Chatbots are one of the latest technologies companies are adding to their list of tools. This technology helps to automate workflow and interaction with customers. It may seem challenging to replace part of the human component of the customer experience; however, chatbots seem to be working for many brands. And, the biggest benefit is using chatbots as a solution for customers who want immediate responses.
Here's what they are, how they can be used, and why you should consider this technology for your business.
Chatbots, also known as chatterbots, are essentially computer programs. As such, they have been developed to simulate human conversation. The chatbots can do this by voice or text conversations. The computer program incorporates artificial intelligence. Therefore, this improves its ability to emulate human conversation. And, their capability is starting to include subtleties like tone, context, slang, and jargon.
Although chatbots have not yet mastered every detail and nuance about human conversation, they are being used successfully in situations that involve simple needs. This includes many of the questions that come through a company's help desk. It also covers issues customer service representatives face on a daily basis.
Social Media Starts the Chatbot Revolution
Numerous social media sites and online companies have embraced the use of chatbots. In turn, their adoption of this technology has helped more consumers and businesses become comfortable with the idea. Chatbots as social messengers for the brand are now being used by Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.
For example, Facebook has incorporated chatbots into their Messenger application. They have allowed other companies and brands to integrate the bots they use into their Facebook business page messenger feature. American Express uses a bot for its Facebook page messenger. This bot helps consumers learn about real-time purchase alerts. Also, they can get specific information about the credit card's benefits. The chatbot on We Chat helps with many daily needs. This includes getting a ride, ordering food for delivery, booking appointments, buying movie tickets, and customizing shopping orders with various retailers.
Numerous Ways to Use Chatbots
If you are not sure yet how you might use a chatbot, there are numerous examples of how other successful brands are putting this technology work:
- Starbucks has a chatbot within its app that will take your order, let you know when it is ready, and how much it costs.
- Taco Bell has released a bot that lets customers order and pay for their food through an automated chat conversation.
- Bots are also being incorporated into well-known payment platforms. This includes PayPal and Mastercard's Kai chatbot. Other payment companies are creating their own bots. These allow customers to conduct various types of transactions.
- Messaging platforms, like Skype and Slack, are using bots to help teams undertake fast, easy conversations. It even means that the bot can handle part of the interaction for each team member. This involves simple questions or needs like sending a file or adding a meeting onto a calendar.
- Developed by US-based Nuance Communications, Swedbank’s Nina is one example of how many banks, including Bank of America and Capital One are using chatbots. Swedbank allows customers to access the chatbot through its website. Nina can understand numerous text requests thanks to Natural Language Understanding technology. According to Crowdfund Insider, this chatbot handled an average of 30,000 customer interactions per month and delivered a resolution rate of 78%.
The Answer is Yes, But Humans are Still Essential
Chatbots are a worthwhile investment because they do so much to enhance the customer experience. Humans will always need to be part of the equation because there is still so much for chatbots to learn in terms of developing human personalities and answering more complex questions.
If you are ready to consider a chatbot, know that you need to find the one that fits your business. Every chatbot does not do the same thing. As a small business with limited resources, maybe you are only in need of a low-tech chatbot that answers customer support and service questions on hours where you cannot staff humans. Or, your chatbot may need to do more. For example, it may need to work with customer records, undertake data analysis, and integrate with other applications in order to handle customer support and service tasks. Therefore, you would need a more sophisticated chatbot. There are many available, so it's time to start your research.