11 July 2019Blog
You’ve probably come across one and didn’t even realize it. Or maybe you did and thought to yourself “Whoa, this is pretty neat!”. More and more companies are discovering the wonders of chatbots. They’re a result of significant advances in AI and provide an alternative to customer service and online shopping. Let’s see what all the fuss is about, I’ve put together an article to help you capitalize on our newest friend, the chatbot!
Where did they come from?
As far as bots go, they’ve been around for decades. Starting with Eliza in 1966, designed to interact with people as a therapist. Today, advances in technology and demand has provided for a new wave of bots, chatbots. E-Commerce has seen the greatest benefits from them as they’re regularly used as a form of customer service. Additionally, it is widely used now to help consumers guide them while shopping online. But that’s not all. Companies these days are adding chatbots due to the fact that they’re a huge time saver ( speaking of saving time: Make Time For Video!) and effective in helping you run your business from multiple angles.
They’re basically the third hand that you always talked about needing. It is an ideal alternate to customer service.
Ok, but what is it?
Think of it as a virtual assistant. It’s main duty is to simulate the way we communicate with each other. As mentioned during the introduction, you’ve probably come across a version of a chatbot at some point in your internet experience. The assistant asks you what you are looking for, your favorite color, and how much are you willing to spend on the item and then directs you towards its recommended choices.
How does it work?
Creating a chatbot is a topic in and of itself and there are many startups out there to help you get started. Without spending too much emphasis on the complexity of what goes into making a chatbot function, You can boil it down to this:
You create a “if-then” scenario within the appropriate software. Once the template is ready, the bot will simply follow the instructions according to your scenario. It will apply it to its interactions with humans. For example:
Bot: Hi, how can I help?
Human: When are your stores open in my neighborhood?
The bot then proceeds to list the information requested by the customer. Cool right? So how does it benefit you? Find out below!
Before you decide if a chatbot could be beneficial to your brand, let’s go over some advantages of what this thing can do.
24/7 customer service support
People aren’t very patient when it comes to customer service and chatbots help to eliminate that. Chatbots will be online throughout the day in case any customers need assistance with a sudden issue or question.
Bots will help your customers shop should they need it.
Chatbots can be programmed to track the patterns of your customer’s purchases, to address the customer by their name and also look at prior consumer interactions and purchase histories to ensure that they are pitching the most personalized upselling offers.Source: entrepreneur
Which means you’ll be able to personalize the experience individually, which is always a plus. Recommendations will be based on past purchases and even website search history. Which in turn create bigger lead generation in the long run.
Note: It’s important to note that a bot can be placed on your website, or simply directed towards a messenger, which could be more convenient for a lot of businesses!
Can it replace humans?
Yes and no. Let’s put it this way, it’s too early to tell but there’s enough data to show that general public isn’t closing its doors on the idea.
Over half (52 percent) of shoppers have positive feelings toward tech development as it relates to AISource: zdnet
As of 2018, it seems that most people are still skeptical of bot interaction when it comes to handling their issues.
70% consumers surveyed about their customer service preferences said they would rather speak to a human customer service representative than engage with a digital customer service rep or chatbotSource: Sitel Group
Most people still prefer to talk to a human when it comes to more complex issues as the AI hasn’t caught up to our way of thinking.
We know exactly how an ideal bot would function. It’d be great if it was efficient with its answers, responsive, improved customer satisfaction, and reduced the cost of customer service. Luckily, today’s bots do all of that and more.
The E-Commerce Way
If you’re a current or rising e-commerce business, listen up. As mentioned above, chatbots are regularly being used on e-commerce sites, and the advantages of it are through the rough. Here are some facts to get you excited:
Thirty-seven percent of Americans say they are willing to make a purchase through a chatbotSource: DigitasLBi
Additionally, not only are people ordering online through a chatbot but they’re also open to suggestions
Thirty-seven percent of all consumers — and 48 percent of millennials — are open to receiving recommendations or advice from chatbotsSource: DigitasLBi
Ideal for Travel agencies as well
It’s true! Chatbots help you connect to a travel agent to get you on your way! So apart from being able to handle frequently asked questions, they’ll match you to a travel agent most suitable for you. Whether it’s support, booking, or special offers regarding travel, chatbots are here to save the day.
The technology is only getting better
A lot of the reason as to why not everybody has adopted chatbots into their strategy is simply because not everybody is convinced that it handle . The technology however is getting only better.
Ray Kurzweil, an inventor, futurist, and engineer at Google predicts that chatbots will have human-level language ability by the year 2029Source: The Verg
So although they are not perfect, they get the job done where it’s needed. It’s headed in the right direction which is great news in the long run.
The conclusion is clear…
Chatbots were made to be efficient and to ultimately create less stress to help you focus on the entirety of your business. People are rapidly getting accustomed to them and there’s no denying that it’s going to affect the way we conduct business in the long run.
No wonder 80% of businesses want chatbots by 2020.Source: businessinsider
Can it replace the touch of a human right now? Depends. Is the technology improving on a daily basis making it so that you can fully count on this new tech? Definitely. It’ll be interesting to see what new ways we’ll find to implement these bots, hopefully it won’t lead to the development of human destroying AI bots, Terminator style!