Chatbots don’t seem to have the best reputation, but is there a benefit to using them? Oracle polled 800 senior marketing and sales professionals and revealed that chatbots are set to surge. 80% of brands will be relying on chatbots for customer interactions by 2020, and 36% have already implemented such technology in their business practices. ¹
On episode one of our podcast, Everything eCommerce, we spoke to Jeremy Wilson of practicology about supercharging your eCommerce growth, and one of the things he mentioned was a negative experience he had with a chatbot. When using the chatbot for a bank and trying to solve a query, he found that it was unequipped to deal with basic questions. Jeremy went on to say that if it had been his personal bank and not the business bank, he would have terminated his time with them. This shows how crucial it is to get your chatbot working properly.
Reasons for the hate²
An independent survey among 3,000 UK and US customers revealed the main factors that made chatbots unappealing:
- 53% of those who responded found this software to be ineffective or only somewhat effective.
- 59% of respondents complained about the need to repeat information to an actual customer support agent after getting through the chatbot.
- “Getting stuck and not knowing what to do next” was another major irritation.
- 22% of the respondents said “they are not intelligent enough” when asked why they didn’t like chatbots.
So bearing that in mind – why are chatbots on the rise? The answer is clear: there’s tons of potential in this technology, so companies are trying to advance it in a way that meets people’s needs and make their customer support departments more effective at the same time.
So what are the major advantages?
- Chatbots are better for delivering quick answers in an emergency. If, for example, you have got a TV set and you have absolutely no idea how to install it because you lost the instructions, you’d definitely need to hold in line to get to a customer service agent. A chatbot, on the other hand, would immediately recognise your problem and deliver the instructions you need. No waiting, no hassle. Just direct answers, right away!
- When properly programmed, chatbots are good at resolving problems. You pick a category that covers your problem, and the chatbot will deliver relevant solutions. If you don’t find your answers there, the chatbot will connect you with a customer service agent. We understand that repetition is a big issue for customers, so, before chatting to them, they will go through the chat you had with the bot, so they will already have basic information to start the conversation with.
- A chatbot helps the customer get to the right customer service agent. Think of the TV set again – if it’s a technical issue, the bot will direct you towards an agent skilled to assist you with the technicalities. If you want to return the product, you’ll get connected with an agent in charge of such services. Instead of a human agent attending you and then directing you to the right department, a chatbot will make things much faster and more effective.
- Simple questions are great for chatbots. If you cannot find pricing information on a website, for example, you can simply type: “How much does this package cost?” You’ll get a straightforward answer, with no hassle at all!
- Millennials don’t mind using chatbots. Research on the current state of chatbots is pretty clear on that. 66% of Millennials see chatbots as a nice way to get 24-hour service. 45% of them expect chatbots to contribute towards a positive customer experience, and 33% are happy with the friendliness and approachability. The same report showed that Baby Boomers also had positive expectations from chatbots and demonstrates that this technology is gaining traction by the day. ³
Using our extensive experience and knowledge of managed chat using real people, we’ve been able to transfer this into improving our chatbot service. We know how to create a beneficial and helpful experience using bots, but we also know when it’s time to look at a hybrid solution and offer chat agents alongside bots.
Keyword recognition-based chatbots have the ability to spot relevant keywords in the question submitted by the user and through the use of Artificial Intelligence, customise an appropriate response by collecting information from the web. These chatbots can be an extremely powerful tool for websites to avoid losing leads and convert more viewers into customers by quickly providing an answer to visitors’ questions without the overhead of live chat agent staffing.
When managed chatbots are kept up to date, Artificial Intelligence behind keyword recognition-based chatbots can access to an unlimited pool of knowledge and data that can be used to answer user questions. Chatbots can eliminate the risk of leaving important content out of your site and FAQ pages and increase the likelihood of providing valuable information to your visitors’ requests and therefore, maximise the chance of purchase.
Your chatbot can be programmed to provide a call to action at different times during the conversation and therefore help shape the visitor’s decision to purchase. Chatbots can also be used to provide suggestions on similar products or services that can be bought, increasing the sales value.
Chatbots are certainly here to stay and keyword recognition-based ones take centre stage in the process, due to their smart responses and use of Artificial Intelligence. If you are looking for ways to bring more sales into your business and convert more leads into real, loyal customers, it may be worth considering implementing a chatbot to your website to establish a relationship with visitors and provide valuable information throughout the sales process.
Read more about our chatbot service here.
Read more about how our service can help you with basket abandonment here.
Watch the full podcast here.