The future of chatbots

De toekomst van chatbots

What do you think of when you hear the word “chatbot”? If you’re like most people, you probably think of clunky AI programs from the early days of the internet. But chatbots are evolving fast, and they could become an important part of your business in the near future. But what are they, and what can they (and can’t they) do for your business?

How far have chatbots come, and where are they going? 

Chatbots, at their most rudimentary level, are interactive platforms that use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to interact with customers through messages and text conversations. They answer straightforward questions, help customers as they navigate around websites and help with ‘troubleshooting’ technical issues.

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Old-style chatbots, though giving the illusion of intelligence, often caused frustrating problems. They were fairly limited in their ability to successfully employ the complexities and subtleties of human conversation.

However, the ‘Chatbots of the Future’ are significantly different! Today’s third generation or GPT-3 (Generative Pre-Trained Transformer) chatbots all use conversational AI. This draws on deep learning neural networks that encompass literally billions of machine learning parameters to make customers think they’re speaking to another human being.

Benefits of chatbots for businesses 

With today’s digital customers demanding self-service, convenience, and 24/7 real-time resolution of any issues, the benefits of chatbots for businesses are hugely significant. Here are some compelling reasons why we are sure the future of self-service lies with chatbots:

Chatbots can save you money

Employing chatbots not only improves the interactive experience for many of your customers, but it can also take a great deal of pressure off your live agents. With chatbots dealing with many of the routine queries, it frees up your smaller team of live agents to deal with the more complex customer inquiries and issues.

Chatbots are available in real time 24/7

In the digital age, the concept of ‘business hours’ has become slightly nonsensical.  Online customers want to transact their business dealings whenever it is convenient for them. As many as 81% of consumers indicated that they wanted more self-service options for this very reason. And fortunately, since chatbots never have to sleep, this isn’t a problem for them! They can attend to customers’ queries whenever, wherever, regardless of the country, language, or time zone.

Chatbots aren’t device or channel bound

A crucial element of delivering excellent CX is ensuring consistency across all devices so that your customers are able to access and engage with your brand via the channel of their choice. Since chatbot technology is cloud-based, it can integrate seamlessly across all platforms whether it be pop-out chats on websites, branded apps, desktops, or smartphones.

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This same cloud-based technology also makes it a doddle to update your bots regarding new products, services, or FAQs. Chatbots also ‘live’ equally well on social media which has already become a premium medium for online business and vital customer support.

Chatbots are ‘multilingual’

With the stunning advances in NLP, (natural language processing), AI and real-time translation, chatbots can ‘speak’ as many different languages as you need them to. Offering your customers conversational AI in their own language is guaranteed to elevate and improve their CX and happiness.

Chatbot-enabled self-service cuts across demographics

COVID-19 did a lot to improve digital literacy overall, but even before that the demand for self-service was rising. Facilitating this important function by employing sophisticated AI-enabled chatbots ensures you’ll reach all your customers right through from the Baby Boomers to Gen Z.

Chatbots will drive your CES (Customer Effort Score) effectively

The CES metric is an important marker in the effectiveness of your CX. With Salesforce reporting that 83% of online customers nowadays expect to interact with someone immediately on contacting a brand, chatbots are vital in making that happen easily and seamlessly. They can answer simple customer queries immediately, and speedily transfer more complex issues to a live agent.

Answer your customers faster and personalise responses

As chatbots use popular searches and phrases in generating answers to customers’ queries, conversational AI expands its data bank of keywords and phrases all the time. This enables the chatbot to come up with faster answers and responses as it ‘learns’. They also can also personalise their responses to that specific customer.

Enhance customer satisfaction

Conversational AI-driven chatbots learn all the time and get better at their job all the time! As their customer-related data bank grows with each customer interaction, they become smarter and better at what they do all the time, thus ensuring greater customer satisfaction.

What chatbots can’t do 

This brings us to a crucial final point – chatbots can’t replace your valuable CS team! Experienced customer service agents will always be needed for more complex decisions and out-the-box thinking that require creativity, or deeper insight into how your business runs.

Chatbots, however smart, are there to deal with more mundane run-of-the-mill queries. Your live agents are freed up to deal with more complex customer queries in a personalised manner. And remember, your customers should always be given the option to talk to a human being if they want to!

If you need help with modernising or expanding your customer service offering, we can help. Our experienced professionals can help you find the CS channels that are best for your brand, audience, and budget. Get in touch.