Talks rather than text? Live chat windows, automated helper pop-ups, and talks with Siri, Alexa or Google? Get to know the potential of chatbots.
If you are a millennial or Gen Z-er, there is a high chance chatbots play a significant role in your life. Depending on how closely you actively engage with the tech you use, you might not be aware of just how much you are using chatbots every day.
Have you ever used a search engine but used speech rather than text to look for something? How often do you find yourself on websites and notice a “live chat” window and automated helper pop up? How many times a day do you ask Siri, Alexa, or Google to help you discover something?
All these are examples of chatbots in action.
Chatbots generally follow the below sequence:
How simple does this appear? The process is nothing more than an input and output feedback loop that we use every time we think!
However, underneath this, a chatbot is conducting millions of calculations in fractions of a second to generate an answer.
Chatbots rely on a range of technologies to provide contextual and relevant outputs, including:
Furthermore, chatbots fall into one of two descriptions, which we explore below.
Also known as declarative chatbots, these programs are single purpose and designed explicitly to carry out a sole function. Task-orientated chatbots can still give conversational responses, but only around specific queries or questions, such as:
Task-orientated chatbots are typically not set up for machine learning, so they will not remember previous queries for the purpose of providing a more contextual answer next time.
Also known as conversational chatbots, these types of chatbots are what you commonly find in a virtual assistant. Predictive chatbots are much more sophisticated and interactive, using NLU functions to understand context and emotion. They also rely heavily on ML functions to continually improve their outputs and personalise what they offer to meet your needs.
While a predictive chatbot learns from inputs and subsequent requests, you can also teach and tell your chatbot specific functions to carry out to help them learn quicker.
If you use chatbots in your business, both you and your customers may stand to benefit.
Numerous studies have shown that using chatbots can have a dramatically positive impact on your conversion rates. If your target customers are millennials or Gen Z-ers, these are people who expect and are accustomed to quick responses. Not using chatbots to facilitate this could have an even more pronounced impact on your conversion rates.
Furthermore, a 2019 Adweek study found that 68% of consumers prefer communicating with businesses via messaging apps. Can your business afford to have a team of humans spending their day answering queries on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp?!
For example, let us say you use chatbots in a customer-facing context.
You win, your customers win, you deliver excellent service levels, cut your costs, and grow your revenues.
The beauty of chatbots is that you can deploy them in a variety of ways to deliver a consistent customer experience. For example, if you use chatbots on the telephone, via live chat or messaging apps, and for helpdesk emails, customers can go through the same process, whichever channel they use to contact you. As chatbots are in place, the resource you will use is limited. Therefore, the customer has the power to choose whichever communication platform they prefer.
If your data starts to show that more customers prefer a particular method or specific platforms deliver better results than others, you can dive down into your performance and understand what you need to optimise.
Most people have probably experienced a chatbot via a live chat function on a website. However, their use in a business context is not limited solely to direct customer queries.
Other ways businesses can harness the use of chatbots include:
If you are not using chatbots in your business, you are missing a huge opportunity to both enhance the customer experience as well as your bottom line. Furthermore, studies demonstrate that customers expect and even want to deal with a chatbot rather than a person where possible!
Implementing chatbots in your business does not have to be complicated. While they may represent a short-term culture shock, in the long-term you, your teams, and your business overall will reap the rewards.