Although chatbots have existed technically since 1960, they have gained prominence in recent years. Today, they are widely used by companies in different industries to facilitate the workload.
While some business chatbots are designed to answer basic questions, others are programmed to understand even complicated requests. So what are the different benefits of chatbots and why should you consider adopting them on the growth journey of your business? Check out this article!
Chatbot in practice
Chatbots are software applications that simulate real conversations between companies and their customers to understand what they want. Also known as conversational agents, they are present in desktop and web programs, mobile applications and SMS systems.
Although artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning were used to embody human behaviour long before that, chatbot fever increased in 2016. Back then, Facebook used its own Messenger app to demonstrate how chatbots are a powerful customer service tool, regardless of the channels they use to talk to organizations.
Years later, from online retail to government, many companies came into the game and incorporated bot technology into their websites. It’s very common to find chatbots in service-only placeholders —although they have incredible potential to do more. Different goals imply different types of chatbots.
For simplicity, a chatbot is based on three basic actions:
- understanding of human context and language;
- analysis of user requests;
- development of the best response.
Chatbot responses may be different. They can be generic text, a piece of information based on existing data, or even a question to point people in the right direction.
If a chatbot can’t properly understand what users say and identify what they want, it fails in its main task. We can say that a well-designed chatbot is focused on understanding and responding correctly as much as it’s ready to get smarter processing information patterns. Thanks to AI, these three basic chatbot actions are completely achievable.
Advantages of this technology
The recent global health crisis has placed the need to modernize communication with the client and improve internal processes. Consequently, companies have worked for digital transformation more than ever before. Interestingly, chatbots have been propelled to the forefront of these digitization efforts. The question is, are they really that good? What are the true benefits of chatbots in business?
Available 24 × 7
One of the best benefits of chatbots is their availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because they’re automated, they don’t take breaks.
Many companies offer 24/7 customer support throughout the year. However, this needs huge teams, with employees answering phone calls day after day. Yes, it’s nice to see how far a company can go to keep its customers happy.
But even with these enormous human resources at the organization’s disposal, customers still tend to wait. We bet you would have heard that song play when you called a customer service agent and expected a response from him.
The case of chatbots is totally different. Because they are automated to answer customer questions, they respond instantly and without tire.
This feature makes customers happy and happy. This also makes things much simpler when addressing international markets, because you no longer have to worry about hiring executives from clients who speak fluently from other countries.
Reduces operating cost
Implementing an advanced or fully functional chatbot is much cheaper and faster than hiring human resources for each task or building a cross-platform application.
A single person can handle only 1-2 people simultaneously and, if this exceeds, the process becomes difficult for an employee.
Hiring new executives (who can support customers throughout the year) and including other basic things for them can be very expensive for the company. It reduces the cost of the employee and, in addition, avoids human error. Chatbots will help companies save a lot of money and still be easily modifiable to meet multiple needs, depending on the application.
Offers personalized experience
Undeniably, “personalization” has always been one of the important needs of marketers. However, there was no scalable customization, especially in the “lead generation” funnel.
Chatbots are designed exclusively to give customers an interactive environment so they feel exactly how they would talk to anyone. So this means that chatbots can make the marketing process as personalized as one-to-one sales.
Therefore, chatbots collect information about visitors to your site and adapt according to your preferences.
Helps companies stay on trend
Messaging apps are becoming quite popular. Customers prefer to interact with brands through chat because it’s faster and easier to use. This provides an excellent opportunity for companies to reach many customers through chatbots while maintaining the trend of their customers.
Increases engagement and sales
If you really want to increase your sales, it’s crucial to keep your customers engaged. And for better engagement, companies implement chatbots for e-commerce, especially for social media marketing.
Facebook has one of the highest success rates to ask current customers to share their positive experiences. The flexible structure of chatbots makes them extremely easy to integrate with other platforms, increasing customer engagement in return.
A good example of this would be “online booking”. When a customer communicates with the chatbot and shows interest in booking, the bot immediately takes the customer to the booking page and closes the sale.
This makes the customer happy and satisfied because the service is fast and uncomplicated. Chatbots can also be programmed to sound natural and at the same time humorous, making them similar to humans. This makes the customer experience more enjoyable.
Monitors customer data and provides better insights
Chatbots are interactive tools. This makes them able to collect and evaluate a lot of data. They bring them together by communicating with different people, as humans do. Feedback or experiences shared by different customers can help improve your services, products, or make your site better for your visitors.
Let’s say, for example, if your online store or LP (Landing Page) has a good amount of organic traffic coming in but can’t convert, you can find out what’s really wrong with the help of chatbots.
