Chatbots: A New Way to Interact with Customers

As technology advances, both businesses and consumers must adapt. One of the latest technological advancements, chatbots, is quickly becoming the new way businesses interact with their customers.

What is a Chatbot?

A chatbot is a computer program that uses artificial intelligence to have a conversation via text or audio. Ultimately, the goal is for the machine to appear human while having a conversation with the user. People most often come across chatbots in customer service or in everyday home life. Some examples are an assistant for online shopping, Amazon Echo, Google Home, and the technology associated with Siri or Cortana for phones or desktops.

The Pros and Cons

As chatbots’ popularity grows, so do its benefits. Due to the machine’s use of artificial intelligence, a chatbot is able to take the data from current conversations and learn from it. Chatbots are always adapting based off of their interactions with real users. Further, their ability to search through thousands of files provides them with the tools to find the best recommendation for a customer. The capability of scanning significant amounts of data allows the interaction between chatbot and user to be brief and therefore speeds up the process of finding a solution for any questions a person has.

Not only is a chatbot beneficial to the customer, but it also has shown improvements for the business. writes that Allianz, a German financial services company, has had a customer service email volume decrease of 35% since the implementation of a chatbot. The utilization of a chatbot is not only saving the customers time but also the organization as they have a significant decrease in dissatisfied or confused consumers reaching out.

One of the biggest fears behind the potential growth in chatbot use is its replacement of humans. However, Merijn te Booij, chief marketing officer at Genesys, shares with Forbes that chatbots will support not replace jobs. The trick is to find a balance of both and chatbots are only there to help humans keep up with the demand at scale.

The downside, however, is that, like humans, they can make mistakes. Chatbots can also get confused by a request and because they’re not human, they cannot improvise. Further, they seem to have a poor retention rate according to Chatbots Magazine. Most can’t bring users past two messages, and 40% of users never make it past the first message. Like any technology, there is always an opportunity to improve.

Where They’re Headed

Even with increasing popularity, chatbots’ journey is just getting started. Many believe the machines are going to be widely used in customer service and soon a majority of companies will start incorporating chatbots into their business. A recent study by Oracle, a computer technology corporation, found that 8 of 10 companies are planning on adopting chatbots by 2020.

Will 2018 be the year for chatbots? Do you think it will redefine the way we manage customer service? Share your thoughts with us.

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