Here are seven good reasons why it can be worthwhile to invest in a chatbot now – for companies and for customers.
Why companies should invest in a chatbot now
1. You take the communication habits of your customers into account
The number of possible communication channels is constantly increasing. As a company, it is not always easy to be present on all channels. With a chatbot, you can outsource at least some of these channels, e.g. your website, messenger services, the communication through your own app or telephone system.
In this way, users can use their usual communication channels. And that is what they expect. For example, 85 percent of the participants of the Critical Channel of Choice Reportexpect companies to seamlessly connect different online and offline channels.
2. You create a personal, intuitive customer experience
Chatbots are using natural language-based input methods. That’s why users can ask their questions in a natural way and communicate with the chatbot as if they were talking to a co-worker or a friend.
Especially due to the huge progress achieved in Natural Language Processing over the past years, the quality of chatbot conversations is improving more and more and thus becoming more interesting and personal for many users. (Also relevant: Artificial Intelligence vs. Machine Learning vs. NLP)
Searching for information on a website or in an app is less intuitive. In most cases, several steps are necessary until you have clicked through to the desired information. A chatbot makes these steps redundant.
Additionally, chatbots offer a more personalized user experience. Depending on which questions the user asks, the answers of the bot will be different ones. Especially bots that are not rule-based and use artificial intelligence instead, learn with every user interaction.
The data you collect during the interaction with your customers also helps you to improve the customer experience. For example, you can use this data to create tailored content for the problems of your target group. Or you can use the data for targeted customer communication, especially if a customer contacts you more often.
3. You offer your customers relevant information
A common problem with research on the internet is that you sometimes have to invest a lot of time to find the relevant information. In this case, a chatbot can provide support in finding relevant information.
The information available on a website or in an app can overwhelm users quickly and it is not always relevant to them. For example, if you are looking for a new mobile phone contract, the available options are often confusing.
However, if you know that you are looking for a contract with a minimum of 5 GB data volume and a phone flat rate, a chatbot can filter the available contracts and only offer you the relevant ones.
4. You provide 24/7 availability
Probably everyone has been waiting for hours in the waiting loop of a telephone hotline and listened to the hotline music for donkey’s years. Who would not exchange this experience for a chat with a charming chatbot?
A bot is available quickly and around the clock. A study by Userlike confirms that consumers appreciate this feature: 68% of respondents say that quick feedback is the most positive aspect of chatbot communication. Also interesting: More than half of the respondents said that they want to talk to a chatbot before being forwarded to an employee.
With a chatbot, you can offer your customers a contact point that is available 24 hours a day. Even if there is no employee in the office. Your chatbot reliably takes care of the communication with your customers – no matter what time of day or even on weekends.
If there is a problem that your chatbot can not solve, there is always the possibility that the conversation is forwarded to a human employee. During opening hours the forwarding can be done directly in the chat. Outside of the opening hours, the employee can contact you by email the next working day.
Especially in times of crisis, this advantage is worth a lot. For example, the Corona hotline in Austria was heavily overloaded at the beginning of the lockdown. Waiting times of over an hour were common. At this point, a specially developed AI assistant could have provided massive support to the hotline staff by answering the inquiries.
You’ve probably noticed that since mid-2019, Facebook offers the option to generate leads via a chatbot. Users can access your chatbot via a display ad and interact with it.
By interacting with the bot they can learn more about your offer and, if interested, leave their contact details for further information or a consultation. The advantage: The cold calls for your sales team are not necessary anymore. Because this task is now taken over by the bot.
Only when a user is interested in your offer and has provided his contact data, the sales team takes over. At this point, the prospective customer already knows your offer, which makes it much easier for your sales team to start the conversation.
A chatbot can also support automated lead generation on your website and for example, qualify leads, which are then forwarded to the sales team.
6. You can plan your resources more efficiently and save money
According to IBM, companies handle 265 billion customer inquiries each year. This results in costs of around 1.3 billion dollars. A chatbot can save up to 30 percent of these costs.
As described in the previous points, many tasks that would otherwise have to be handled by customer service or sales can be outsourced to a chatbot. Above all, customer questions that are frequently repeated or cold outreach can usually be handled very well by a chatbot.
7. You leverage your company data
Data is the raw material of the 21st century. Every company has vast amounts of data and information in digitized form, for example in manuals, FAQs, guidelines, instructions or databases.
In most companies, however, these treasures are scattered across different departments. There is no overview of what data is available and often, the answers to questions that arise cannot be found.
With the help of Conversational AI, i.e. chatbots and voice assistants, this data can be made available in natural language. This forces you to not just structure your data and set up an internal knowledge database, but it also has to be modeled further in the form of a Knowledge Graph, for example, in order to make it available via Conversational AI.
This will not only help you build up your data with systems that are scalable but will also start your organizational learning process, which will be essential in the future. Chatbots and voice assistants are more than a new tool. They are part of a comprehensive transformation process that will permanently change the way in which we obtain information and manage knowledge.