Believe it or not, you’re likely already familiar with chatbots. From ordering a Starbucks on your phone, to keeping up with your account transactions with Mastercard, we’re beginning to use chatbots in our everyday lives.
In simple terms, a chatbot is a system powered by pre-programmed responses or artificial intelligence that answer users’ questions without the need of a human operator – result!
Why are businesses moving towards the use of chatbots?
The relatively new Chatbot market is growing. It’s expected to grow from its already huge market value of more than $250 million to an eye-watering $1.34 billion by 2024.
The reasons for this predicted growth are pretty simple:
1. People take too long
A recent survey found that 69% of consumers prefer using chatbots for communicating with brands.
Reasons for this could be: approachability, convenience, getting detailed answers, or of course, just the simple unwillingness to speak to a human.
But the main benefit of chatbot over human is customers don’t have to wait for replies from an operator. A chatbot provides an instant answer.
2. Easy acquisition of customer information
Chatbots can gain customer information for marketing purposes.
Often, for a visitor to fully utilise a chatbot they need to provide some basic information, like their name, email address, etc. This information can be automatically stored in an internal database to allow for retargeting (all within the realms of GDPR compliancy, of course).
3. Provision of 24/7 customer service
Oracle recently reported that 50% of customers want a business to be accessible 24/7. Chatbots provide the economically-feasible means to achieve this.
4. Fewer shopping cart abandonments
Generally speaking, it’s not just the complexity of the check-out process that’s responsible for cart abandonments. There can often be reasons relating to unresolved queries too.
With chatbots, users can have their questions answered at any time. Any confusion or concern they have at checkout can be resolved, allowing for continued purchasing.
5. Easy research opportunities
Most customer surveys are delivered by email, to only be ignored by most recipients. Chatbots provide a method of collecting customer opinion/information data in a real-time, brief and engaging format that customers are happier to comply with.
There are multiple types of chatbots a business can adopt:
1. Rule-Based Chatbots
These are the most common and simple. They have the ability to hold basic conversations using “if/then” logic. A conversation will be mapped out using logical next steps and clear call-to-action buttons:
Would you like to sign up for our newsletter?
- Yes Please – I’d love to know more!
- No thanks, I don’t want to find out about the great deals on offer. ?
Is there anything else I can help you with?
- I need help at the checkout
- I want to know more about your product
- I have another Q
2. Social Media Chatbots
Facebook and Twitter chatbots work very similar to the above. They often feature more simplistic, interactive and visual call to actions.
3. AI Chatbots (Natural Language/Machine Learning)
These are more complex, and less reliant on CTAs. There are 2 types of AI chatbots: natural language and machine learning. The former relies on natural language processing (NLP). This is something machines struggle with as humans use pesky, ‘illogical’ ways of talking. Machine’s tend to use more structured, detailed manners of communication instead.
The latter is similar, but instead optimises its learning about the visitor, retains the information, and predicts a conversation’s next steps.
What does the future of chatbots look like?
Rule-based chatbots are currently the most widely used, as AI continues to develop. Being at the forefront of most technological advancement today, it’s likely we’re going to see an even further push for AI with chatbots.
With voice assistants already proving popular with consumers, there’s no-doubt this more personalised and efficient method of bot-to-human communication will be adopted for business’s chatbots in the very near future.
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