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“Ironically, a lot of people think that they’ve never used a chatbot, they’ve never experienced it, when in fact they have. Because Siri and Google and Alexa and all those voice-activated speaking bots, if you will, those are actually audio chatbots.”
Kelly Noble Mirabella, Spiderworking
Delivering high-quality customer service is integral to business success. However, today’s customers have high expectations. They value the convenience and speed of digital channels like email, SMS, chat, and messaging apps. In order to meet their growing demands, many businesses use chatbots as their frontline of communication.
But the question is, what do customers think of chatbots?
Let us find out.
Chatbots and customer service
Chatbots are not a new concept. We can trace the idea back to 1950 when Alan Turing designed the Turing test. This test could measure whether one was talking to a human or a machine. Since then, many bots like ELIZA, PARRY, and ALICE came into existence. However, they did not pass the Turing Test.
Bot functionalities were highly limited till the 21st century. They did not impress customers. Most of them failed to provide positive experiences. Customers hated their robotic voices and poor service quality.
However, the advancement of AI drastically improved bot capabilities. Siri, Google Now, Alexa, and Cortana are examples of advanced bots. These digital assistants are way ahead of their ancestors.
In the last few years, the popularity of bots has grown rapidly. Statista forecasts that by 2024, the number of digital assistants will reach 8.4 billion units.
These numbers suggest a shift in the attitude towards AI. Today, consumers are comfortable using virtual assistants. When they deliver positive experiences, people use them more.
But the determining factor is always the “experience” that a bot provides. The closer it mimics human interactions, the more acceptable it is.
From a business perspective, the experience your bot delivers can make or break your CS strategy. When your chatbot adapts to the business ecosystem, customers will accept it better.
So, how does a chatbot meet customer expectations?
It is quite simple. An efficient chatbot handles repetitive and simple queries with human-like accuracy. They provide excellent resolutions. They also understand customer intent and route complex queries to human agents when needed. In this case, the transition is seamless.
Hence, if a bot can handle these two tasks efficiently, customers will accept it.
When Chatbots are done Right
When chatbot technology was new, it had many flaws. Users could not do much with them.
The emergence of NLP technology has changed the way chatbots operate.
NLP or natural language processing is a branch of AI. It helps computers understand human language. It enables chatbots to understand unstructured phrases and process appropriate responses.
The main benefit of NLP is that the chatbots evolve. They improve with each human interaction. They not only collect data but also analyse and interpret it. So, the responses of the chatbot become strikingly human-like.
NLP is a key component of Conversational AI that powers modern chatbots. Chatbots with conversational AI respond just like humans. They communicate with customers in a personalized manner and help to resolve simple queries.
Here are some of the things that customers like about Conversation AI-powered chatbots:
Bots provide instant responses
Customers appreciate instant and accurate responses. They do not have to wait in a queue to receive answers to simple questions. Neither do they have to wade through endless documents.
Chatbots have 24/7 chat capabilities. This means that customers can receive support even after office hours. Unless it is a complicated question that requires agent assistance, bots can close tickets instantly.
Advanced self-service facilities
For certain queries, customers prefer the self-service mode. They would rather not talk to a human at all. Take a hotel booking for instance. It is simple and most customers can do it without assistance. Chatbots can guide them through the process and help to fill out forms in minutes.
Escalation to a human agent
Efficient bots identify customer intent. They recognize complex queries that are beyond their scope and route them to a human agent. The transition should be seamless. When it is done right, customers will be impressed with the smooth way in which their concerns are handled.
Benefits of chatbots for businesses
Businesses can also gain from deploying AI-powered chatbots. Let us look at the benefits.
Bots reduce staff dependency
A chatbot can easily handle simple and routine inquiries. Such queries form the bulk of inbound chats and calls for most businesses. When chatbots take care of them, employee workload decreases.
Increase customer engagement
Conversational AI chatbots are interactive. They offer personalized responses to customers. This personal touch impresses customers. It improves the brand image and builds customer loyalty.
Quicker responses without extra expense
Chatbots can handle multiple queries at a time. They can access the database and use it to address queries quickly. It reduces the need for human agents. Thus, it speeds up responses and reduces operational costs without affecting CS quality.
Chatbots help customers find the answers they need faster. It persuades them to make quicker decisions or to sign up for additional services. Personalized support and easy access to information improve the scope of sales. In addition, automated data collection and analysis help the team identify and pursue leads easily.
Chatbots are a practical solution to meet customer demands at scale. Businesses can start with a bot that handles routine queries. However, when needed, they can expand to handling complex tasks. They can work 24×7 and address multiple issues at once without fatigue.
Challenges of employing chatbots
Our discussion is incomplete without looking at the different challenges that chatbots present.
After all, a chatbot is an asset to a business only when it is done right.
One of the factors that affects the efficiency of a chatbot is the personality you assign to it. To humanize a chatbot correctly, its personality should match the brand. The style of communication and tone should be cohesive with the brand image.
Another factor is the need for continuous optimization. Self-learning chatbots with NLP capabilities evolve and improve with time. They are better than traditional chatbots with limited capabilities.
Finally, the chatbot is not a complete solution. It is only a part of an efficient CS strategy. It should adapt to business needs and escalate interactions to a human agent to ensure high CS levels.
Voxtron offers customized chatbots that adapt to business needs across markets. Contact us to streamline your CS strategy with the perfect chatbot for your needs.