Chatbots have already left a mark for the way they have upturned our perceptions on mobile technology. In fact, chatbots are instant messaging apps that allow interaction with third-party services from within the messaging interface.
They are one of the many platforms of conversational technology which also include smart speakers and wearables to name a few. Conversational technology has the strong potential to transform sectors like ecommerce, banking, healthcare, etc. This wonder technology has created such a furore that most companies look forward to incorporate it by the year, 2020.
The difference between regular apps and chatbots is the UI. While the regular ones have a visual interface, bots have a chat interface. Some of them are already integrated into apps but some others make use of existing messaging platforms like Facebook.
Technically, with the help of a Natural Language Processing (NLP) engine, one can type questions, which are then processed. By using term frequency-inverse document frequency (tf–idf), information is retrieved, and once stop-words are eliminated, user input is taken based on the remaining words. These are then compared with the keywords in the database and the user is provided with the most suitable one, on the basis of a pattern-matching score algorithm.
Now that we know the whats and hows, let us look at how chatbots are capable of changing the future.
1. Interactive User Experience
As humans we love to talk, and we articulate our best through it. With the introduction of chatbots in business, customers get to have a personalized online experience. This interactive feature attracts more customers as they do not feel they are sitting before a manipulative, idle computer, but are working with someone to help resolve their issue.
For example, what would you do if you wanted to buy a pair of jeans today? Probably look up a mobile shopping app and tediously scroll through their myriad options. But with chatbots, all you need to do is type in your expected color, size, brand, and such relevant details and you’re given images and prices from your favorite store.
2. No Downloads Needed
We’re all too familiar with frequent system crashes and crammed mobile screens. Blame it on the many apps doing their rounds! With thousands of new apps crowding the market each day it gets harder to get users to download another product or even keep them from uninstalling the downloaded ones.
Here’s where chatbots enter as life-savers. Since bots live in a browser or messenger, users can easily access products and services without going through the tiring process of downloading an app.
3. Cost Effective with Optimal Results
From both business’ and customers’ point of view, chatbots are highly cost effective alternatives to manpower. A recent study by Juniper Research, predicts that chatbots will save over $8 billion per annum by 2022. By replacing a few employees at workplace, bots help cut off employees’ expenses and pay. They also help improve customer satisfaction as the transactions become simple.
Bots make appointments quicker for customers, thus contributing to increased sales. Another benefit companies reap through employing bots is that they do not require high investment, even if they are high-end, quality chatbots. As such, they escape the cost of maintaining a large team of employees.
4. 24×7 Presence
Businesses that have customers all over the globe find it difficult to provide day and night support. With the incorporation of bots, however, this becomes possible and they are considered a good replacement to live support.
Their continuous availability makes it easier for clients to make queries any time of the day and as such saves them a lot of time. Some businesses make use of dashboards to monitor metrics about customer interactions.
5. Helps Business Grow
Since they are automated solutions, chatbots make handling multiple customers possible. On the other hand, human agents find it next to impossible to handle more than 2 or 3 customers at the same time as they might have to handle multiple chat windows simultaneously.
However, by employing chatbots to complement human effort, businesses can grow their operations to newer markets without having to bother about the large incoming volume of requests.
6. Helps Customer Find the Right Product or Service
Most of the time customers shopping online require help deciding what product to choose that goes with both their expectation as well as constraints. This might happen if it is their first purchase, or if they are looking for something expensive or newly launched.
For example, you want to buy the latest and the most advanced Android phone but have never used one. Going to a mobile store might overwhelm you since they have a wide array of phones that might be along the lines of your requirement. This could make your decision even more confusing. But come chatbots, their in-depth assistance help customers figure out exactly what they want.
7. Simplifies Complex Products for Customers
For some customers, certain products and services could be complex to understand, especially for the first-timers. But with the help of bots, jargons can be broken down to help potential customers understand the benefits of products and services in a conversational manner such that their exact requirements or restrictions can be understood.
Another way in which bots simplify life for customers is by replacing small print user manuals with an interactive interface, making their onboarding process easier.
8. Engages the Customer
Customers prefer businesses that are ready to respond to their queries any time. It helps them choose their desired product easily. Since chatbots do not sleep, obviously, it makes it possible for businesses to respond to customers the minute they are needed – processing orders and prioritizing questions as and when required. As such, chatbots engage customers, pulling them further towards the product.
9. Workplace Efficiency
Being automated programs, bots help organizations cut down mundane, repetitive tasks off employees’ shoulders. This in turn helps them focus on more innovative, important tasks thus improving work efficiency.
Chatbots are a boon to all the major businesses- be it retail, healthcare, banking or even small scale ventures. Not only are they economically feasible, but also they save everyone involved a lot of time and effort. While they may not entirely replace mobile applications, they do offer its users a very engaging and interactive experience.