Speaking to an actual human being is overrated.
Forget the days where you would have to call up the local takeaway to order food just to find the line busy, or end up speaking to someone on his or her first day that muddles up the order.
Now, processes just like this one can be done without any human interaction; you can even order your takeout pizza on Facebook – all thanks to chatbots.
Pizza Hut is one such restaurant that has tapped into the chatbot market to make the purchase process easier. Food orders can be taken through Facebook Messenger and Twitter as they are linked to the customer’s Pizza Hut account.
The bot can then suggest recent orders to the customer and even take payment over the messenger, targeting the applications that their customers are already using and hugely reducing the steps to purchase.
A study by Forrester titled ‘Chatbots are transforming marketing’ found 57% of companies globally already using chatbots or plan to do so.
So, could your business benefit from a bot?
What is a chatbot?
Put simply, a chatbot is a computer program that can have conversations with users.
Chatbots can be relatively simple programs based on rules, or they can use artificial intelligence (AI). AI is behind more advanced and recent chatbots, which can carry out a huge variety of tasks as this type of chatbot learns from every interaction it has with a user, and gets better at understanding both user intent and what they want. AI versions can have a much more realistic conversation with users.
Used in the correct way, they have the potential to save organisations time, money and even boost their reputation.
A study published by analysis firm Juniper Research claimed that chatbots currently account for business cost savings of £15 million ($20 million US dollars) globally
Increasing customer satisfaction
The accumulative developments in chatbot technology have lead to them having a significant role in increasing customer satisfaction ratings.
Facebook recently released data that suggested there was value for businesses that use bots. It showed that 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses monthly – demonstrating the size of the messaging market.
It also found that 56% of people would rather message than call a customer service line and that 53% of people are more likely to shop with businesses they can message – therefore, just having a chatbot service available is a positive start.
Chatbots can assist customers in answering simple queries quickly and efficiently. Whereas before customers could have waited 20-30 minutes to speak to someone over the telephone, they can now access a chatbot instantly and have small queries answered rapidly.
This alone significantly improves the customer’s perception of the business in question, as it saves them valuable time.
A study published by analysis firm Juniper Research claimed that chatbots currently account for business cost savings of £15 million ($20 million US dollars) globally. This could be for several reasons, including the below:
Reduced operational costs
This means a reduction in incoming calls, improving efficiency and reducing operational costs.
If queries are more complex and require human assistance, the chatbot works as a great data collector, meaning once a query is transferred, the agent has all the information of the request to hand. This results in a quicker resolution for customers, a lower cost-per-interaction for companies, and better use of agents’ paid time.
Research by McKinsey suggested that 29% of customer service positions in the US could be automated
Lower labour expenses
A report by training provider the Call Center School found that 65-70% of a call centre’s total operating costs is correlated to staffing.
Chatbots can replace a number of call centre positions, saving businesses an ample amount of revenue. In fact, research by McKinsey suggested that 29% of customer service positions in the US could be automated.
While a live chat agent can effectively chat with about three customers at once (and a phone representative can handle only one at a time), Chatbots can handle an unlimited amount of interactions simultaneously.
Out of hours support
Who wants to work late into the evening, or the early hours of the morning? The answer is likely no one, and encouraging staff to work unsociable hours usually means offering more than the hourly rate.
Thankfully, chatbots aren’t worried about missing out on sleep, not being able to attend social engagements or even money for that matter. They’re ideal for using during unsociable hours.
Here at SCC, we use our very own AI-powered virtual service assistant – TrinITy. Launched as part of SCC’s Service Desk offering, it has taken an impressive 15% of service desk calls, the equivalent of three people’s work. Plus, it is expected to take on 40% of all calls in the next 12 months – customer satisfaction is very high and is expected to continue flourishing.
Revolutionising the world we know
These first steps in chatbot technology are only the beginning.
Imagine the impact chatbots could have on the public sector; could one-day bots even replace the likes of GPs or take 999 calls and? The potential is certainly there.
Kat Cooke is Senior Content Writer at SCC. She was previously Senior Journalist at the Aesthetics journal, and has worked for Sky News, providing live coverage of the last two General Elections and the EU Referendum. Kat has a 2:1 degree in Journalism from City University London.