In this day and age, it’s no longer surprising to see a chatbot pop up as soon as you alight on a homepage. And while conversing with a bot could feel slightly surreal only a few years ago, modern-day iterations manage to combine efficiency and entertainment value in a way that is making them increasingly valuable to customers and companies alike.
Chatbots are becoming commonplace as part of customer support teams, where their ability to handle routine queries and enable agents to focus on more complex cases makes them extremely useful. But you would be doing your company a disservice by limiting chatbots to routine support tasks. Bots are great at helping potential buyers find what they’re looking for, streamlining the purchasing process and ensuring seamless integration between your various communication channels.
Let’s take a look at how chatbots can transform your customer experience strategy:
While novelty value is one way of grabbing customers’ attention, a chatbot shouldn’t be just another gimmick. When done right, chatbots can form an integral and extremely valuable part of your marketing and customer experience strategy.
There are many reasons for this. From your customers’ point of view, they provide high-quality service with a short response time, accurate answers and certain degree of entertainment value. And if one thing is for sure, it’s that people love to text: according to Mark Zuckerberg himself, the future of communication will be grounded in private messaging. Not surprising when you take into account the fact that more than 2 billion people use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger on a daily basis.
However, the benefits of chatbots aren’t limited to the customer-facing side of CX. Increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence software enables behind-the-scenes teams to ground decision-making in accurate, up-to-date data collected from a variety of different sources. By collating information drawn from social media profiles, previous interactions with the company, web searches and more, chatbots allow brands to create the personalised customer journeys that customers have increasingly come to expect in this day and age.
And in 2020’s increasingly competitive consumer landscape, customer experience is one thing no company can afford to neglect.
There are several reasons why customer experience is becoming increasingly important. Notably, customers nowadays are bombarded with promotional messages across every possible platform, which in turn leads to a loss of impact for traditional forms of advertising - better known as “ad fatigue”. In order to attract and retain consumers’ attention, companies are having to get creative. Chatbots are one way to engage with customers without giving them the impression of constantly being marketed to.
Chatbots don’t just surpass traditional advertising in terms of engagement - recent research by Hubspot revealed that content delivered via Facebook Messenger had a higher open and click rate (80% and 13%) than email (33% and 2.1%).
One crucial aspect of a positive customer experience is speed: taking too much time to respond to a customer query could very likely cost you the sale. Research found that conversion is 21 times more likely with a response time of five minutes rather than 30. But while million-dollar companies with fully-fledged support teams won’t find that too much of a problem, it’s a different state of affairs for smaller companies and those who are just starting out. Chatbots are a cost-effective way to offer round-the-clock customer service and help support teams stay on top of queries.
While it’s tempting to jump straight in and get started with your chatbot, it’s important to ease into the transformation gradually and make sure that your new CX venture is grounded in a strategic approach. As we’ve seen above, chatbots are ideal for increasing client engagement, boosting sales and streamlining operations for your marketing and sales teams. Here are a few crucial steps before you get started.
Decide which areas of business your chatbot should focus on (sales, customer service, support, etc) and ensure that customer experience is an utmost priority - a badly programmed, unwieldy chatbot will ultimately do your brand image more damage than anything else.
What exactly will your chatbot help you to achieve? Take the time to ponder the different use cases of your chatbot and discuss them with the related teams in order to ensure impact at an organisational level. One you’ve clearly defined your aims, identify the relevant KPIs in order to ensure that you’re on the right track once your chatbot is operational.
While it’s tempting to automate as much as you can, many aspects of business operations still require a human touch. What’s more, customers are easily frustrated by the impression that they’re “talking to a robot”. Chatbots are great at providing a streamlined, efficient customer experience, at reducing wait times and processing payments - not so much (for the time being) at de-escalating tense situations.
Technology moves at the speed of light. In order to avoid dedicating time and money to a project that will feel dated or experience performance issues in a year or two, work closely with your team of developers to ensure that your chatbot is future-proof. As technology advances, single-view chatbots - i.e customer-facing assistants that connect to other business line-specific bots in order to provide relevant answers - promise to make chatbots an ever-more integral part of operations. Make sure that your infrastructure is scalable and able to move forwards, from both a technological and a CX perspective.
Thinking of your chatbot as just another way to improve your customer service would mean missing out on a myriad of potential applications. Integrating chatbots into your all-round customer experience strategy will enable you to reap a considerable number of benefits: automation of key processes and day-to-day tasks, valuable insights into customer behaviour, improved decision-making and, above all, satisfied customers.
Interested in how KeyReply can help you create high-quality customer experiences with chatbots? Get in touch now.