In the field of customer service, chatbots are becoming increasingly popular. Chatbots and customer experience go hand in hand. But what is a chatbot and how will it change your customers’ experience? Using chatbots not only improves your customer support but also increases your ROI and reduces churn. Let us take a closer look at chatbots and find out how they can transform the customer experience.
What is a chatbot in single words?
A chatbot (derived from “chat robot”) is a computer program that simulates a human conversation (via text). The chatbot uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language understanding (NLU) to understand and automatically answer customer questions. Companies use chatbots to simulate human conversations and engage with their customers through traditional customer service channels such as phones, email, website and social media. Chatbots permit companies to enhance their customer experience.
Why use a chatbot?
Chatbots can be used for a variety of purposes, but are mainly used in customer support. A chatbot is a computer program that simulates a human conversation to improve customer experience. Therefore, it can support or even replace human support and provide 24/7 service. In addition to talking to a human (e.g. a sales representative or a support agent), people can also interact with software that helps them find answers.
By typing, a chatbot can connect with a customer and influence the customer relationship by responding consistently and more quickly to queries. With the potential to provide instant responses 24/7, chatbots can also free up customer support teams to apply their expertise and emotional intelligence to more complex enquiries.
How do chatbots work?
One of the first examples of a chatbot appeared in the mid-1960s. Joseph Weizenbaum, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, developed a programme called Eliza. The aim was to simulate a psychotherapist. Using keywords and pattern matching, Eliza answered questions entered by the user with simple, open-ended, scripted responses.
A chatbot has two main different tasks: The analysis of the user’s request and the return of the answer.
A simple chatbot analyses a customer’s input and then searches its database for items related to specific words or sentences. In short, it works like a document search system based on keywords. In this case, the computer program behind the chatbot works according to a rigid set of predefined rules and is hardly able to recognise the natural way people write. A typical example is when you ask a question in a website chat and get an answer that makes no sense. This is because the chatbot program has recognised the keywords of your query, but not the context of your question.
Over the years, developers have developed more sophisticated techniques to enable chatbots to better understand users’ questions and provide more useful answers. Today’s chatbots still cannot answer all customer queries, but they can answer the most common questions or perform simple tasks.
How will chatbots change customer experience?
Chatbots can transform the customer experience because they help personalise the experience. Chatbots collect data about customers from their interactions and allow support staff to use this information to personalise their interactions with customers. AI chatbots can meet a range of specific needs in various sectors. A chatbot is able to act as a digital personal assistant and complement human skills rather than replace them.
The business implications of a chatbot are numerous:
- Cost reduction
- Improved customer experience
- Self-service in simple scenarios
- Faster delivery of relevant information
- Nonstop availability
According to recent studies, a growing number of companies across all industries are planning to use chatbots in the near future to improve the customer experience. Companies will be able to outsource manual tasks and make room for more strategic work and customer relations.
How can AI chatbots help your company provide good customer experience?
By reducing the time customers have to wait:
Chatbots can reduce the time customers spend in the queue. They get instant answers to frequently asked questions (order status, shop opening hours, etc.) – all in a single chat window. This means you do not have to wait for an email, a phone call or an answer via another channel.
Help case resolution:
Bots can answer simple customer questions instantly to make them happier. This means support staff have fewer cases to solve.
Efficient handling of redirects for customer queries:
Bots can instantly greet customers with a welcome message in a chat window. They can quickly direct your customers to the resources they need.
Referring leads to agents:
By taking over the initial support interactions with a customer or potential customer, chatbots help open conversations that can later be followed up by human agents. The bot can ask a series of relevant questions, philtres and capture an email address. This gives the sales or support agent a more qualified lead for future interactions.
As you have seen, chatbots can improve the customer experience in many ways. If you want to learn more about customer experience, do not hesitate to download our customer experience guide. Request more information about integrating chatbots for your customer support at email@example.com.