A chatbot can tell you why customers are leaving your web page without making a purchase. It is also smart enough to track different patterns of behaviour. This can prominently influence your marketing decisions.
It can provide better insights into how things can be marketed differently to improve your business’s growth.
Automates repetitive tasks
Here’s the truth—no one likes to do the same task over and over again. In the case of humans, repetitive tasks are more prone to error. This is where chatbots play an important role.
Meets customer expectations
Chatbots are designed exclusively to bring brand values to a wide range of potential customers. They interact in a friendly way and build a good relationship with customers. Talking about customers, in particular, they look for simple business interactions. This requires practical answers to your questions or complaints.
Chatbots can understand problems clearly and provide possible solutions instantly. Here are some things chatbots can do to boost brands and help customers meet their requirements:
- Higher open rate: A chatbot can interact with customers proactively and provide instant answers. Because of this, chatbots tend to have higher opening rates when compared to emails;
- Increased engagement: A chatbot can easily send visual information about product offerings, new product launches, and other discounts to keep customers entertained. This, in turn, increases engagement;
- Personalized experience: To see growth, it is vital for a company to provide a personalized experience across multiple touchpoints. This can be achieved by designing a nice and fun Chatbot interface. This increases sales and ensures customers are satisfied.
Because a customer can get the information they need at any time, they won’t feel frustrated anymore. He will no longer have to wait for an executive’s response or wait until the support schedule is opened. These factors take full care of “customer retention” and help them get positive feedback by increasing brand value in return.
Voice chatbot market
Building a bot is a legitimately new addition to most of the company’s to-do lists today. As we’ve talked about here, from shopping to online business, these bots with artificial intelligence technology in companies have dramatically transformed commerce.
In addition, business today has diversified greatly. Most of them operate in more than one line of products and services and consequently have different customer segments to serve. That’s why these companies look for progressive resources to handle customer interactions with ease and experience.
No doubt you’ve heard of Siri, Alexa or Google Home. These three are the most popular virtual assistants on the market. Before we dive into the world of voice chatbots, you need to know what virtual assistants are.
In fact, if you think chatbots and virtual assistants are the same, it’s not exactly like that. For starters, both are applications in the field of AI. In addition, they are used for process automation in companies. Perhaps because they have these similarities, they generate some confusion and can be given as the same thing. However, there are differences.
On the one hand, chatbots: in general, are used by companies as information collection interfaces because they are seen as tools to improve customer service. Users have questions about a product, and the chatbot, through the know-how that has been instilled in it, responds automatically.
On the other hand, virtual assistants: Help you with daily tasks, usually through voice commands. You can ask them to schedule a meeting or even point notes to a work presentation. If you think about it, they are similar to human personal assistants. In addition to these small tasks, intelligent virtual assistants can access information from the cloud to answer your questions.
Now that you know the difference between chatbots and virtual assistants, it’s easier to understand what voice bots are.
What are voice Bots really?
If you take into account the already mentioned characteristics of chatbots and virtual assistants, it can be said that voice bots are a fusion of both. Voice bots have the voice of virtual assistants, but maintain the functions of a chatbot.
They are chatbots, like those used for customer service, but have the audio option. In other words, instead of writing, you can talk, just like you do with virtual assistants. In this way, interactions become even more dynamic and instantaneous.
It is necessary to take into account that, when writing, people are much more careful, and in speech are more carefree. All the peculiarities that you already had in your database, referring to language, now increase with the specificities found in speech.
Well, now that you know a lot about the technical aspects of chatbots and how they can contribute to your business in practice, let’s talk a little bit about numbers that reinforce why chatbots —especially voice bots—are more than just a trend.
For starters, nowadays, smartphones can compete a lot with computers, and this can be seen in traffic, which is increasing on mobile devices. In 2019, according to Quoracreative,80% of users already preferred to do mobile searches.
According to Markets and Markets, the size of the global conversational AI market is expected to grow from $4.2 billion in 2019 to $15.7 billion in 2024, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.2 per cent. According to IDC, by 2024, more than 50% of user interactions will be increased by natural language, augmented and virtual realities and computer vision. Artificial intelligence will be the new user interface and will redefine their experiences.
To top it off, users are already used to interactions like, “Ok Google, what’s in my calendar today?”. According to Forbes, more than 50% of all searches by 2021 will be by voice. This is understandable since technology aims to facilitate the customer experience with your business. Accenture’s research says that “digital consumers prefer messaging platforms that have voice and text interfaces.”
