- What exactly are chatbots?
- How many types of chatbots are there?
- What is the purpose of using chatbots?
- How “smart” are they?
- And of course, is it worth investing in chatbots for your business?
Although we think that the digital world is full of smart assistants (such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa) to facilitate our lives, there is a limit to what today's chatbots can do. But chatbots aren’t going anywhere, and as long as they continue developing, it is clear that they will make our lives as traders easier.
In our three-week-long article series, we will talk in detail about chatbots, their types, their purposes and things to be considered by the businesses that plan to use them.
WHAT IS A CHATBOT?
Bots and chat make it easier for people to buy the way they want to, when they want to –and that should be the goal of any business.
– David Cancel, Drift CEO
Chatbots are “chatting” software that respond to users based on pre-defined conditions, actions and/or situations. You can read our “What Is Chatbot?” article to learn more about chatbots.
There are multiple advantages of using this software:
- They can be proactive and reactive
- They always answer consistently
- They can instantly respond to customers at any time
- They can gather important data from their conversations with customers; additionally, they can learn more about the customers based on this data; thus, they can “self-improve”.
- They can be used on different platforms including SMS, live chat, social media; therefore, you have plenty of options to integrate them into your system.
The chatbot is actually not a new concept. In fact, these types of systems are used since 1960s. If you want to take a glimpse in the history of chatbots, you can look at this infographic.
TODAY AND TOMORROW OF CHATBOTS
Businesses increasingly prefer chatbots in their communication with their users. Today, more than 59% of millennials in the US (people born at the beginning of 1980s and in mid-2000s are included in this group) and more than 60% of gen X (people born in mid-1960s and at the end of 1970s are included in this group) has interacted with a chatbot at least once. According to a survey conducted by Facebook, more than 50% of the users expressed that they are more likely to shop from a business where they can contact via some kind of chat application.
According to Gartner’s data, in 2020, we will not be talking with real humans when we communicate with businesses. Instead, we will have various self-service options and chatbots. A survey by Oracle shows that 80% of the businesses are currently using chatbots or plan to use a chatbot by 2020.
Today, users want instant access to any information they look for, with just one click. When this does not happen, customer dissatisfaction arises, which means not closing the sales and potential customers leaving a website without ever coming back.
To understand how chatbots can decrease these problems and improve customer experience, we need first to look at how businesses prefer to communicate with customers under present conditions.
2017 State of Global Customer Service Report by Microsoft shows that various customers prefer e-mails and calls when they need to contact a business. On the other hand, while live chat, self-service, social media and chatbots are less frequently preferred than traditional methods, their growth rate is impressive.
Microsoft's State Global Customer Services Report - 2017
The common properties of the four new-generation communication channels we have mentioned above are speed and accessibility.
Let us continue after noting this important data. In their recent survey, Audience and MyCleverve Drift asked thousands of users to describe their online experience and problems with businesses in order to predict where the future of chatbots stands.
Responses showed that following things were the most disturbing parts of online experience for users:
- Website unfit for use (34%)
- Unable to get an answer for simple questions (31%)
- Difficult to find simple information about the business (28%)
- Long access time to services (27%)
- Poor smartphone application design (26%)
- Useless on-site search options (24%)
- Inaccessibility to services via mobile (23%)
- Insufficient online form quality (22%)
- Non-personalized services (18%)
- No service outside working hours (16%)
- Brand not responding to Twitter messages (10%)
When users were asked what advantages chatbots will bring to customers if businesses add them to their online platforms, they gave the following answers:
- Quick response in case of emergency (37%)
- Solving a complaint or problem (35%)
- Detailed answer/explanation (35%)
- Easy access to a real customer service employee (34%)
- Booking (for businesses like restaurants and hotels) (33%)
- Paying bills (29%)
- Purchasing products (27%)
- Learning more about a product before purchasing (22%)
- Subscribing to an e-mail newsletter (22%)
- Contacting with multiple brands via one program (18%)
- None of the above (14%)
- Purchasing an expensive product (13%)
Based on these, we can draw the following conclusion:
- Online experience is insufficient when there is no live interaction with the customer.
- When it comes to having answers to their questions, customers have high expectations in terms of speed and accuracy.
- When the answers to these two questions are considered, it is seen that chatbots can help in situations that cause distress in customers.
In the end, although chatbots may have various benefits, it is important to remember that there are more than one type of customer and each customer has a different character/usage habits.
Before rushing to have a chatbot for your business, you should consider why your users may want to talk to the software instead of a real person.
When designing a chatbot interface, you need to consider the industry you are in, the properties of your business and the target audience of your business. If you want to learn how chatbots can contribute to your business and to be informed about our solutions in detail, contact us now. Catch the future with us!