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Chatbots Revolutionizing the Digital Playing Field - They Are Here To Stay

Chatbots are the latest technology trend driving modern businesses. Industry experts believe that 80% of the enterprises are already using or want to implement chatbots by 2020. But, why this hype? Are chatbots really better agents of customer service compared to FAQs, emails, and telephonic conversations?

Due to adoption of smart phones, bandwidth availability and people using messaging/chatting apps heavily throughout the day people are used to conversation like experience over chat. That means the chatbot interface is not new to them.

Now comes to the conversation with bots, people are already using websites to fill online forms for different services like getting an insurance, inquiry about services, booking tickets etc. If the same services are available in an interactive interface that can converse with the user as a real service agent or personal assistant, it will give a fantastic experience to the user. Not only this, a carefully designed conversation can ease out the mood of the person as no body wants to fill a lengthy boring form.

Quicker delivery and speediness makes chatbots far more superior than the normal FAQs. Actually, browsing for the answer in the FAQs section is not very interesting. A delay in getting the right answer causes frustration in the customer’s mind. Hence, they are disappointed with the company’s sales process.

If the chatbots are backed with deep learning, big data analytics and data science it can do wonders in every area of industries.

A study by BI intelligence concluded that automate customer services through chatbots will help enterprises save about $23billion annually. Juniper’s research, Chatbots: Retail, E-commerce, Banking & Healthcare 2017-2022, predicts that chatbots will save about $8 billion per annum by 2022, i.e. up from $20 million this year.

Why chatbots are here to stay?

  • Easy-to-use: You can use a chatbot through a mobile app, or a website or any messaging channel like Facebook messenger, Skype etc. They help in communicating and capturing real-time data with the help of chatbot messaging.
  • User experience: Chatbots provide a seamless customer experience as it is much more interactive and intelligent than a normal form and it also generates the desired customer information quickly on the screen of the user’s device.
  • Reducing the operation costs and turnaround time of many processes across the industries like Insurance, Hospitality, Banking, healthcare etc.

I firmly believe that chatbots will be a long-term asset for enterprises that will improve the customer experience, enhance customer journeys, and increase the levels of customer engagement across the enterprise.

For continuous business improvement, chatbots come with a unique capability to learn and adapt themselves around the varied customer needs.

Enterprise Chatbots Vs Social Chatbots

There is a big difference between an enterprise chatbot and social chatbot.  The social chatbot can go wrong in responding to the queries/chat messages without any major damage as people will ignore it or take it lightly but in case of an enterprise chatbot, it the chatbot’s response is wrong then it can pull you in a legal battle, or revenue loss or you will end up losing the customer. The social chatbots can be created by supervised machine learning where you have plenty of data from multiple conversations among people and you train the chatbot to answer the queries using its neural net easily. But for an enterprise chatbots you cannot just train it with conversation data and open it for customers to interact with. You will need to design the conversation very carefully and within the boundaries of the enterprise policy and knowledgebase as a wrong interpretation of intent by the bot can generate a totally different answers or action which may lead to customer dissatisfaction.

Global chatbot trends

  • Increase in the use of mobile messengers: Messaging apps like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger etc. are the preferred way of communication among mobile users. However, automated conversations of chatbots are reshaping the mobile industry.
  • Chatbots are supported by top companies like Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, etc.
  • Cost reduction in the development of chatbots due to readymade conversation API from IBM Watson, Microsoft etc.

Adopting chatbots in an early stage does not require a huge investment. Today, you have cost-effective options, which respect your data security guidelines. 

As with all  successful technologies in past, chatbots are here to stay and have to go a long way, and it will be interesting to see just what they will be able to accomplish as they develop.

This article was published in the July 2017, CIO Review.