Chatbots: a game changer for online customer service
In the coming years, contact between people and organisations will be handled more and more by chatbots that have human characteristics. That’s quite something, and raises questions for both organisations and employees. In this article, we’ll take you into the roles that chatbots and Artificial Intelligence play, so you can determine for yourself the roles they can play within your own organisation in the coming years. The development of chatbots and their influence on service, marketing and sales will in any case take on a whole new perspective. Once you’ve read this article, you’ll know everything you need to know about chatbots within your organisation!
Why are chatbots so popular?
We already know that chatbots are popular. The graph above from Google Trends shows that the number of worldwide searches for chatbots has exploded in the last 4 years. We are now also seeing the first successful applications of bots in business, such as in the case of online customer service, or webcare, at HEMA, NCOI, Erasmus University en Univé. Smart chatbots can recognise order numbers and customer data. If this information is not yet available, the required information from customers is then collected by the bot for further processing of a question.
How often have you dreamt of a bot that can automatically take over your customer service or live chat, with quick and right answers, in the form of ‘personal’ chats? One thing is certain, in 2020 chatbots will become even more accessible.
The advantages of chatbots for organisations
The number of digital channels – and therefore also the number of conversations – is still growing. The upswing of business contacts via messaging channels such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, plays a large part in this. Naturally, most organisations are looking for smarter ways to handle simple questions, in an automated way, without compromising on customer satisfaction. Chatbots can also support online customer service experts in collecting the right information, as a kind of virtual assistant. As is the case with RTL Nederland, the chatbot can also ensure better accessibility and assistance outside of opening hours.
“We notice that the use of chatbots makes a big difference in handling time. The customer experience is generally that a chatbot is fast and easy and it ensures that we can also be reachable to our viewers outside of opening hours ”, says Angela Muradin, Head of Customer Care at RTL Nederland
The potential goal of a conversational chatbot is to make the service process more efficient, so that costs are reduced and the satisfaction of customers and employees increases.
Want to know more about what a chatbot can mean for your organisation? Then take a look at the six biggest advantages of chatbots for your organisation.
The different applications of chatbots
The most famous chatbot is the conversational chatbot, the bot that enters into an actual conversation with your customers. But the potential for chatbots is much greater than that. Chatbots can also be used to make processes in the background run more smoothly or to proactively provide people with information. A number of applications that we already see in practice:
- Chatbots as work planner: handles first line contact and requests important information from the customer, which the service employee can use immediately.
- A chatbot to support the employee, where the chatbot makes suggestions and the employee approves or rejects them.
- A chatbot that conducts full conversations with the customer, for example with regard to frequently asked questions that do not require human contact (such as questions about opening times, orders or information requests)
Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85% of all customer interactions will be handled by chatbots. https://t.co/TdLptp4eq7
— Allison Gapter (@agapter) October 25, 2017
As you can see, chatbots come in many shapes and sizes. Even though we know that customers are ultimately speaking with a chatbot, it’s human to look for connection.
Remember that a chatbot always works with a purpose to achieving a goal. That doesn’t always mean that the chatbot only gives the ‘best answer’. A goal-driven chatbot helps the customer to achieve the desired goal by asking the right kinds of questions and then providing him or her with the right information.
A chatbot without a goal doesn’t yield any profit
Important ingredients for the success of a chatbot are speed, quality and personalisation. With proper utilisation, a chatbot can quickly deliver the following:
- Up to 36% cost savings
- Up to 24% higher customer satisfaction (NPS)
- 20% growth in productivity
- Up to 40% of all conversations handled by chatbots
But remember… set realistic goals, prepare well and be ready to learn from any mistakes.