Consumer behaviours and expectations are constantly evolving.
By Andrew Bourne, regional manager: Africa at Zoho Corporation
Today, people expect a high level of interactivity with the brands they deal with, whether it’s a compliment, concern, complaint, or question via social media, or the ability to quickly reach out to a member of the customer support team.
This phenomenon is partly responsible for the rise of chatbots. Bots, by definition, carry out repetitive automated tasks, and in this case, they can deliver a personalised content experience, answer common customer service FAQs, and streamline product purchases.
A look at the numbers indicates the chatbot sector is poised for remarkable growth. According to one market research company, the global chatbot market was valued at $1,17-billion in 2018, and will skyrocket more than 800% to $10,08-billion in 2026.
Chatbots are particularly valuable under this new paradigm of ultra-high consumer expectations, as they are a way for organisations to significantly improve their overall customer experience. They offer a number of workflow-related benefits to organisations that deploy them as well, such as:
They increase conversational rates
In today’s everything-on-demand landscape, consumers want instant gratification. By using AI technology for conversational marketing, businesses can automate routine processes to engage with and assist customers more effectively, giving them an improved overall experience.
When used for customer support, AI chatbots reduce the amount of time organisations need to invest in what can be a mundane task, while bots equipped with natural language processing capabilities can initiate conversations with customers to assist them.
Industry studies say chatbots can answer roughly 80% of standard questions, and they’re also useful in gathering huge volumes of customer data across various channels and translating it into useful information and business insights that further helps personalise customer experience.
They eliminate time-consuming search strings
While chatbots are adept at improving the experience for customers, they can improve the employee experience as well.
Chatbots have the potential to change the way employees across an organisation seek information.
Take simple web searches, for example. Traditional online searches can deliver results that may be irrelevant or otherwise useless to employees. Instead of listing hundreds of results, specialised chatbots in different domains can do the legwork for employees, thereby eliminating the need to search in the first place.
They help organisations gather and maintain customer insights
As chatbots interact with customers to deliver as seamless an experience as possible, they can also gather insights on customers and analyse variables such as purchasing patterns and habits.
By monitoring customers’ patterns, businesses can learn more about the products and services individual customers prefer.
They can also gain visibility into key areas such as common problems or issues with specific products or services, and make the appropriate adjustments on the fly.
Chatbots can also store and analyse information on the types of questions they are commonly asked. This makes the chatbot better equipped to answer future questions and upsell additional products.
They automatically push out valuable notifications
AI-powered chatbots can intelligently predict customer behaviour, allowing them to push appropriate notifications to the right people at the right time. This sort of timely communication is a powerful marketing tool that helps businesses reach and retain customers.
Generally, there are two types of push notifications that are most common and most effective in engaging with consumers.
The first is notifications on product updates. Chatbots can send customers messages about new product features, bug fixes, maintenance updates, or product usage statistics.
In addition, chatbots can push out advertisements, discounts, deals, and sponsored messages to engage customers and get them to take action.
They automate everyday workflows
Chatbot automation considerably reduces the time businesses need to invest in repetitive tasks such as pulling leads or parsing and processing data. With chatbots, organisations can streamline a variety of business processes across all of their departments and teams.
Instead of employees spending a significant part of their day completing routine yet essential tasks, chatbots can do it automatically and give teams more time to focus on human-centric, rewarding, revenue-generating activities.
Chatbots open up a multitude of possibilities for businesses of all sizes, and the technology will only continue to improve. It’s one example of why AI should be part of every business’ arsenal. As always, those who embrace the technology and use it most shrewdly will be the ones that come out ahead.