My last blog highlighted the importance of chatbots in digital customer experience and the various forces driving their adoption. This blog will focus on the most common chatbot use cases being pursued by leading companies. For most of the companies looking to tap into the power of emerging technologies, chatbots also happen to be the most recognizable form of AI. However, not all chatbots are expected to be intelligent ones, as most of them still use retrieval based deep-learning models created using legacy data, which keep improving with every conversation. Most of the chatbots currently out there deliver any or mix of these three services – ecommerce, customer service and content publishing.
Customer Service – Customers now expect to be heard across social media platforms, some use it as first touch point to avail services while others use it for escalating their requests, if not served well through traditional channels. Given the inherent immediacy associated with social media, they expect the response to be quick and efficient. In such scenarios, chatbot not only helps maintain one single defined and desired brand of communication but also gives room for manual intervention whenever needed. It thus frees customer service associates from serving basic queries and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), to focus on complex issues which could be far more critical for the company. At the end of the day, it helps companies to scale their customer services, while retaining the personal touch expected by the customers.
E-Commerce – E-commerce portals are known for the long tail or the exhaustive options they provide to the customers. However this very feature can be a turn off for many, especially for customers who might be looking for a particular product from a particular brand. For registered customers, chatbots help speed up the process through one simple, single line command to fetch the product, and it also speeds up the payment from the same window itself. On the other hand, it empowers companies to leverage earlier chats, for providing strong recommendations, and to notify customers about product availability or even price drops. Company websites with native chatbots can also use it to guide their potentials customers by providing them with highly relevant information – be it in form of web link of their own ecommerce portal or an aggregator or an offline partner.
Content Delivery – By far, media industry has seen the largest disruption in their business models because of digital. With most of the content consumed by customers often coming from their social media feeds, it has been getting increasingly difficult for companies to attract readers on their own portals. Newsletters are passé. Most of the leading media companies have started using third party chatbots to push content at timely intervals, based on customer interests to expose them to relevant content with minimum intrusion on their platform of choice. It’s a win-win situation for both, as even consumers are aware that the content offered to them is highly personalized and relevant.
It’s not WHY; it’s all about HOW?
In a hyper connected world, the customer expectations have undergone a sea change. Customers not only expect brands to be present across social networks, according to recent research, 50.6% of consumers expect businesses to respond to their queries 24x7. For most of the companies, this is really difficult and they end up providing very first response, hours after customer’s patience levels have been breached. Furthermore, 63.9% of consumers also believe that businesses should be available and contactable via messaging applications. Recently released report from Oracle states that 76% of the online retailers they surveyed have already implemented or are planning to use chatbots in their customer experience by 2020. So for companies to have a chatbot strategy in place, it’s more of a question of ‘how’ and when’ (not really, as the answer is NOW), rather than why.
If you are curious and would like to experience some of the best chatbots around, go through this list from VentureBeat for the Top 8 chatbots of 2016.