It’s summertime, and as a businessman basks in the sun, an eloquent robot converses with its customers 24/7. Not quite a personal C-3PO, but it possesses its own charm.
The origins of customer service reportedly trace back to 1750 B.C., when a Babylonian merchant, in order to voice his dissatisfaction regarding the subpar quality and delayed delivery of copper ingots, inscribed his outrage on a clay tablet and sent it to the supplier.
Fast forward to today, the dynamics remain somewhat similar, although the means have certainly evolved. Probably, if the person had acted in August 2023, they would have opened WhatsApp and sent their complaints to someone lounging in the sun, receiving a response from a chatbot.
What is a chatbot?
The most “classic” chatbot is a tool that enables communication with users through automated responses, based on predefined and rigid flows. While the interface, closely resembling that of major instant messaging tools, makes the conversation familiar, it often happens that the user’s intention is to interact with a human assistant.
“We are transferring your request to an operator” allows for a sigh of relief.
But is this truly all that we can expect?
From chatbot to conversational chatbot
The most recent chatbots are better defined as conversational chatbots, or AI chatbots, which means they are software capable of simulating real conversations, leveraging the full potential offered by artificial intelligence.
And this is how interaction takes on a more human connotation, consequently enhancing the user experience. The Customer Experience Trends Reports are the ones that demonstrate the importance of establishing communication channels that give rise to valuable experiences for users.
AI Chatbots: A New Frontier
As the initial point of contact between a company and a user, chatbots play the role of welcoming and engaging. However, let’s delve deeper into their capabilities and explore their full potential.
Natural Language Comprehension
This function is what enables users to perceive the messages sent by the chatbot as if they were coming from a real person.
AI chatbots, in fact, utilize Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning to understand customer inquiries and progressively enhance their communication abilities. The responses are no longer predefined but contextual, and the texts are no longer predetermined but relevant.
By storing past interactions, they can enhance the customer experience even more by offering tailored solutions and suggestions based on individual preferences and needs. This is known to enhance customer engagement and loyalty, as greater personalization leads to a better engagement with the customer.
Omnichannel: multiple channels for a single objective
The domain of AI chatbots isn’t confined solely to web pages or apps; they also extend to platforms beyond their own digital environment. WhatsApp, Facebook, or Instagram are just a few examples. This way, customers obtain the answers they seek in shorter timeframes and, more importantly, through a medium they are familiar with.
Proactive customer service
Tracking user activities across various company channels enables the chatbot to offer proactive assistance and suggestions to customers. The potential applications of proactive messaging are numerous.
To provide you with some examples, AI chatbots can:
- Suggest new products and services tailored to the customer.
- Generate alerts about the availability of an anticipated product.
- Notify the user about a discount related to a product in their cart or wishlist.
- Inform the user about the upcoming due date of their next bill, providing a link to facilitate the payment process.
And when there’s “nothing more to be done”, AI chatbots recognize the appropriate moment to transition the conversation to a human operator.
Benefits and potential
Having reached this point, it’s needless to say that user engagement increases exponentially thanks to continuous interaction, observed throughout the purchasing process and across every channel.
Money, money, money
By integrating them into various processes, AI chatbots can support different types of businesses in sales phases.
“Conversational commerce chatbots” act as true purchasing assistants. They gather information and qualify leads, engage website visitors, offer additional information with captivating content such as videos or image carousels to complement existing content, and so forth.
By boosting conversions, abandoned carts are reduced, and cross-sell and upsell activities become more automated.
Conversational chatbots can be highly effective during marketing campaigns. In these scenarios, they not only answer questions related to ongoing promotions but also gather user data and information, subsequently transitioning the conversation directly to a human agent.
Operational Cost Reduction
Handling a high volume of requests by the chatbot enables human agents to allocate greater attention and attention to detail in the remaining interactions, as well as access information already collected.
The result of the equation is evident: greater efficiency in quicker timeframes.
Data Monitoring and Analysis
The use of chatbots enables companies to gather valuable data on customer interactions. These data points can be analyzed to identify trends, recurring issues, and improvement opportunities.
The ability to monitor and analyze data assists the company in making informed decisions and optimizing their customer service.
Lead Generation under the Sun
The evolution of chatbots represents a captivating chapter in the history of human-machine interaction. From simple chat tools to powerful artificial intelligence mechanisms, chatbots have demonstrated their significant role in shaping how we live, work, and engage with technology.
With a promising future on the horizon, it’s remarkable to consider how chatbots will continue to alter the communication experience between customers and brands: digital yet increasingly personable. Even more extraordinary is their greatest advantage – allowing someone to enjoy their vacation in perfect peace.