing businesses to catch leads while they’re hot. By using chatbots to ask customers questions and gather valuable data, human salespeople can also follow up with tailored solutions.
As AI technology continues to grow in complexity, chatbot functionality and realism will also improve. Now is a great time to start considering a technology that can save money, improve the happiness of staff and customers, and generate new business for your company.