With large amounts of money spent on customer support, companies miss numerous benefits of virtual assistants.
In our article, we will cover the main functional aspects of chatbots, how they can impact the business success, and what ways bots are used in.
Chatbots are services enabled with specific rules and, in some cases, artificial intelligence (AI). Users can interact with a chatbot via its chat interface.
Companies create chatbots for various purposes ranging from “just for fun” to a few specific functions such as helping users make a purchase and aggregating requested information from the Internet.
Chatbots can be based on existing widely used messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, etc.
According to Statista, the worldwide chatbot market will reach the value of $994.5 million in 2024 compared to only $113 million as of 2015.
With the growing trend of using chatbots as a means of a part of the corporate marketing strategy, we will soon see new AI-enabled virtual assistants across various industries.
What do chatbots do?
Different companies use chatbots in various ways.
Food chains such as Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut are successfully using chatbots to accept orders and talk to customers.
For example, we at Jasoren developed virtual assistants for Engie, the largest energy provider in France. One of these assistants helps customers subscribe to a new energy contract when they move to another house or apartment with the further automated fulfillment of the subscription form.
The other one provides users with a capability to easily share their gas and electricity meter readings, instantly receive the information about a current tariff plan, etc.
Both bots are enabled with Natural Language Processing technology which allows them to understand human language.
The beauty brand Sephora’s chatbot offers customers personalized beauty tips and recommends products.
Uber’s customers can request rides without leaving Facebook Messenger.
Chatbot named HealthTap connects people with real doctors on Facebook.
The list is endless but regardless their application, they have common advantages for businesses. So, what do Facebook bots do and how can chatbots based on other platforms help businesses?
One chatbot can replace a call-center
In most call-centers, operators talk to clients following scripts and rules. Bots can do that, too. They can talk to customers, answer questions, find information on request, provide queue status updates, so and so forth.
The benefit of the chatbot customer support over a traditional call-center is that many customers (especially millennials) prefer messengers as a communication channel.
Give them an opportunity to talk to your customer service without leaving Facebook Messenger. They’ll definitely like it.
In messengers, your business can find millions of potential customers
Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are used by more than 1 billion people each on a regular basis.
WeChat has more than 700 million users, Viber — more than 600 million, Kik Messenger — 300 million, and so on.
For enterprises, it means that messengers give an access to huge customers’ base. Those are people who use messenger apps (this is true for FB Messenger) as a primary communication channel.
They do not want to leave their messenger app. They want to place orders, talk to your customer support, get order updates, etc. — all while staying in the messenger.
Bots can analyze huge amounts of data
The benefit of chatbots is that they can analyze massive amounts of data much faster and more efficiently than human staff.
Humans are smart, but when it comes to gathering and analyzing data, chatbots are more reliable.
Faster data analysis capabilities open new opportunities for businesses and marketing departments — the ones we could earlier only dream of.
With machine intellect, management of customers’ information becomes easier and takes less time.
For marketing departments, it means that customer retention, loyalty programs, checking data as well as many other routine operations take less time and can be conducted seamlessly.
Bots are better than humans because they are not human
Bots are not emotional, bots do not need sick leaves, bots can be online 24/7 (and so does your customers support), bots don’t’ forget stuff, and bots do not make human mistakes.
Chatbot will improve your customer support and your customer relationship management will come to a new level, your marketing department will get lots of new opportunities, and many of your business operations will be more efficient.
Messenger chatbots can provide a great customer experience
Many brands no matter how big or small they are have already been using chatbots. Hewlett-Packard created a bot that enables users to print documents directly from Facebook Messenger. Online fashion brand Fynd has introduced Fify, a fashion shopping botfriend.
For a mini hotel chain, we at Jasoren also developed DocsReply, a bot enabled with Natural Language Processing. This chatbot allows hotels to decrease their reception workload by providing their customers with immediate responses at any time.
With DocsReply, guests can immediately get a Wi-Fi password, the nearest restaurant address, learn how to get to a certain destination, etc.
PennyCat chatbot searches for pizza, taxi, and other discounts. FitCircle Bot is an expert providing recommendations about nutrition and weight loss.
Hyatt, a famous hotel chain, has a chatbot for customer support. Bank of America is building a chatbot which will provide customers with access to account information.
It seems that with the help of chatbots businesses can provide the level of customer experience which was not even imaginable before.
Why chatbots are so vital for your business
Any person who ever had experience of communicating with company representatives through their call center understands how slow and annoying this process can be.
Regardless of applying a range of useful practices in customer support, there’re still a lot of things to improve. During communication between the client and the company’s representative, the latter often browses necessary information in different customer relationship management (CRM) systems at the same time.
With various available messaging platforms, customers can have a better experience in solving their problem using a chatbot. This obviously leads to the growth of customer loyalty.
