Probably you have seen this graph quite many times, but we would like to include it here, once again.
It is a precise proof that the future of customer-facing business is closely connected with messaging applications and related functionality, particularly, chatbots.
Image credit: Business Insider
That’s true, these days most people prefer messaging apps to social networks. Moreover, they also prefer them to websites, mobile applications, and phone call centers.
The reason is straightforward – getting the service via a chat is easier, quicker and clearer. No downloading, no website search, no telephone calls, no waiting on the line. It is one of the prominent trends in the clients’ service sector.
In addition, in case you are searching for ways to boost your customer service, it is the thing you should consider mainly.
How can you use chatbots to improve your customer service?
We have analyzed the chatbot functionality from different aspects to show that customer service chatbots can be truly efficient and practicable.
Besides, their contribution to the overall improvement of customer service is undeniable.
Increased customer satisfaction
For our purposes, the term “customer satisfaction” is rather broad and has several aspects. All of them together define what customer satisfaction truly is and are able to propose the methods to improve customer service in your business by using chatbots.
Use of customer’s time
If you have ever phoned a call-center, then you might have noticed that you won’t be connected to an agent immediately.
You are forced to listen to the instructions for quick transfer. Then you may wait on hold for the next available agent and, finally, it may happen that you have chosen the incorrect department and you should be transferred again.
Ten minutes, on the average, are lost.
If you come in person, you may also have to wait if all agents are busy with other clients.
Most offline services have the same working hours as most of us, so we literally have to find time for a visit.
If talking about the clients’ time, chatbots, obviously, win some points over human assistants:
- With a chatbot, a customer does not have to wait for the next available assistant, because chatbots can serve several clients at the same time;
- Chatbots work 24/7, so they can be contacted at any time, not only during the official open hours;
- You get the service immediately without any complicated transfers;
- The level of service is the same as with human assistants, with more complicated matters still referred to operators who will provide more qualified consultation.
Chatbots use our time in a much more efficient manner, thus decreasing the frustration and creating positive experiences.
Since most of us have rather hectic schedules, any feature that can save us time for other things is immediately appreciated.
Moreover, such a sign of respect towards the customers’ time earns specific points for the enterprise, too.
Personalized customer experience
This is one of the primary benefits of service chatbots; the feature that makes them differ from websites and mobile applications.
If you are talking to a chatbot, it is focused on your exact needs, based on the replies to its questions.
When talking to a chatbot, you are obtaining the information or recommendations corresponding to your inquiries, rather than searching for dozens of available options.
For example, while booking a hotel room on a travel website, you need to set up half a dozen of filters such as the country, the city, the specific location, the number of guests, the dates, etc.
With a chatbot, you may only need to ask one question: “Can you find a room for two in Venice, Italy, for June 20-28?” That’s it. The chatbot will pull the necessary data from your inquiry and return with a selection of rooms already corresponding to your search criteria.
If you have ever used Booking.com to search and reserve hotels, compare your experience with the same one but achieved via the Booking.com chatbot:
As you can see, the chatbot correctly interpreted the entire text message and selected the matching rooms.
Better user engagement
A properly organized chatbot not only offers the information or services but also gently suggests other related topics that might be interesting for the user.
Thus, the client spends more time with the chatbot content and may continue with other purchases.
Of course, the official website also has the same information. However, in a chat, everything is in the same place, and the user does not have to search for anything.
As an example, a chatbot responding to an inquiry about a particular product may also show today’s offers or available package deals.
For example, the EatCleanBot, a Facebook-based chatbot providing various recommendations on healthy eating, suggests a line of other health-related bots maintained by the same company – a fitness chatbot, a meditation chatbot, a motivation chatbot, etc.
In fact, you can set up a whole suite of chatbots to address all aspects of your physical and mental health.
Uniform service level
Although chatbots are created to imitate human chats, they are immune to the deficiencies caused by the “human factor”.
Unlike their human counterparts, chatbots do not require lunch breaks or days off. Therefore, they guarantee 24/7 availability. This is mainly appreciated by users working non-traditional hours and makes the service available to all time zones.
Another thing that may be equally essential is that chatbots operate by strict algorithms. Thus, they always give correct answers.
While conversing with a chatbot, you can be sure that you will get the same answer to the same question, no matter how many times you ask. Unfortunately, with human operators, different interpretations of the same problem are quite possible.
Chatbots do not get tired or distracted, so they will never mix June with July or Tampa with Tampere.
Therefore, you will get precisely what you asked for unless the mistake is on your side.
Why is customer satisfaction important?
A recent survey analyzed the advantages users expected from a chatbot if a chatbot was available for the online services they used.
The results showed that “24-hour service”, “getting an instant response” and “answers to simple questions” were rated as the top benefits clients appreciated in a chatbot.
