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Why Are Chatbots Important?

April 10, 2019 at 9:26 AM

We’ve recently partnered with Atura to bring a world-class chatbot to the credit and collections industry – and we’re very excited!

Your business is likely already considering a chatbot, and if not: you’ve likely got it on your agenda for this year. We’ve written recently about some powerful statistics on chatbots that you need to know, but in this article, we’ll detail some of the benefits of chatbots and why they are so important for your business in 2019.

But before we get into the nice stuff, let’s start with the basics.

What exactly is a chatbot?

Wikipedia defines a chatbot as:

“a computer program or an artificial intelligence which conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods. Such programs are often designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, thereby passing the Turing test. Chatbots are typically used in dialogue systems for various practical purposes including customer service or information acquisition. Some chatbots use sophisticated natural language processing systems, but many simpler ones scan for keywords within the input, then pull a reply with the most matching keywords, or the most similar wording pattern, from a database.”

What are the main benefits of chatbots?

  • AI enabled chatbots are always learning and improving

With most technology investments, the value you get from them diminishes over time. But an AI chatbot will be learning and improving from every conversation it has. And because of point #7 in this list, that means it is learning from every support or sales conversation your business is engaged in. Even your most experienced call centre agent, can’t learn from conversations that happened between other agents: but your bot will be involved in all of them, and therefore it can only improve. Your AI driven bot will improve and become more useful over time, independent of human interference.

  • Always available customer support

Your chatbot doesn’t sleep or take sick leave or vacations: it’s available 24/7/365. Exactly when your customers expect you to be available.

According to a survey done by Drift, the most prevalent potential benefit of chatbots that consumers chose was the ability to get 24-hour service (64%), followed by getting instant responses to inquiries (55%), and getting answers to simple questions (55%).

  • Extensive & faster customer service

Chatbots allow your customers to get assistance in real-time and at the moment of need: almost like a salesperson in the store would help a customer on the floor. It’s quicker than having to phone in or lodge support request via a ticketing or email system and wait for a response: instead, they get the help they require immediately. You’d also only need one chatbot which can answer a multitude of queries: whereas a support agent might be specialised in only one area and would have to transfer a support call to another department.

Based on a study by Mindbrowser, the business units that will benefit the most from chatbots are customer service (95%), sales/marketing (55%), order processing (48%).

  • Proactive customer outreach

In a call centre, you’d focus your resources on conversations with customers based on a need: they made contact with you (inbound), or you are attempting to sell or collect (outbound). With a chatbot, you’re able to initiate a conversation with customers periodically, simply to check in or proactively solve issues they might be experiencing.

  • Platform agnostic

Having a chatbot which works across platforms, like on a mobile browser or a messaging app which your customers frequently use improves engagement simply by ease-of-use.

  • Drive outcomes

Depending on what your need is, your chatbot can generate leads, or drive your sales, originations or collections efforts.

47% of consumers are open to buying items through a chatbot, according to a recent survey by HubSpot.

  • Cost saving

According to IBM, chatbots can save companies up to 30% in customer support cost. Need we say more?

  • Scalability

A contact centre agent can handle one phone call or two to three conversations via a chat window at a time. With a chatbot, there’s no issue of waiting, as the chatbot can handle all the queries at the same time. This will allow your business and your contact centre support, sales or collections to scale without major infrastructure or resource expenses like additional call centres. Depending on your cloud-based infrastructure, your chatbot can simply scale in line with demand.

  • Keeping up with consumer expectations.

Implementing a chatbot ensures your company is keeping up with the expectations of your consumers – and this doesn’t just refer to the Millenials or Gen Z, but also Baby Boomers.

According to a survey by Drift, Baby Boomers (age 55+) were 24% more likely than Millenials (age 18-34) to expect benefits from chatbots in five of the nine categories surveyed.

Baby Boomers have deep pockets and are relatively new to online commerce: if you can cater to the Boomers who are online and willing to interact with bots, you have a previously untapped audience at the ready.

Why is it important for you to take note of chatbots?

Other than the above list of benefits it will bring your business; it’s useful to understand the chatbot landscape.

E.g. It’s important for you to take note of chatbots and start implementing them now seeing as research shows that by 2020, chatbots are expected to take over 85% of all customer service interactions. And did you know that by 2020, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse?

Providing an omnichannel, self-help experience should be a top priority for all businesses this year. Chatbots are the way to do that!

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