According to HubSpot, 55% of customers are willing to communicate with a company through messaging applications to get their problems solved.
Virtual assistants help businesses build a better reputation around their brands and allow them to provide faster and more qualified customer service by offering relevant products and engaging users via targeted advertising campaigns.
If a customer has an issue with a product, she can connect with a chatbot to explain the situation and the chatbot can input that information to provide a recommendation on how to fix the product.
Since chatbots can recommend products to customers which they are most likely to purchase, businesses can significantly increase their conversion rate and, as a result, get more financial profit.
According to a report published by Ubisend, a chatbot is the easiest way to get timely assistance from a company for 21% of consumers.
In addition, enterprises can use chatbots to connect their customers with opinion leaders and personalize their products.
Either way, from implementing chatbots, companies seem to have significant benefits, such as increasing customer engagement and revenue.
There’s nothing complicated in using virtual assistants for consumers, and many of them prefer chatbots over contacting a company via the phone. Texting feels less invasive and often can be faster compared to the phone conversation.
Virtual assistants also can save money for businesses by allowing company owners to cut on the number of their representatives.
Chatbots are easy to set up since they can be based on existing messaging apps that are already installed on billions of mobile device all over the world around the world. Thus, most of your target audience has been already plugged in.
Chatbots are an inherent part of the future customer experience. Soon, they are most likely to replace fully search line on websites and in apps.
Chatbot use cases
In far 2011, Gartner claimed that 85% of customer engagement would be maintained without human intervention. As we see, more and more companies create their chatbots to automate customer assistance.
In this paragraph, we will consider in details how various businesses use virtual assistants for improving their marketing strategy.
Solving technical problems
When consumers use specific software to optimize their expenses like Expensify, they may face the situation when they don’t have access to the desktop solution.
Such cases are sometimes accompanied by the urgent need for access to this solution or even company representative’s assistance. Thus, users can find themselves in the face-to-face situation with some huge trouble.
That’s why Expensify created a chatbot called Concierge to provide users with the efficient assistance in certain technical issues, such as a lost connection between the software and user’s credit card.
Once a chatbot completes a user request, it generates step-by-step explanations on how to eliminate the problem.
In addition, Concierge has access to real-time travel pricing and can provide users with timely information to enable them to purchase the most cost-effective tickets.
This virtual assistant is available through the Expensify’s website and mobile app. Moreover, it’s compatible with Slack.
In his interview with FastCompany, David Barrett, a CEO at Expensify, said that Concierge had helped users solve 75% of their banking problems.
Helping users make shopping decisions
Consumers often face the problem that it’s hard to choose a particular product when they don’t have specific requirements.
In addition, they would rather get immediate assistance instead of the long search through the website or app.
1800Flowers, a gift retailer, created a chatbot that helps users choose an item and place an order online.
The primary specialty of GWYN, the company’s chatbot, is in that it becomes “smarter” with the growing number of users it communicates with.
Through the use of the natural language interpretation, GWYN can ask follow-up questions to understand user sentiment better and offer a relevant product as possible.
The chatbot is built on a base of Watson, the IBM’s AI system.
According to CB Insights, GWYN attracted up to 70% of new customers as of June 2016.
Booking train tickets
To book a train ticket, users usually have to pass a long and annoying procedure of choosing a date, time, train, and seat. A couple of minutes seems a short period but, in our technology age, the speed matters.
Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger company, developed a chatbot that helps users book a train in a fast and easy manner.
Julie, a chatbot, replaced its telephone-based agent. With the help of natural language capabilities, it provides users with useful information concerning reservations, stations, routes, etc.
Since the implementation of Julie, the company has managed to increase the number of bookings by 25% and annually save $1 million for email communication.
Recruiters who publish vacancies on the specialized website typically have to filter tens or even hundreds of CVs per position.
To simplify and speed up the process of finding the right candidate, FirstJob, an online-based recruiting firm, created an AI-enabled chatbot that filters applicants’ candidatures by communicating with them and determining their skills and experience.
Mya, FirstJob’s chatbot, can talk to numerous candidates simultaneously through different communication channels, such as Facebook, email, Skype, and even SMS.
The virtual assistant provides candidates with the guidance and tips on how to get more chances to get hired, alerts applicants about position status, and ranks candidates by their qualification.
According to Forbes, Mya improved the recruiter efficiency by 38% and increased candidate engagement by 150%.
Businesses can benefit from chatbots in various ways: from entertaining customers with a “personalized” virtual assistant to answering frequently asked questions or even automating solving complicated technical problems.
Those companies who have already implemented chatbots in their communication with customers see significant improvements in their business.
Many organizations claim that they have managed to reduce their expenses on customer assistance, increase a conversion rate, and significantly increase the efficiency of their communication with consumers.
Thus, bots are obviously an effective marketing instrument that becomes a trend across numerous industries.