Today, we’re seeing the use of conversational AI interfaces create new ways to engage with audiences every day, but in terms of driving new efficiencies for businesses, the most impactful technology will be chatbots. Indeed, the Gartner Service Technologies Bullseye recently revealed that 68% of service leaders believe it’s chatbots that will become more and more important by 2021, which, according to Juniper Research, will be driving $112 billion in retail sales by 2023.
It’s not just outsourced service centres that can make use of web chat channels; a wide range of companies are doing more, faster, with the help of chatbots. Today chatbots are delivering information at record speed, helping customers to make decisions and perform transactions, and often solving business critical issues.
Given the stage of adoption, chatbots may not be the first answer to come to mind when facing common business challenges, but here are just three signs or triggers whereby organisations may well want to consider investigating how they might help.
1. You have a customer service app, call centre or FAQ based service
Chatbots may have made headlines for wealth management and other financial advice, or for giving us handy tips such as book recommendations. However, the reality is that for most businesses, chatbots will make their first contributions by way of the customer service centre simply because they are getting smart enough to do a better job, more quickly for common tasks.
Businesses with well-organised customer service facilities and a dedicated focus on delivering the best customer experience (CX) are often the first to adopt chatbots as a differentiator. These businesses have likely already implemented many SaaS tools to optimise CX. They are seeing the new efficiencies chatbots can offer that may help to drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.
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Chatbots can reduce the weight on your service team staff, allowing them to focus on real problems and improve overall CX while saving operating costs for reinvestment.
On the consumer side, the appeal for chatbots in customer service lies in the fact that many of today’s online B2C users prefer to use digital tools to self-manage their customer experience. Chatbots can help these users to choose their own service path, and also advise on when it’s time to refer to a live agent. Chatbots can also drastically reduce customer wait time, replying to queries in as little as five seconds of customer contact, while typical human advisors may take up to an average of nearly a minute. They are also 24/7.
2. You have a wealth of data (and organise it well)
It should come as no surprise that those companies making the best use of chatbots as a new competitive differentiator are data-savvy and store their data in a structured way that works across the multiple touch points of a user journey.
These companies have sufficient data to understand how business processes work which makes automating them a whole lot easier. And whilst all organisations try and avoid data silos and complex sets of legacy systems, they are a reality for any organisation of any scale and longevity.
Chatbots can only reach their potential through instant-access data
Chatbots are a great way of creating an abstraction layer across multiple systems and data sets, ensuring that your users get a simple, optimised experience – masking the unavoidable complexity underneath.
Because you can monitor and analyse every interaction with a chatbot, it’s a great opportunity to improve both the chatbot itself but also insights to improve how your products and services are delivered.
3. You need to do more with less
There’s a widening talent gap in tech, as new capabilities hit the market faster than the number of humans can be educated in how to manage them. Part of the problem is human ingenuity and capacity for critical thinking being absorbed into functions like customer service and sales. And for businesses, areas like customer service have developed into significant cost centres, which takes away funding from talent acquisition and being able to attract the best talent in a competitive market.
Chatbots are able to help serve a growing customer base without the necessity of adding advisors. This is an area where it’s not even strictly necessary to make an investment in AI to solve the issue. Training a team of chatbots to logically follow response pathways for common customer queries means more resources get freed up to employ the talented humans every company wants – solving the issues that only a human can.
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You might even be a charity or start-up with no resources at all. We’ve worked with one company to put 80% of their issues through chatbots, the remaining 20% then needing to be staffed by humans.
If you recognise any of these signs then the odds are, that your organisation could really benefit from the introduction of chatbots. Just remember, the first step in adopting chatbots successfully is ensuring that employees at all levels of the organisation are invested and on board with your goals. You want them to view chatbots as an augmenter, which properly used will provide your company with the skills, vision and knowledge necessary to compete in a rapidly developing market.