By 2022, Gartner predicts that 70% of customer interactions will involve emerging technologies, including machine learning, mobile messaging, and chatbots.
Chatbots once thought to be the future are already here, swelling in numbers and usage with each passing day. People today are using chatbots for everything ranging from checking in on whether they have symptoms for a medical ailment to finding the best shoe brand.
The idea of chatbots was first contemplated by Alan Turing, an English computer scientist in his paper, “Computer Machinery and Intelligence”, in 1950. Outlining the Turing Artificial Intelligence test, he challenged his students and colleagues by putting forth the question – Can machines think?
The Turing test subsequently inspired many computer scientists; one among them was Joseph Weizenbaum who created ELIZA in 1966 which laid the foundation for the structure of chatbots. Soon other bots followed, like the Parry chatbot in 1972, created at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and then later A.L.I.C.E, a language-processing bot in 1995.
The scenario changed dramatically in the 21st century with the rise of the Internet. It all began with Smarterchild, the AIM chatbot, considered as the precursor of SIRI and S Voice, in 2001, People then would often have hilarious full-length conversations with it. Then in 2007, the birth of the iPhone ushered in the Smartphone era and APPLE’s own chatbot, SIRI, which was integrated into iPhones in 2011. Later, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, all came up with their own chatbots; Google with Google Now in 2012; Microsoft with Cortana in 2014; and Amazon with Alexa in the same year. Today, chatbots are all over the Internet, from the bots in social media messaging to company sites, pop-up chats, and more.
What Exactly is a Chatbot?
It’s an artificial intelligence (AI) program that performs tasks normally carried out by humans. In other words, it is a computer program that automates certain tasks performed by humans, typically by mimicking a human conversation with a user in natural language through a conversational interface, like messaging applications or mobile applications or websites.
Importance of Chatbots
How far chatbots have evolved and grown in importance can be gleaned from the fact that today they can be deployed across different areas of business operations and used in most industries. They are becoming more common as the world becomes more and more digitized, with their benefits going beyond efficiency and cost savings.
For businesses, chatbots:
Can Provide Convenient 24/7 Customer-support
Customers today want instant support, expecting them on channels convenient for them. Chatbots can work round-the-clock to answer questions and provide solutions to problems from the simple to the complex on any channel. By deploying chatbots, businesses can greatly ensure that customers get instant seamless, always-on support.
Can Increase Customer-conversions With Deft Service
Customers expect instant information and help to be available on demand. This is where chatbots act as a useful ally by providing instant information for immediate action. For instance, providing messaging utilities like forms or pick-lists that allows customers to book a hotel reservation / movie ticket or purchase sneakers or slacks, all within the chat. In 2017, a chatbot created by the organizers of the Australian Tennis Open effortlessly outpaced Ticketek in selling tickets to customers. It garnered 170% more conversions than the Ticketek and ensured 25 times returns on investment.
When visitors browse a website or a landing page looking for something that meets a need, they generally use a search bar to find what they’re looking for or just scroll through web pages, looking for it. A chatbot eliminates all of these by simply providing instant answers to the customer’s queries. This saves time which in turn ensures conversions happen more swiftly. Chatbots by greeting visitors personally just like a salesperson does to a customer coming into a store further makes them feel welcome. When customers feel welcome and wanted, they are far more likely to buy.
Can Drastically Reduce Operational Costs
A staggering 265 plus billion customer support requests are made every year, costing businesses a whopping US$ 1.3 trillion to service. These costs can be drastically brought down by deploying and implementing AI chatbots, resulting in up to 30% savings.
Further, as the first point of contact for complex queries, chatbots can greatly improve customer service and reduce costs, leaving human agents to focus on more relevant tasks. By 2022, chatbots are predicted to handle 90% of all customer inquiries and cut business costs by US$ 8 billion.
Can Work Faster Than Humans
In a fast-paced world, time is precious for customers, which means they want instant everything. Today’s robust chatbots are smarter, respond fast and drastically cut customer wait times. This way they help build strong relationships with customers and cultivate their loyalty.
Can Collect And Collate Data And Help Engage Customers Better
It is vital for businesses to understand customer’s expectations and even more so to exceed them. This is where chatbots can be a useful ally, by collecting and collating customer information like name, profession, and contact details to create valuable customer profiles. Chatbots can also create data on customer’s needs, product preferences, and more, which will be useful for keeping existing customers engaged through push notifications with their brands and products.
Noted cosmetic brand, Sephora in partnership with Kik messaging application has put in place a chatbot that customers can get in touch with for advice on makeup or request for product reviews catering to their needs. In return, the chatbot suggests selected products and also sends videos.
Can Help Scale More Quickly in Line With Customer Needs
Humans can help businesses to scale only to the extent their abilities allow them to. Once maximum capacity is reached, human efforts taper off resulting in prospects drifting to rival firms. On the other hand, chatbots can seamlessly assist prospects through the sales funnel till the point the end-sale has happened. This way, chatbots can help businesses to scale-up more quickly by cutting down time-wasting and answering repetitive questions / issues while at the same time, allowing human efforts to focus on more relevant tasks.
Can Meet Customers Where They Live
In today’s customer-driven world, if businesses want to do business, they need to be where the customers are. This is where chatbots can play a key role by facilitating conversations and interacting with customers predominantly via texting. Nearly 71% of customers prefer to text with businesses than talk by phone as texting is instantaneous with a fast response.
Can Personalize Their Business
With the growing relevance of Big Data and marketing automation, and artificial intelligence coming into its own, personalization has evolved to a whole new level, meaning one business to one consumer. Chatbots by engaging customers for a quick chat, create hyper-personalized experiences (remembering important customer facts and acting as the customer’s personal assistant) thus enabling customers to get what they want, and get them faster too.
Easy to access, chatbots have also helped several businesses in recent times to reduce their workload and focus on creating new business ideas which were previously spent on attending to clients’ issues. The popularity of chatbots has soared to such an extent that according to Salesforce, twice as many high-performing organizations today are using AI chatbots for its ability to handle a host of resource-draining problems.
Cheap and easy to set-up, maintain, and customize, chatbots not only streamline the sales process and speed-up customer interaction but also give support teams the ability to scale without having to hire extra staff.
Customer Service Chatbot For Your Website
If you’re looking to rev up the utility value of your website and respond better to customer queries, then look no further than Inklik’s AI based customer service chatbot. With Inklik’s AI based customer service chatbot, you will have a source to automatically answer questions of your website visitors 24/7.
You will notice that as your website sales grow, so will the support queries. More importantly, by investing in Inklik’s customer service chatbot, you actually end up saving a lot on your customer support costs.
Remember with Inklik’s AI based customer support chatbot, you can reduce support work, improve customer experience, increase sales, and many more.
So, what are you waiting for, contact Inklik today!!