By inducting chatbots into their business operations, organizations can gain crucial customer insights to offer a stellar customer experience (CX), while delighting consumers with round-the-clock service and real-time customer response management.
Last year, at a time when several businesses were struggling to stay afloat, one of India’s leading real estate developers actually gained more customers. In a sector where face-to-face communication is so relevant to property sales, this developer found a way forward, simply by using a chatbot.
From customer interaction on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to providing information in real-time to customers without any waiting period, the chatbot is a customer’s delight. By collecting data and analyzing consumer preferences, it was able to provide more accurate responses, while also being able to showcase properties and even negotiate deals. The chatbot was thus able to successfully provide end-to-end customer service that was quick, efficient, and satisfactory, without any human intervention. Moreover, the consumer data generated helped lead generation to plan future strategies and increased site visits that adhered to social distancing norms. In fact, the real estate firm attributes approximately 12% of site visits to its chatbot.
With most consumers switching to online platforms to avoid physical interactions post-pandemic, businesses have also had to adapt accordingly, including the traditional brick-and-mortar ones. This has caused large scale adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), automation, analytics, cloud and much more. Chatbots, till recently, were considered expensive and ineffective in personalized consumer interaction. However, in this dynamic environment, they have found their way into all sectors, be it e-commerce, retail, real estate, banking, finance, telecom, hospitality, travel, government, and healthcare. In each of these sectors, chatbots have proven time and again their value adds and business efficacy.
What makes chatbots key to superior CX?
While we have earlier touched upon some of the advantages of using chatbots in the business arena, it must be noted that they are flexible enough to be implemented across multiple platforms, across various customer touchpoints, and have their services unified under a single bot management system.
One of the intrinsic characteristics of chatbots that make them the key to superior CX is their 24/7 availability. The ability to respond to customers in real-time, eliminating long wait times that a call centre call might usually entail is the differentiator. In fact, according to industry research, chatbots enable 64% of agents to spend most of their time resolving more complicated problems, compared to 50% of agents who did not have the chatbot option.
Since they can be adapted easily across platforms like live chat, SMS or social media and customized across sectors, customers who prefer to chat rather than call also find chatbots easier to interact with. For instance, when customers are struggling with site navigation, first level/common queries and FAQs, product information or service requests, smartbots can decipher data to provide more accurate customer experiences. Additionally, data based on past buying patterns can assist customers with valuable personalized recommendations.
Through the automation of business processes, chatbots can handle routine tasks and streamline internal workflows. Chatbots can even enable customer experience to become a sales tool, by automating payments, pre-empting sales, and providing lead generation for marketing campaigns. Moreover, they can also play the role of a call-to-action agent, for example informing customers that they need to renew a Mediclaim policy.
In all these use cases, chatbots have proven cost-effectiveness, offering a huge return on investment to any company that uses them. Research shows that companies are expected to save some 2.5 billion customer service hours by the end of 2023 through the use of chatbots. This reduction will span across the retail, banking, and healthcare sectors, amounting to $11 billion annually. Chatbots are thus very much in line with the move towards an omnichannel customer experience going forward, offering a seamless online-offline connect.
Chatbots as the future of customer satisfaction
Overpromising and underdelivering is the bane of customer support, and it has created a massive gap between customer expectations and what support teams can actually deliver. However, smartbots can manage customer expectations across multiple spectrums with the use of AI and automation.
Imagine a scenario wherein a bot interacts with a smart home to control every sensor associated with temperature, lighting, locking, and unlocking of doors, managing visitors, ordering groceries and much more. This IoT smart home management system can be managed by remote operation or by human voice commands in real-time, which the bot can understand using natural language processing (NLP). This is a live example of ML and AI working together to provide a marvelous technological customer experience.
Thus, chatbots offer the promise of personalized service by listening, analyzing and compiling customer data through AI to bring brands and customers closer. The automation of tasks by chatbots also means that businesses can re-prioritize their focus on areas that require a human touch. This is truly the symbiotic human-machine relationship that is the future of superior CX.
The article is authored by Shubhi Agarwal, COO, Locobuzz