The customer is at the center of every marketing strategy today, so much so that his experience with brands has become the greatest interest of those who work in the sector. Chatbots can improve Customer Experience by offering services that live up to consumer expectations.
Most of the actions done on smartphones have to do with instant messaging services which, combined with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, led to the birth of chatbots.
Chatbots are intelligence software with which we can interact as if they were people: we can turn to them to carry out some tasks, to search for information or to get answers to our questions.
Chatbots are therefore IT programs with which to hold a conversation. Any one of us has seen or used them on Facebook Messenger or other instant messenger chats, but also on some brands’ sites or apps.
We can use chatbots:
- To automate quick responses.
- Make conversations.
- To correct information automatically.
- As virtual assistants.
- To do quick internet searches.
But how do chatbots answer all our questions and requests?
The merit is of two powerful technologies: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning which allow interaction with people and learning, over time, of their tastes and preferences. Thanks to constant progress, these systems have gained the trust of companies and have become increasingly sophisticated.
Chatbots serving the Customer Experience
According to a Spiceworks study published in Forbes, 40% of companies will use (or start using) chatbots by the end of 2019. The improvement of Artificial Intelligence and the recognition of human language will soon make it impossible to distinguish a conversation with a chatbot from that with a man in the flesh, taking customer service to another level. How? Chatbots will give immediate responses to consumer inquiries and provide useful information.
Customer service via chatbot
Chatbots, as mentioned, is becoming more and more common in customer service for their ability to immediately offer an efficient service to the consumer who turns to the brand with a complaint, a request for help or even with a simple question. Chatbots allow companies to respond all day, every day, in less time and using fewer resources.
There are several types of chatbots although the most common is the one that combines robots and customer service people. Machines tend to be the starting point for any interaction. Based on the request, the bot tries to solve the problem with the information it has available and if it is unable to do so, it passes it into the hands of an agent.
This is a critical aspect worth dwelling on. In Microsoft’s report, State of Global Customer Service in 2018, it became evident that the companies that offer positive customer service have loyalty and retention rates higher.
Chatbots can also be a useful marketing & sales tool for e-commerce websites. Some brands have already developed software of this kind. Domino’s Pizza, for example, has created a bot through which the user just has to write “pizza” on the Facebook chat or ask Alexa or Google Home to receive it in a few minutes at the door. Another example is the eBay ShopBot which is able to find the product we are looking for through a photo or a name.
Bot serving the customer
There is yet another type of bot, mainly designed to provide useful information to the customer who is looking for a specific product or service of a brand and who returns information in real-time. An example of this type is the KLM bot. The Dutch airline has launched a bot on Facebook Messenger called BlueBot, or BB, to assist passengers in the booking process. To keep them updated on the status of their flights and the changes of the departure gate and to provide them with other data-based information.
The need from which the bot was born was to help the customer service team who had to manage more than 16 thousand interactions a week with customers. During the first six months, BB sent nearly two million messages to over 500,000 passengers. And recently KLM also connected its chatbot to Google Home.
If 2019 is set to be the year of chatbot expansion, the road to customer acceptance is still long. According to some recent statistics, 45% of consumers believe the “intruders” chatbots and 78% say that the problem is the impersonality of the experience they offer.
For this reason, it is important to work to guarantee customers a pleasant and satisfying experience through this technology. Only then can chatbots help improve the overall experience.