Alexa is Amazon’s cloud-based voice service that powers millions of devices from the global giant. Amazon allowed third-party developers to integrate Alexa into their products, making it a widely used platform.
It allows you to create natural voice experiences, thus providing a highly intuitive method of interacting with technology. Amazon offers many tools, APIs, and references, allowing developers to customize Alexa for their products.
In other words, Alexa has a feature-rich offering that enables the development of highly interactive chatbots. Chatbots developed with Alexa are mainly voice-based. They provide customers with a highly interactive user experience. Some of the most important features of Alexa are as follows.
Alexa allows you to create millions of cloud-based skills to perform various functions. You can provide games, information, services, entertainment experiences and more to engage your customers.
You can easily integrate Alexa into your devices or control them with your voice. The Alexa voice experience enables the combined user experience as well as intelligent device control. The wizard can also be used to manage Bluetooth-controlled devices.
Automatic voice recognition
Alexa is powered by ASR technology, which allows many applications to understand what speech is. They then convert the statement into appropriate commands and perform the necessary functions. This will allow it to complete tasks faster and without problems.
As the name suggests, Google Home is Google’s voice assistance service. Initially, it was only part of Android and Google devices. Let’s talk about some of the wizard’s features.
Voice profile recognition
The Google assistant can recognize different people based on their voice profiles. It allows it to adjust your voice responses accordingly. Any other system does not yet offer this feature.
Understanding the context
Google Home understands the meaning of a command’s background. It allows him to understand the intent of the question and thus offer an appropriate answer.
The Google assistant can handle multiple commands at the same time, allowing you to complete multiple tasks quickly with ease. It’s more of a feature that’s not available on any other device.
Although initially it was designed only for Android and Google devices. Google Assistant can now be easily integrated into devices from other manufacturers. It is easily compatible with smart devices, thus ensuring easy control of a smart home.
Voice bots are already part of our daily life. Interacting with some type of bot is now common for most, whether you’re using a voice assistant like Alexa or Google Home, or engaging with chatbots in customer support conversations. Just to exemplify, we’re going to three successful cases.
In an effort to make its digital services more communicative, MasterCard now offers a chatbot on Facebook Messenger. The MasterCard bot allows customers to access their accounts through one of the world’s leading messaging apps. MasterCard customers can use the bot to review their account balances, purchase history and spending habits, as well as make payments. The bot also provides updates to customers on the benefits of the cardholder and makes contextual offers.
Like the MasterCard bot, the American Express (AmEx) bot allows AmEx customers to access their accounts through Facebook Messenger. The AmEx bot offers customers real-time purchase notifications, reminders of cardholder benefits, and contextual recommendations. AmEx customers can even link a credit card to their Facebook account using the “Add a card” feature to allow in-app purchases.
Chatbots may be more prevalent in the customer service industry, but that hasn’t stopped the big media conglomerate Disney from using technology to engage younger audiences, as it did with a chatbot that featured a character from the 2016 family crime story, Zootopia.
The entertainment giant invited fans of the film to solve crimes with Lieutenant Judy Hopps, the film’s tenacious long-eared protagonist. Children can help Lieutenant Hopps investigate mysteries such as those in the film by interacting with the bot, which explores investigative paths based on user input. Users can make suggestions for Lieutenant Hopps’ investigations, to which the chatbot would respond.
In short, this is definitely one of the most innovative uses of chatbot technology, and we’ll probably see more in the coming years.
Companies are looking for a smart chatbot that understands customer intent, has a two-way semantic conversation, and provides fast customer service. A custom AI or NLP-based chatbot integrated into your business ecosystem will bring great results, delivering effective customer service. For this, a software development company can be an excellent ally.
A custom chatbot has a multitude of AI-based features that provide context-based or intent-based personalization or advice, improving the customer experience.
Chatbots have great potential to close the personalization gap on online channels such as website and email, where personalization is applied on a large scale: email lists are segmented into groups, sites can serve a gender-specific version of a user-relevant site.
What drives future chatbots?
A mixture of natural language processing and processing (NLP and NLU) is already found in AI chatbots. Natural language generation (NLG) allows bots to respond in a user-like tone of voice to build a relationship.
Features such as mood tracking and a better understanding of the customer will also help them provide enhanced service. Persistent bots will remember previous conversations and can compare them to guide user choices and options.
Chatbots offer many benefits to businesses, saving money and increasing sales and conversion rates. With the advances of AI, NLP and machine learning, they are set to become increasingly intelligent, leaving the future of chatbots very promising.
Chatbots are just one of the drivers of digital transformation in business.