So what is a chatbot?
It’s a piece of artificial intelligence that we are able to programme to simulate real conversations with humans. It uses an extensive database to generate specific answers tailored to the most common questions people may have about your business.
If you look at how we communicate now – everything is chat based. This can mean using WhatsApp to talk with your friends as well as using services like Slack at work to communicate with your colleagues. We’ve reached a point where we’ve grown accustomed to using chat tools on a personal and professional level.
When’s the last time you contacted customer services?
Chances are you used a chatbot to receive that support. Artificial intelligence has developed on an incredible scale over the last few years and we’re now operating in a digital world where consumers often can’t tell whether they’ve been helped by a chatbot or an actual human.
Will people use chatbots?
The short answer is we already are. It’s estimated that globally, throughout 2017, over half of us will have used a chatbot for our customer support needs. Added to that, the international research and insights firm Gartner predicts that by 2020 around 85% of all customer service interactions will be powered by chatbots.
Why use a chatbot?
Adding a chatbot to your site not only means that a user can interact with your brand 24/7, as opposed to being restricted by office hours, but it also means that it frees up valuable time for your staff generating productivity in other areas.
So when you’ve got repetitive business processes that can utilise a machine to do the heavy lifting as it were, why would you not use a chatbot? A PWC AI study reported that 60% of us agree that a business utilising AI can reduce the time it takes to get answers without losing any of that ‘human touch’.
The chatbot effect
If adopting a chatbot helps improve customer engagement and satisfaction this will of course have a direct effect on increasing your customer retention rate. The sales forecasting tool creators Insight Squared tell us that even just reducing your business’ churn rate by 5% can lead to an increase in profits of up to 125%.
Looking forward every business is obviously targeted on streamlining costs where they can to drive profit margins. It’s estimated that in the next 4 years chatbots and AI will be responsible for cost savings of over £4bn.