Customers want to be served immediately, 24/7. Those who have to join the queue with a relevant question quickly drop out. It still often happens, because every customer service department has its limits. Robotising customer contacts offers solace. The chatbot is past the experimental phase and is rapidly advancing. The technology is getting better and more accessible, AI applications will make the conversation with the virtual assistant more human and personal. With the use of a chatbot you optimize your customer contacts.
The chatbot seems to have passed the 'hypephase'. By 2020, more than half of all medium-sized and large companies worldwide will use it, predicted Gartner in 2018. The global research firm enjoys an excellent reputation in information technology, so they won't be far from it. Practice shows them right. The chatbot is already fully established on larger platforms; medium and even small, starting platforms / webshops will follow soon. "Chatbots are a perfect fit for millennials' work and expectations, make interaction faster and more efficient, reduce error rates and increase customer loyalty," say Gartner experts.
Consumers are still moderately enthusiastic about chatbot
Despite the qualities attributed to the chatbot, the experiences of the online consumer do not yet seem to write home about. According to the twelfth edition of the Ruigrok NetPanel, described in a previous blog, experiences with this automated form of conversational commerce are still largely experienced as disappointing and as 'impoverishment of the customer experience'. Most heard criticism: 'they rarely know the real answer to your question'. Millennials are an exception to this. They like fast and efficient and take teething problems and defects for granted. These are part of innovations.
It is no surprise that chatbots rarely know the real answer at the current stage. A chatbot is nothing more or less than advanced software that depends on programmed (predictable) questions and answers. Chatbots are not (yet) able to empathize with the questioner, so if things get complicated, a help desk employee will have to take over the conversation in the form of a live chat. Most chatbots currently deployed are largely script-based and to a lesser extent Machine Learning (AI) based. But that will change quickly in the coming years, and as chatbots get smarter, consumer acceptance naturally increases.
Live chatting is good for customer satisfaction
For answers to basic (service) questions and as a guide for procedures such as booking and reservation, requesting information and supporting the customer journey, the chatbot is already worth its weight in gold. Thanks to the option to chat live, your store is never 'closed' and you can respond accurately and semi-personally to individual customer needs and ask specific questions, using data on buying, searching and questioning behavior. That is good for customer satisfaction and the conversion rate.
While we often still use chatbots that understand us only to a limited extent and often express themselves in a wooden way, chatbot technology is quickly moving towards maturity. The larger tech companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft invest millions in AI-driven (self-learning) chatbox applications. This will eventually yield new, widely applicable tools that will add a new dimension to the unstoppable trend towards conversational commerce, in which the real-time digital conversation makes the difference. It is impossible to predict exactly what 'in the long run' means, but the smart, self-learning virtual assistant is definitely coming.
The ultimate chat box for a 'real' conversation
The ultimate virtual seller and advisor is the fully AI-driven, robotized service employee, with whom you have a 'conversation', which is indistinguishable from a conversation with a 'real person'. This self-learning bot is continuously fed with data from all conceivable sources and learns to empathize with the question and express it as a person from that unimaginably large flow of information. He / she continues to improve himself and ultimately knows exactly what the customer wants to know. This is not science fiction.
In the meantime, what do you do, pending the moment when the ultimate, self-learning chat box is mature, widely accessible and, above all, affordable? Real-time interaction is perceived as increasingly important, so a chatbot should not be missing, preferably in combination with the real service employee. It is also possible to integrate multiple chatbots in your customer environment, with specific functions, tailored to the various stages in the sales funnel. Beforehand, clearly visualize which goals your conversational commercial tool must meet and choose a suitable solution. A chatbot that adds no value at all has a high risk of failure. Determine how you connect all processes as well as possible and take future voice technology into account in advance.
Chatbot will take over the lion's share of your customer contacts
In any case, it is advisable to delve into the current and future possibilities of conversational commerce. Real-time chatting with an intelligent chatbot quickly becomes one of the most important forms of customer contact. The aforementioned research agency Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85% of all customer contacts will take place via chatbots or other smart conversational systems. Determine in advance what your strategic goals are, how you can ensure that your chatbot speaks the language of your company and how you can integrate the software optimally into your existing infrastructure, so that you take maximum advantage of customer information and the limitless possibilities that AI offers and even more. to offer.
Can you use help with that? Make an appointment. For a good conversation over a cup of coffee.