Thought Leadership

Chatbots And The Ever-Changing Consumer Experience

Chatbots are software programs that enable and stimulate a textual or voice-based conversation with a user through applications, websites or phone. Chatbots are famously known as one of the most technologically advanced forms of interaction between humans and machines. 


Chatbots were often only seen as robotic interaction and were dismissed due to the myth of lacking the human touch. However, natural language processing (NLP) has revolutionised chatbot technology and helped customers feel like they’re talking to an actual human.  


Why have chatbots generated interest? 


With the COVID-19 pandemic, customer needs for a seamless and swift online experience have doubled. In this age of e-convenience, buyer patience is minimal and is a vital factor that companies need to consider. Almost ⅔ of buyers expect a response within 10 minutes to any marketing, sales, or customer service inquiry. This frightening statistic highlights that companies critically need to use advanced technology to maintain consumer satisfaction. It is impractical, costly and nearly unachievable to adequately cater to impatient consumers without using technology. Customers have flocked to brands that provide quick assistance and consistency. The sudden saturation in e-commerce services have created intense competition and is driving brands to strengthen their customer experience strategies. 


Chatbot applications efficiently modernize interactions between people and services. They allow businesses to interact with individual consumers impeccably and provide companies with opportunities to increase and improve customer engagement levels. The rising use of chatbots has allowed consumers to feel quickly heard. 


(The shift is too sudden. You need to have one transition line: This is where Chatbots come into play)


Do chatbots provide substantial benefits to a company?


Chatbots have allowed companies to develop a strong USP and brand image associated with care and personalisation. Chatbots help businesses gain valuable insight into user experience (UX) by tracking and collecting data from chatbot conversations. Chatbots can also compile user demographics and allow businesses to easily compile leads. These leads can be sent to sales representatives who can then follow up with the consumers. These chatbots can also filter out serious and valuable consumers to minimise wastage in the organisation. 

Further, efficiency is also maximised as chatbots allow uniform and streamlined with an ability to cover a larger amount of customer concerns and questions across multiple devices worldwide. Chatbots facilitate this enhanced customer experience while creating a reduction in the hefty cost of customer service.  Some chatbots even allow payments via chats and search options. Sectors across the world, including government and education, have expanded their chatbot services to further improve user satisfaction. 


Do customers react positively to chatbots?  


Companies have started to utilize the prominent advantages that chatbots offer. 80% of routine customer queries have been resolved by relying on chatbots to answer basic consumer queries and provide useful information. These chatbots have also successfully pushed sales and accurately recommended products for the customer. 48% of consumers prefer connecting with a company through live chat than any other means of contact and 57% prefer chatbots because of their accelerated nature. The strong preference towards chats proves that chatbots are an important aspect of a consumer experience.  


According to a survey conducted by Helpshift, 94% of over 2,000 respondents dread contacting customer support.  Chatbots can also help customers manage and create appointments for further and elaborate queries. Chatbots not only enable customers to get answers to basic queries instantly, they are also excellent in classifying the queries they are unable to resolve and sending them to appropriate agents/departments for resolution. Their 24/7 availability feature allows maximum consumer convenience and reduce the dissatisfaction that is often received via manual customer service and their limited time frame. 


Moreover, if chatbots are integrated with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine-Learning (ML), the natural conversation is incorporated with personalisation. AI chatbots are flexible and actively learn more with each interaction. Real-time personalisation within the context of the conversation can also greatly improve CX. Bots can create continuity and refer to earlier conversations to guide users effectively. Conclusively, chatbots have proved to be the answer to unsatisfactory customer service and their numerous cost-saving benefits make it a perfect tool for every business in the age of e-commerce.