We can interpret these results by saying that the ultimate benefit customers expect from a chatbot is a convenience, as it is what makes them choose chatbots over mobile apps or call-centers.
Image credit: Drift
Naturally, if a chatbot can provide these fundamental advantages, it raises the overall clients’ happiness rate that, in turn, triggers the following essential patterns:
- A satisfied buyer is much more likely to end the purchase;
- A happy customer is much more likely to come back to the same brand;
- A pleased purchaser is very likely to share their positive experience bringing more clients to you.
This is the so-called viral marketing, where your customers do your advertising for you. This point has its flip side, too – a dissatisfied customer can create a lot of “bad publicity” for the brand sharing their negative experience.
Therefore, with a correctly configured bot which is also learning during chats with users, you may obtain higher conversion rates and, eventually, have more new clients.
Replacing human assistants with bots brings certain direct economic benefits, too.
If you implement a chatbot to take over the routine and repetitive everyday service tasks, you can have your qualified personnel transferred to other important positions.
A customer service chatbot can be set up to reply to the questions customers ask most frequently.
Airlines and travel agencies have already seen the advantages that the chatbots can bring and start implementing them more and more often.
Indeed, how often does an airline staff or a travel agent answer the following questions:
- How much is the ticket from here to there?
- Are there any rooms available in that hotel?
- How much baggage can I take with me?
- What if I need to change my dates?
An agent usually gets dozens of such questions per day. All it takes is looking up the price or availability in the booking system. Therefore, such simple tasks can be easily assigned to chatbots.
For instance, Expedia, a global travel booking platform, supports a Facebook Messenger chatbot that helps customers to plan their journeys.
The Expedia chatbot can consult you on flight itineraries and hotel availabilities, as well as help you manage an existing booking. You can set filters defining the travel class and the price range, and the bot returns with the matching offers.
Obviously, you could get the same data from a human operator, however, for the company the chatbot is much more efficient.
Indeed, it provides the same service as a human agent with much lower maintenance costs.
Besides, while the chatbot is busy answering simple requests, your personnel can deal with more difficult matters.
Also, a chatbot can serve multiple customers simultaneously, so the number of customers your business serves within a unit of time is drastically increased, too. At the same time, your costs remain at the level of creating and maintaining a chatbot.
Great analytic possibilities
Nowadays when you call any service number, you are very likely to hear the following announcement before you are connected: “This call may be recorded for quality or training purposes”.
Well, with chatbots you have much greater possibilities for training and improvement.
In a chatbot, everything is recorded by design. Afterwards, you can use the chatbot conversations for various analytics:
- Conversation flows. What are the trends if any? Do clients tend to ask the same types of questions?
- Message handling quality. Did your chatbot succeed to reply to the clients’ questions correctly or at all? Could it understand what the customers asked for?
- User retention. Do your clients ever return to your chatbot? How often do they come back?
- User conversion rate. How many conversations with a bot led to a purchase?
- Optimization possibilities. How can you modify the chatbot’s functionality to upgrade the customer experience?
Of course, there exist analytical tools that can be used to monitor and study your chatbots. Such tools are able to assist you to find any flaws in your bot’s chat structure and improve it to obtain better results.
For instance, the Chatbase platform provides a comprehensive analysis of your chatbot performance by diverse criteria and suggests ways for improvement.
Image credit: Chatbase
Should all customer-facing brands implement chatbots?
As early as in 2011, Gartner predicted that “by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human”.
Now, seven years later, it still seems very true, as the general acceptance of artificial intelligence, machine learning and, particularly, chatbots are increasing with every passing year.
Having experienced the convenience of chatbots, many clients begin to realize that bots, despite their current shortcomings, can still be much more efficient than human agents.
Many users even prefer conversing with a chatbot to other channels of communication with the brand.
For any enterprise, application of a chatbot as a technology capable of improving customer service brings quite a lot of benefits:
- Increased clients retention rate and engagement rate through improved customer experience
- 24/7/365 availability
- Better human resources structure
If you follow the news from the artificial intelligence sector, you will see that it evolves with lightning speed.
AI is very sophisticated and, what is even more important becomes competent in progressively complex functions. Artificial assistants are evolving equally fast, absorbing all technological innovations.
Nowadays, you have a possibility to create chatbots using augmented or virtual reality, facial recognition, integrations with payment systems.
There are already attempts to make chatbots speak different languages, as most of them speak only English so far. Just imagine how it can improve service quality!
Thus, if you are planning to implement chatbots in your customer service, then you are in the right way.
Chatbots can also be an additional channel to reach more clients, to retain and engage the existing customer base and generally improve the quality of your service.
Read more about chatbots: