As you read this blog entry, it won’t be long before a speech bubble pops up on the lower right side of the screen, greeting you and asking if you need help. Chatbots like this have become commonplace on corporate websites as a convenient way to address simple inquiries. You might interact with a bot to check the status of an order, reset your password, or schedule a meeting with a sales rep.
If your company doesn’t already have a chatbot set up for customer service, you might wonder if it’s a worthwhile investment. At a time when customer experience (CX) can make or break a business, it’s worth exploring whether a bot could give you a competitive edge and help your human employees deliver better customer support.
What are chatbots?
Gartner defines a chatbot as a conversational interface that lives at a particular domain. The bot might use text, voice or both to field site visitors’ inquiries. This technology has become so prevalent in recent years that a 2016 Gartner article predicted that the average person would interact more with chatbots than their spouse by 2020.
Essentially, these bots are programs that simulate conversation, according to Salesforce. While their presence on company websites is relatively recent, these bots have been around for a long time. MIT professor Joseph Weizenbaum created one of the earliest chatbots, ELIZA, in the 1960s. With pattern matching and keyword recognition, ELIZA issued script-based responses to questions, imitating a psychotherapist.
If you spent time on AOL Instant messenger in the early 2000s, you might remember another notable historic chatbot, SmarterChild, who could have basic conversations and offer up weather forecasts and movie times. In the decades since then, developers have made bots even smarter, and they can now field many routine customer inquiries.
Some chatbots are rule-based, while others leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to address queries. Generally, AI-powered chatbots offer more flexibility and better experiences because they learn from previous interactions and can build customer profiles, according to Instabot.
How chatbots improve CX and benefit businesses
Chatbots are a hot commodity in the business world. The global chatbot market is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 22.5 percent between 2020 and 2027, reaching a size of nearly $2 billion by the end of that period, according to Fortune Business Insights.
Chatbots have numerous advantages for businesses and can enhance CX in various ways. Here are just a few notable benefits:
- Greater productivity: Chatbots can tackle 80 percent of routine customer requests, according to IBM. That allows your human workers to devote more time to complex support issues.
- 24-hour responsiveness: A chatbot can keep handling clients’ questions after hours when your live agents are off the clock.
- More personalized service: An AI-powered bot can utilize natural language processing and data gathering to deliver individualized customer service, according to Instabot.
- Greater insight into customer behavior: Bots can offer visibility into your current and prospective clients’ browsing and online shopping habits. You can leverage that data to improve your website, tailor your customer service and overall deliver a better CX.
Finding the right chatbot solution for your business
If you’d like to learn more about chatbots, our trusted technology advisors would be happy to assist you. We can help you compare your options and find a supplier that aligns with your needs, customer demographics, industry and organizational objectives.
To learn more about our advisory services and take the first step toward a better CX, please call 877-599-3999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.