Chatbots were created as a marketer’s dream ally, a magical tool that allowed brands to literally be ‘always on’.
The last two years have seen enormous growth in the number of chatbots entering the market as well as a larger number failing terribly. According to a 2017 Grand View Research Study, the chatbot market is poised to reach $1.23 billion by 2025 with an annual growth rate of 24.3%.
Let’s deconstruct what they are all about to help you make a better decision on whether your business requires one or not and what benefits they bring to your customers.
Chatbots? What’s that?
Chatbots are essentially computer programs that automate certain tasks generally through a conversational interface. You will find these programs generally running over social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Twitter or within websites, built into their chat windows. These programs could be powered by artificial intelligence, helping them execute complex activities, personalize responses and improve performance over time through a continuous learning process.
In their most primitive form, chatbots are built using a list of ‘if this then that’ rules that reflect the typical queries you would expect from your customers and inputting a list of responses to each expected query.
What makes them special for my customers?
- Continuous learning through multiple conversations allows chatbots to leverage large amounts of internal data and truly connect with customers.
- Simple, quick service in a reasonably personalised way
- Your customers never have to download another app that they will never use. Chatbots built into messaging interfaces allow the business to reside within the top apps that are already on your customer’s smartphone.
- Typical research behavior showcases that people want the information they are looking for as quickly as possible. Chatbots assist with instant relevant data that can be tailored in a way to value add to anything that a Google search can throw up. The whole point is to provide a direct path between their problem and a solution.
What kinds of benefits can I expect for my brand?
- Always on – Available 24*7, chatbots abolish the days of waiting for the next available call operative or responses to emails allowing your customers to always have a direct line to your company.
- Scale your conversations – The ability to have thousands of simultaneous conversations with customers means that no matter what time of the day, every customer will receive tailored instant communication and every single customer will be answered.
- Opens up the information gateway – Customers no longer need to click through your website looking for the information they truly need. Chatbots enable your business to speed up the process from search to discovery.
- Automation of repeat tasks – Most queries that clog up a business’ phone lines and inboxes fall within the simplest queries such as – what are your store times, what is the price of this product, how can I update my profile information, what is the status of my reservation etc. chatbots allow you to automate these responses and free up manpower hours for more productive tasks.
- Tailored experiences – Smarter chatbots powered by AI, allow for your brand to create personalized experiences for every single customer by remembering every single conversation and choices your customer has made in the past. A shopping assistant bot that recommends clothing choices to a customer could be molded by that individual customer to his/her specific likes. This ensures no garment is ever repeated through the recommendation engine thus allowing for wider tailored discovery of your brand’s offerings.
- Cost-saving – The bulk of your cost will be incurred when building and setting up your chatbot; after which it’s all about regular updates based on the way your customers use the service. This translates into a low cost to the company when compared to employing staff with a weekly salary.
- Consistent conversations – As chatbots are set up basis your brand’s personality and tone of voice, you will never have to worry about your customer representatives having a meltdown at work and not providing the brand experience that you expect every single one of your customers to enjoy. Controllable and consistent, your chatbot could be your best first point of contact for customers.
What is the main hiccup I should look out for?
The biggest issue with chatbots is that users expect far more than what they can actually deliver, and this is where the system breaks down. Instead of making complex chatbots that solve a number of issues, simpler chatbots that solve simple problems for your customers are the ones that perform best. After all, customers are happy when getting what they want and happiest when their expectations are met.
Are there some Kiwi chatbots that I can take for a spin?