Chatbots are nothing new, having first been introduced in the 1960’s in the form of a computer programme called ELIZA. This programme laid the framework for what chatbots would become, a computerised conversational tool.
Today chatbots have become much more common in everyday usage and for many businesses it’s become an essential part of their customer service department to deliver an enhanced customer experience for its customers. In fact, a report by juniper research shows that chatbots will be involved in 85% of all types of business-customers interaction.
What is a chatbot
A chatbot or also known as conversational agents are applications that replicate written or spoken human speech for the purposes of creating an interaction with a real person.
Chatbots can be though text or voice and can be deployed on your websites, applications and messaging like SMS, RCS, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat and more.
Why should businesses think about Chatbots?
- Invest to Enhance Customer Experience
Today’s customer requires quick and timely responses to their inquiries and a delayed response can often be the basis for a negative review or cancelled service. A report from Forrester Research found that 63% of customers will leave a company after just one poor experience, and almost two-thirds will no longer wait more than 2 minutes for assistance. By integrating a chatbot this can provide the immediate and time sensitive responses consumers expect from brands. This is reflected in research by Chatbot Magazine that shows 69% of consumers prefer chatbots because of their ability to provide quick replies to simple questions.
Customer and user experience experts have realised that an omnichannel experience is essential in meeting the needs of today’s consumers. Smartphone users have access to a variety of channels including SMS, RCS, Facebook, WhatsApp and more. As brand websites and social media apps are always in operation this means that customer engagement is a constant. In a digital era, businesses no longer operate on a set time. This is where chatbots become essential to support this engagement. Once implemented they always allow each channel to effectively provide customer support.
- Automation Enables Operational Efficiency
According to a report by IBM, chatbots could handle 80% of routine customer questions. Customer service is an essential but costly function for businesses which is why having an automated tool like a text chatbot is vital, as it can provide customer service 24/7. The other reality is customer service reps can’t always be available.
By implementing an automated chatbot, this can enable businesses to easily answer customer service enquiries or issues swiftly and to reduce incoming call volumes and human interaction. In fact, it’s reported by IBM that integration of chatbots can lead to a 30% decrease in operational costs.
- The rise of conversational messaging
Conversational messaging is transforming the messaging landscape as it speaks to the desire for customers to receive more personalised, relevant and engaging messaging. By integrating chatbots businesses are able to have automated assistants that can support customers with their unique requests and interests. We see this within the increasing popularity of NLP (natural language processor). NLP chatbots utilise AI technology to be more natural and pick up on the context of a customer request to be in effect more “human”.
Furthermore, many businesses today are looking to new solutions like RCS (Rich Communication Services), the much anticipated upgrade to SMS. RCS enables conversational messaging with the chat capabilities so that they can respond to a customer’s request all within the same messaging thread on the native RCS app. Features like the carousels and ‘suggested responses’ act as automated actions that make the user experience more streamlined and enhances the B2C messaging experience to reflect the way customers expect to message today.
Chatbots have been here for a long time and will continue to be an essential part of any business. Historically customers may not have liked automated and artificial customer service but the convenience and rapid service they provide has enhanced the customer experience and more importantly allows businesses to keep up with the requirements of operating within an ever-evolving digital era. Chatbots over messaging apps like SMS and RCS should not be ignored as a recent study conducted by mGage revealed that 97% of consumers use some form of messaging. It’s a widely used channel by consumers therefore the reach is remarkable.
To learn more about how you can utilise chatbots within your messaging get in-touch with mGage today!