If you have ever tried to contact a company through their customer care number, you know how sluggish and infuriating the process can be. You will be probably taken through an automatic voice call response before you get to speak to a customer care person and by then your airtime will be kaput. This not only becomes a costly pain to the customer but it dents the image of the company.
But with the developments in technology, new solutions have emerged that have eased up the customer handling experience.
Welcome to the world of Chatbots, a computer program designed to have intelligent and meaningful conversations with humans over the internet. Powered by artificial intelligence, Chatbots have revolutionized the customer service experience because of their ability to deliver prompt and personalized customer responses that are able to meet customer expectations. These bots are built on existing messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or text messaging platforms.
Their usage has grown around the world with global chatbots market expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025 according to a report by Grand View Research. The increased interest in the use of chatbots is due to the fact that people are now favouring chat services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger over social media platforms resulting into companies exploring new ways to engage with users.
African businesses have also started embracing the use of chatbots to ease and improve their customers’ experience like Nigerian multinational financial institution United Bank for Africa (UBA) which recently released Leo, its Facebook-compatible chatbots. We also have other chatbots like Biashara Bots, a Kenyan developed that has also made forays into the market.
Chatbots provide an avenue for companies to engage with their customers through a medium they are already accustomed to.
Call centers are slowly becoming a thing of the past as customer service handling shifts to digital interactions. According to Chatbots magazine, businesses can reduce their customer service costs by up to 30% by using chatbots by speeding up response times, while answering up to 80% of routine questions.
Companies through their websites and social media pages can capitalize on chatbots to handle customer queries and requests. Chatbots can be programmed to open a message with something like, “Hello! How can I assist you?” A customer will respond to the set of simple questions presented there. Based on the rules set, chatbots will gather data and finally connect the customer to the right person automatically in real-time.
Chatbots also provides a personalized mode of sharing promotions and sales offers to customers. They can be used to engage customers by offering products and services by taking the customer through a sales funnel. Through a set of simple automated messages, the chatbots can take a customer through a journey that involves awareness of the products and services available to make the decision making.
Customers are able to choose what they are actually interested in and the process is escalated to a human being to complete the process or taken to an e-commerce site to complete their purchase. This engaging process produces a much higher ROI for the business.
Companies can also leverage on chatbots to automate financial transactions for customers. Institutions like banks can use chatbots to allow their customers to manage their money using their smartphone. Customers can check their account balance, payment history via simple text. Customers can also pay their bills through such bots and save a lot of time while meeting key deadlines in the process.
A human being can only work up to 8 hours and even then, there are often incapacities that rise by handling each type of customer. Chatbots, however, are able to perform its tasks it has been built to do 24/7 without human deficiencies.
However much Chatbots may not entirely replace humans, they have taken up a considerable amount of tasks, capable of helping businesses significantly cut on labour costs. In addition, they provide faster response times as opposed to Call-centers and BPOs.