Are you using chatbots yet? Find out how they can help even small businesses offer better customer service

Find out why chatbots are becoming increasingly popular – and four ways they can help you save money and improve your customer service.

Chatbots are increasingly being used by businesses, like H&M and American Express, to provide automated customer service.

Indeed, the number of chatbots docked to Facebook’s Messenger have expanded from 30,000 in 2016 to more than 100,000 today. Almost every large company has its own chatbot, and nearly 60% of young people use them daily.

It’s estimated that, by 2020, almost 80% of businesses will have their very own chatbot. So if you haven’t already started using them, here’s what you need to know about using chatbots for customer service.

Why chatbots are useful for customer service

Chatbots are a ground-breaking artificial intelligence tool for improving communication with customers via mobile messaging.

Brands use them to improve customer service in a fun, yet important way across any chat platform, including Slack, text, Facebook Messenger, and more.

Facebook Messenger chatbots are rapidly gaining popularity across many industries in customer service. This is because customers need fast responses to their inquiries, and chatbots offer an instant solution.

Bad customer interactions can cost your business both in reputation and financially. As Microsoft discovered, 47% of consumers will choose a different brand if they experience poor customer service.

So if you need to improve your image, customer loyalty, and increase sales, – then great customer service is fundamental. And chatbots are an easy way to achieve this.

Four ways chatbots can help you offer better customer service

Here are four ways chatbots can help you offer better customer service.

1) Customers like them

Think your customers would rather communicate with a human being? Apparently not. According to a survey, 44% of US consumers would choose chatbots over humans for customer communication.

To ensure that your customers have a positive experience with your chatbot, you need to ensure your chatbots:

  • Are aligned with your brand.
  • Provide great linguistics.
  • Are given well-defined tasks.
  • Provide appropriate answer to queries.
  • Are bug-free and professional.

2) They cut down on operational costs

Did you know that every year, around 265 billion customer support requests are made? Or that they costs organisations an eye-watering $1.3 trillion to support them?

You can reduce some of these costs by as much as 30% by using chatbots. Chatbots solve common, simply customer queries, leaving your human customer service agents to handle more complex inquiries and provide better service to customers who need to speak to them.

Chatbots can also handle high volumes of requests at once. So, not only do they mean that you need to spend less on your customer service operations, but the people who do need human help will have shorter wait times – enabling you to offer an overall improved customer experience.

3) Chatbots offer fast round-the-clock support

Whether you’ve got a team of support specialists responding to customers or you’re handling all requests yourself, you may think you’re coping just fine without chatbots. So why bother with them? .

The answer to that is simple: speed.

Yes, you may be responding to queries in under 24 hours and receiving great reviews online in return for your efforts. But nearly 69% of customers need quick answers to simple questions, and chatbots can speed your response time up even more by answering these for you.

Not only will that boost your company’s reputation even further, but 40% of decision-makers wait 60 minutes before trying to get in touch with you on another channel.

Using chatbots means that you can answer many of their questions immediately, whatever the time of day they ask them – improving their experience of your brand, and saving your business time and money by answering the same question from the same customer on multiple channels.

4) They make it easier to track customer satisfaction

41% of companies apparently struggle to compile and use customer satisfaction information – which means they’re missing out on a wealth of important insights.

Chatbots make it easier to track this information, and solve two major issues in customer research:

  1. Tapping into younger crowds – Surveys sent through Messenger are more likely to engage a younger audience than using traditional routes, such as email.
  2. Improving your response rate – Surveys sent through Messenger are more averse to cause respondent exhaustion. Between bots’ conversational nature and intuitive survey design, you can get more reliable and actionable data.

It’s also easy to prepare a follow-up message to conversations via chatbot, so you can track what customers thought it it. How many times have you been asked “How was your conversation?” after chatting online?

Four companies who are cleverly using chatbots

Many companies – from bootstrapping entrepreneurs to large, global corporations – are using chatbots today. Here are four examples of how they enable them to offer an enhanced level of customer service.

1) Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut’s chatbot makes conversational ordering easy for customers. Customers can re-order previous orders or order from popular items. The chatbot also links the customer’s Twitter account to Pizza Hut account, automatically identifies their location, and supports delivery or carryout from a nearby location.

2) Dominos

Domino’s ‘Dom’, meanwhile, is their newest employee. Customers can order from the full menu from Dom, all within Facebook Messenger. He can also re-order member’s previous orders, track their order and estimate the time of delivery. Customers’ Google accounts can be linked to a Domino’s account, making food orders possible from several different devices.

3) Lyft and Uber

Lyft and Uber offer ride-hailing through Messenger using an advanced chatbot. The chatbot enables riders to request rides from conversations and status updates.

4) Bank of America

Bank of America’s chatbot, erica, has been incredibly popular with customers. In just three months, one million customers used her for requests like searching for transactions from specific vendors. She can also tell customers all their credit and debit card transactions, and even add them up for them.

How will chatbots impact customer service in the future?

As you can see, chatbots are quickly growing beyond just messaging services. Today they’re not only able to perform natural language understanding, but can perform cognitive service functions such as:

  • Computer vision.
  • Language translation and recognition.
  • Speech to text.
  • Content moderation.
  • Text analytics.
  • Speaker recognition.

Gartner expects that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be powered by chatbots – meaning that it’s quite possible that you’ll have more conversations with chatbots than you do with your family and friends.

But will you know even the difference?

And what about embracing chatbots in your own business? How can you use chatbots to offer better customer service, and ensure your business stays relevant and ahead of your competition?

Nathan Mckinley is Business Development Manager at Cerdonis Technologies LLC, a mobile app development company in the USA with experienced mobile app developers in Chicago.

Photo by Nadine Shaabana