Chatbot, virtual assistant, interactive agent, and artificial conversation entity are a few of the many names people are calling this growing trend in automation and business continuity.
While the names may differ, their sole purpose is the same — to answer common questions quickly and efficiently.
It’s tedious and demotivating for human support agents to answer the same questions over and over again, often copying and pasting standard, approved answers. So why not automate it with chatbots?
With customer experience a key battleground for businesses to stand out in the crowd, chatbots are designed to answer frequently asked questions at scale. This frees up agent time and saves businesses money.
By automating the front line of customer support, agents have more time to provide outstanding support and engagement, and to convert leads.
Chatbots are growing in popularity and sophistication
Many businesses have a mindset that chatbots deliver a negative customer experience, which has been true in the past. But developments in chatbot technology and shifts in consumer behaviour have enabled chatbots to continue to rise in popularity and success.
During the pandemic, chatbots proved their value in keeping businesses on top of the overwhelming increase in enquiries while staff were unable to make it to the office. Customer attitudes towards chatbots also changed significantly when they realised talking to a chatbot wasn’t that bad, and was actually quite helpful.
A study by PSFK showed that 74% of people prefer to use chatbots for quick communication with a business, and by 2022, 75–90% of all online enquiries are expected to be resolved by chatbots.
Businesses are shifting significant resources into chatbot development, and research by Gartner shows that 50% of businesses are already spending more on chatbots than mobile apps, with cost savings of 30%. All in all, chatbots are an essential part of the latest trend in customer “self-care” — where customers are perfectly satisfied finding information themselves, as long as it exists, is easy to find, and simple to understand.
Benefits of chatbots
Chatbots are a great tool to help businesses deliver omnichannel customer support at scale. Three of the biggest challenges in creating an omnichannel customer journey are ensuring messaging on each channel is consistent, standards of support are the same, and collected data is shared and unified between teams.
By leveraging chatbots, businesses only need to build one knowledge base which is shared by all of the support channels, ensuring that customers receive the same answers and messaging in one tone of voice, with the same service standard, and data is collected and stored in one interface each and every time.
In short, chatbots deliver a host of benefits to innovative businesses:
- Improve staff efficiency and productivity by automating the most commonly asked questions
- Support customers 24/7 and ensure everyone gets the support they need, even if staff can’t make it to work
- Resolve problems faster and smarter by shortening customer wait times and collecting conversational intelligence and insights
- Qualify leads automatically and in real-time without using forms or signup sheets
- Free-up staff time to provide more humanising and contextual experiences through live video, chat, and call to qualified leads
- Automatically collect useful and actionable data and insights
Best case practices for using chatbots
Chatbots are a great tool for ensuring business continuity and scaling customer support when used right, but chatbots are only as good as you make them. So here are some helpful tips to get started:
Address common customer frustrations
Chatbots should help with the 4 most common frustrations that customers have:
- Websites are hard to navigate (34% of people find this the most frustrating)
- Can’t find answers to simple questions (31%)
- Basic details about a business are hard to find (28%)
- Takes too long to get service (27%)
So when finding the right chatbot provider or setting up chatbots, make sure they can address the common frustrations by being user-friendly/interoperable with all pages of your site, can instantly provide simple answers to questions about your products and business.
Identify frequently asked questions to resolve with chatbots
Building on from the 4 points above, identify questions your customers are always asking or may ask about your business and should be able to resolve instantly.
For example, when a customer asks a common shipping question, a chatbot can understand the context and provide a direct answer, or an FAQ article link explaining your shipping policies.
Don’t hide behind chatbots! Make it clear to the customer they are talking to a chatbot, either with its name, icon, or even a disclaimer. If a customer is asking how they can talk to a human, the chatbot should easily be able to escalate the request to your support team.
Enable lead generation
Chatbots can help your business acquire customers more easily than live human agents because the latest chatbots use natural language processing to communicate.
Automating this initial engagement with customers allows chatbots to collect valuable data from the customer, to classify your enquiries so that the most interested people can be passed to human agents with context and contact information to follow up.
When setting up bots, make sure to look for a partner that can provide lead generation, and structure your questions, keywords, and knowledge base in a way that contributes to this strategy.
Add content for on-boarding new users
Sadly, no matter how many tutorials or articles you have, there will always be a sizeable number of customers that don’t know how to use something or where to find help. Chatbots are a great way to remind them where to go and provide them the way there.
Chatbots are not one size fits all
Lastly, a warm reminder — chatbots can be industry-specific! There are also different chatbot providers that may fit better with your strategy at any given time. A chatbot for onboarding new users to a tech product forte example, may not be the right fit for an e-commerce platform looking to reduce its shopping cart abandonment rates.
It’s best to shop around and find the one that best fits your unique strategy and industry.
Don’t forget the human touch
There is still a high emotional value for human touch in CX, so after qualifying leads with bots; support your VIP customers, potential leads, and other priority customers with outstanding human support. Use a unified communications platform like maaiiconnect to see the customer’s journey in a single view, important data and sentiment for context, and create engaging experiences such as through live video demos.
Set up omnichannel chatbots with maaiiconnect
maaiiconnect is the only cloud-based platform that brings digital and telecom communications together in a native unified platform to help businesses engage and build deeper connections with their customers.
You can connect with customers anywhere in the world on the most popular local channels, orchestrate personalised and contextual customer experiences, and evaluate how well you’re doing with rich insights and analysis.
maaiiconnect provides a unified platform for businesses to engage customers on all the leading channels — and by integrating chatbots, you can ensure consistent and delightful automated experiences on Live Chat, WhatsApp Business, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat.
With a rich range of enquiry management tools, intelligent routing, video calling, and multimedia experiences, agents can quickly pick up enquiries and convert leads to paying customers.
To find out more about how to connect chatbots to your maaiiconnect account, you can read more in our document centre.