Chatbots: A Shiny New Toy, or Where You Should Focus Your Time and Budget?
by Holly Ripley, on 7 August, 2020
Chatbots have been on the rise since 2016 when Facebook introduced the world to its Messenger app chatbot and the business possibilities that came with it. Since then, the world has seen an explosion of chatbot iterations on websites, apps, social media to chatbot home devices like our good friend (the Amazon) Alexa.
But what can they offer your customer experience? Or are they just another shiny new toy for the team to play with? Well, worry no more because this stat-packed article is here to help you navigate through the noise.
If we break it down, there are three types of chatbots on the market today:
- Rules-Based Chatbots
The chatbot in its earlier stage of life, designed to follow a set of pre-determined rules by following a decision tree. The user is given a set of pre-determined questions, of which the chatbot will respond from a set of pre-determined answers.
- AI Chatbots
Or as we like to call them, the chatbot 2.0, new and improved, the future of chatbots (you get the idea - a cooler version). Due to their machine learning capabilities, AI chatbots get smarter with every conversation, they’re programed to automatically learn after an initial training period by a bot developer. These chatbots can create personalised recommendations and solve user queries based on the user's preferences and past purchases.
- Live chat
The chat, the program, just without the bot. Live chats are typically operated by sales teams and customer support organisations. It’s real people on the other end of the program typing the answer to your query in real-time.
The main benefits chatbots can bring to your business are:
24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Unlike a typical customer service team, chatbots don’t need sleep, weekends or holidays. As the digital world expands as do customer expectations. Customers are online all day, every day and frankly aren’t willing to wait until Monday morning for their query to be answered.
No staff limitations mean no waiting times. Research from InsideSales.com and the Harvard Business Review shows that a wait of just 5 minutes after a lead first reaches out, results in a 10X decrease in your odds of staying in touch with that lead. After 10 minutes, there’s a 400% decrease in your odds of engaging. To all the customer service teams out there – get typing.
Personalised user experience
This has become more possible with AI chatbots as their algorithms enable them to continue learning about the user through their interactions. According to a survey by OneSpot and Marketing Insider Group, 78% of the US internet users said that personalised and relevant content increases their purchase intent.
It should come as no surprise that getting your customer’s attention in this day and age is difficult. Newsletters can drown in a sea of emails and push notifications get lost in a void of apps. Chatbots can communicate with your audience at the point when they are most engaged and do so with easy-going conversation.
Gain customer insights
As we’ve already mentioned, chatbots can help you stand out from the noise. AI Chatbots can be programed in a way which will enable it to carry a casual conversation with the user, pair this with analytics data and algorithms and your chatbot could give you an insightful customer overview that you can use to drive your marketing strategy.
These are just some of the rewards businesses can reap from integrating intelligent chatbots into their customer journey - if done well. But it’s not always plain sailing.
Research conducted by Dimensional Research on behalf of eGain in June 2020 ranked chatbots last in customer satisfaction with 57% of consumers feeling frustrated with inconsistent answers across chatbot and human-assisted service, despite 80% of consumers increasing their use of digital customer service.
“Chatbots are great but only when they are easy, smart and connected.” Ashu Roy, eGain CEO.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.