Most websites — across industries — today use a chatbot for customer service. With that alone, the answer to the question is likely a “yes.”
It’s no secret that chatbots are on the rise. And with good reason! In fact, Gartner predicts that chatbots will handle 85% of all customer service interactions by 2020. So, why are chatbots becoming so popular? And more importantly, what do they mean for customer support?
This article will discuss what chatbots are, their role in customer support, and how businesses choose the right chatbots for their needs.
What Are Chatbots? How Do They Work?
Chatbots were first introduced in the early 1950s when computers started becoming more popular. In those days, it wasn’t made to support the customer experience. One of the chatbots developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) during that time was called “ELIZA.”
ELIZA was designed by Joseph Weizenbaum and was one of the earliest chatbots ever created. The goal of ELIZA was to engage in natural human conversations. To do this, ELIZA would ask questions about the person’s family, work, and interests.
Although ELIZA wasn’t perfect, it demonstrated how chatbots could be used to engage in meaningful conversations with humans.
Chatbots work by responding to a set of predetermined questions. They simulate a human conversation by asking follow-up questions based on the user’s responses. Chatbots use natural language processing (NLP) which allows them to interpret and respond to inquiries in a way that simulates how a typical human-to-human conversation would go.
Today, chatbots perform the same tasks—only now—to strengthen customer support, increase customer satisfaction, and promote a great customer experience.
Chatbots play a vital role in customer service thanks to automated customer interaction that runs seven days a week. They can help with simple tasks such as resetting a password, opening a catalog, or scheduling an appointment. Chatbots can also provide support such as troubleshooting technical issues or providing step-by-step instructions.
It is common to see company websites use chatbots to enhance customer experience. In a typical scenario, chatbots ask questions about the customer’s problem, including the necessary details needed to arrive at a solution.
How Chatbots Impact Customer Satisfaction
To have a broader view of the future of customer service chatbots, it’s important to consider how businesses adopt this tool to drive customer experience. By taking a closer look at how chatbots are currently being used across industries for customer support, we will see if chatbots are really doing the job of improving customer experience.
On customer experience, chatbots have been seen to be capable of handling “full conversations” with direct customers at a 70% rate, according to COM100. Even though they can’t address every problem brought up by a query, the premise focuses on delivering quick responses to standard customer questions.
Today, the basic premise of customer service chatbots is not lagging down on giving basic customer queries the standard answers needed at the quickest delivery possible.
According to a study by UserLike, ‘68% of consumers’ like interacting with chatbots because ‘they provide quick answers.’ When customer concerns are resolved fast, this also results in a more positive customer experience.
With how chatbots provide the middle-ground for improving customer experience and highlighting a brand’s credibility to serve, it’s understandable how the industry of artificial intelligence (AI) powered customer service is growing year after year.
In 2020, a Drift report revealed that the chatbot industry is ‘the fastest-growing communication channel used by brands’ to modernize customer support.
In investments, businesses from various sectors also enjoy how using a customer service chatbot can help decrease the cost of attending to customers by up to 30%. This data by IBM clarifies the possibilities of automated customer interactions and how it can lower the cost of forming huge teams of customer service agents.
As data highlighting how chatbots are finding success in establishing efficiency and viability increase, more businesses are opening their doors to this type of automation to nurture a more solid customer loyalty base. According to Invesp, the online retail industry is the sector with the biggest customer adoption rate of chatbots at 34%.
The healthcare industry follows this at 27%, and the telecom industry with a 25% rate of adoption. The banking and financial advice industry both display a 20% rate for chatbot usage, followed by the insurance industry with 15%, and the government with only a 10% adoption rate.
The Pros of Using a Chatbot for Customer Service
How are chatbots contributing to a business’s customer journey design?
With a detailed setup, chatbots can be designed to provide a more personalized customer experience for website visitors, which can make them feel appreciated and valued. However, the word ‘designed’ also means that a customer service bot needs to be programmed or briefed for this to be a success.
Aside from consolidating customer service processes, businesses benefit from using a customer service chatbot because of its ability to provide round-the-clock support. This means that website visitors can get the relevant answers they need anytime, anywhere, and without worrying if a support team is available for questions.
Customer service bots can also help businesses decrease operational costs while simultaneously improving the efficiency of driving customer satisfaction. Because of automation, a human agent or a customer service team no longer has to be on call at all hours of the day to facilitate a high-quality customer experience.
Other benefits to using a customer service chatbot include:
- More customers can be served simultaneously
- A broader, multi-channel reach for customers on different platforms
- Can provide insights and analytics on typical customer behavior from chat records
The Cons of Using a Chatbot for Customer Service
Can a customer support chatbot also complicate one’s customer journey?
Chatbots do have a few disadvantages. For one, chatbots can’t always solve customer service issues independently. Occasionally, complex queries can come up. Complex customer issues like these are the type of queries that usually involve more than one concern.
In cases like these, a bot-to-human operator handover should take place.
Another disadvantage of chatbots is that they can sometimes be challenging to follow. This can be especially true if a chatbot is used in multiple languages, is not set up properly before implementation, or if website visitors are foreign to the idea of automated customer engagement.
Other disadvantages to using a customer service chatbot include:
- Limited functionality
- Can’t nurture customer relationships deeply
- Data security
How Businesses Choose The Right Customer Support Chatbot
When it comes to choosing chatbots, there are many different options to choose from. With a simple search on Google, comprehensive lists of “the best” recommended chatbots can be found effortlessly.
Selecting a chatbot that matches the business’s needs regarding automation is crucial. But just like the options available within reach today, there are also plenty of factors to keep in mind when choosing the right chatbot to implement in a particular business model.
First, one must determine the requirements for the type of chatbot needed. For example, some chatbots are designed for specific industries, but general chatbots can also be used in multiple areas of business operations.
Another factor to be considered is the customer demographic the chatbot will be assigned to serve. This particular factor concerns the language and the communication of the tool powered by artificial intelligence. If your chatbot is used in multiple languages, ensure it can support all the languages it serves.
Before implementing a chatbot, its functionalities need to be also laid down. To effectively implement a chatbot for customer service, the bot must be equipped with standard customer service tools to address the most routine queries. Its features must also be compatible with systems.
Finally, you need to make sure the chatbot provider has a good reputation and offers good customer support. You don’t want to select a chatbot that is difficult to use or doesn’t work correctly. Moreover, it would be ironic to use customer service software hosted by a company with lousy customer service.
By following these tips, you can select the perfect chatbot for your business and enjoy all the benefits they have to offer.
The Future of Customer Service Chatbots
The future for chatbots is bright. A recent study showed that chatbot adoption is growing at a rate of 20%. This means that chatbots are becoming an essential part of the modernization of customer service teams.
There are many reasons why chatbots are so effective in improving customer experience. Chatbots can provide a better customer service experience and help businesses save on customer service costs. Chatbots also can reach people through multiple channels.
Lastly, chatbots can provide valuable insight and analytics from conversation history, providing data on how to improve chatbot conversations in the future.
Overall, chatbots are becoming more popular because they offer several advantages over traditional service methods employed by customer service teams.
As chatbots continue to develop, we can only expect more to arrive on the market, offering the business sector even more of what these automated support agents can do.