No one can know the benefits of chatbots better than potential users of chatbots. So that’s where we started, the above list is based on Drift’s 2018 State of Chatbots Report. We added a few more points to categorize the benefits of chatbots clearly.
Benefits to Customers
- 24-hour availability: Waiting for the next available operator for minutes is not a solved problem yet, but chatbots are the closest candidates to ending this problem. Maintaining a 24/7 response system brings continuous communication between the seller and the customer. Of course, this benefit is proportional to how well the bots are. Bots that are unable to serve simple customer queries fail to add value even if they are 24/7 available. The main issue at this point is how well the chatbots can understand and solve customer problems. Finally, highlighting 24/7 availability can create backlash when bots are down due to security issues or maintenance.
- Instant answers: An operator can concentrate on one customer at a time and answer one question. However, a chatbot can answer thousands of questions at the same time. Thanks to the speed of the cloud, internet, and software mechanisms, responses can be provided instantly.
- Consistent answers: Talking to a customer service rep, a customer has no assurance that other reps are also providing similar, consistent responses. If a customer service rep is not helpful, a customer could be tempted to try calling again to see if the next rep is better.
- Recorded answers: Talking to a customer service rep, a customer gets no record of the conversation and most people would prefer not to record their conversations. However, a customer can take a screenshot whenever she likes, to remember the conversation, or to challenge an answer provided by the bot.
- Instant transactions: Actions like changing or querying records are almost instantaneous for bots which can significantly improve customer satisfaction.
- Endless patience: While customer reps and customers sometimes lose their patience, that’s something bots are yet incapable of. The impatience of the representative and the consumer during the solution of a problem is one of the human-related failures. The representative is expected to be more patient as much as possible so that the company can keep consumer satisfaction high. Chatbots can show the patience that no human can provide. At this point, a human-sourced consumer service problem can be resolved directly.
- Programmability: Since bots are on digital platforms where people spend the majority of their waking hours working, bots can be used to automate common tasks such as arranging meetings, providing advanced search functionality
Chatbots do not just have to be used for shopping. It will be a great convenience to hand over repetitive tasks such as arranging meetings, researching a topic to chatbots.
Benefits to Companies
- Cost savings: Companies’ need for growing the customer service department can be managed by rolling out increasingly capable bots handling more and more complex queries. The implementation of chatbots will create a certain amount of investment costs. However, this cost can be lower compared to consumer service salary, infrastructure, and education. Except for the implementation of investment costs, the extra costs of chatbots are quite low. These items can be topics such as ensuring chatbot security and improving it. But it is not optimistic to think that the costs will decrease considering the long term. Juniper Research claimed that the cost savings from using chatbots in the Banking Industry is estimated at $209 M in 2019 and it will reach $7.3 B globally by 2023.
- Increased customer interaction and sales: Bots provide another channel to reach out to your customers. Bots can be leveraged to increase customer engagement with timely tips and offers. Real-time customer communication of chatbots helps the customer find what he is looking for and also evaluates different suggestions. A case study indicates that Zurich Insurance UK recorded 765 customer interactions (which is recorded as a 20 percent increase) within 6 weeks with the chatbot Zara (Zurich Automated Response Agent).
- Reaching new customers: Bot platforms such as Kik or Facebook Messenger are one of the most popular apps. Being continuously active on these platforms helps companies reach new customers who may otherwise not want to reach out to the company with an email or call. In a survey by Telus International, it was stated that 38 percent of millennials give feedback once a week via social media. It was noted that the number of feedback has increased in the last 12 months. Given that Facebook has more than 300K chatbots, chatbots seem to be a way to reach new customers.
- Gaining a deeper understanding of customers: Your customers rarely talk to your business. Chatbots provide your business with detailed, actionable records of your customers’ greatest pain points, helping your company improve its products and services. The chance of selling is proportional to the data provided by the consumer and chatbots can improve the rate of customer data. Chatbots are optimal tools for organizations to learn customer expectations. In light of the data provided by the chatbot-customer interaction, customer-specific targets can be planned. Thanks to chatbots, the organization can be given feedback, and improvements can be planned by making some inferences from the data.
While the benefits of chatbots may seem clear, how your company should use chatbots is more complicated as it depends on the company’s line of business. We have a comprehensive list of chatbot use cases.