In the modern business environment, customer data is power. If you’re to remain competitive and provide a service that meets the needs of users, you need to understand your customers.
If you want to tailor your business to appeal to your key customer base, you need answers to a range of important questions. What do customers want from your organisation? How do they interact with your services? What problems do they experience on a regular basis? What are their primary concerns?
You can even go as far as to ask how your customers speak to one another. What vocabulary do they utilise?
One of the key benefits of chatbots is that they’re built to collect, collate and analyse this data. They’re the most capable data-capture mechanism your organisation will have at its disposal and the commercial benefits are endless. The data acquired can be used to refine your branding, renovate existing services and provide justification for the introduction of new ones, predict trends, and inform investment priorities for customer service channels.
Telephony-based customer interactions are expensive. They require you to employ a large number of human agents, most of whom will spend a considerable amount of time responding to simple enquiries that do not represent a good use of their time. A human agent can do so much more than providing basic information.
Chatbots automate these time-consuming customer enquiries, eliminating the need for agent intervention. This has three principal benefits for businesses.
- Reducing strain on call centres – if more enquiries are automated, fewer calls are made to your call centre. This means you require fewer human agents to handle the expected call volume and reduces waiting times during peak periods.
- Allow human agents to focus on more valuable work – to maximise the value of your human resources, you need to ensure agents are working to their full potential. By automating relatively simple enquiries, you allow human agents to turn their attention to tasks that require a more nuanced and complex approach.
- Reduce costs – chatbots that automate a large number of enquiries reduce your customer service costs by limiting your dependence on expensive human agents.
Where once 24/7 customer service was something that only the wealthiest and most advanced organisations could offer, it’s now a realistic proposition for businesses of all types and sizes. In fact, the widespread adoption of digital technology throughout all sectors of society means that customers now expect and demand it.
If you don’t offer 24/7 access to certain customer service features, you’re not meeting customer expectations.
Chatbots are a cost-effective means of providing that 24/7 access. They’re always on and always capable of providing a response. In a commercial environment in which customers are increasingly pushed for time and want to interact with organisations on their own terms, in their own time, wherever they are, chatbots are a fantastic way of satisfying demand for an always-on service.
Historically, a brand was something that was simply consumed. Customers saw your adverts, read your website and associated your logos, graphics and wordmarks with a set of qualities and characteristics that you actively pushed upon them.
Social media changed all that. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram made branding a two-way process where customers contributed to your brand and began a dialogue in which you could communicate your key qualities in a more conversational manner.
Chatbots represent a further step towards a deeper, more subtle and more effective means of communicating your brand’s values. By adopting a conversational structure, they dismantle the barriers between customer and business, allowing you to integrate your values more easily and providing you with a creative means of pushing your key qualities. For organisations where branding is central to the customer experience, chatbots represent excellent value for money.
Chatbots boast enormous development potential. While bots were originally only capable of replying to simple, text-based interactions in a fairly limited manner, they’ve now evolved to a point where they can successfully respond to vocal prompts and understand complex enquiries.
However, this is only the beginning. As AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities improve and become an increasingly common feature, chatbots will assume a much more prominent role in customer service provision.
This means that businesses deploying chatbots in their customer service system are investing in a technology with considerable room for growth. Chatbots aren’t a dead-end technology that will be supplanted in a few years time. Instead, they’re one of the most promising examples of AI currently deployed in a business context. Those organisations that miss out out on these first crucial steps are likely to be playing a desperate game of catch-up over the coming years.
Finally, chatbots represent excellent value for money. By reducing costs while improving customer service, they provide organisations with a means of refining the customer experience, even when faced with budgetary restraints.
The business case for such technology can be made via accurate financial projections that incorporate the number of informational enquiries and transactional enquiries that will be automated, as well as the chatbot’s capacity for work in terms of full-time employees (FTE’s). This allows you to construct a comprehensive, financially-sound case for your organisation’s investment in the tech.
Your case is also enhanced by the relatively short build-time required to design, develop, and deploy the technology. With chatbots, you’re looking at a project that bears fruit within a matter of months, not years.
There can be no doubt that there are strong business arguments for investment in chatbot technology. Anyone looking to make the case for chatbots in their business need only look to the six points discussed above to begin formulating their case. By highlighting that the financial benefits of chatbots are demonstrable, the technology’s capacity for growth is remarkable, and that its ability to collect and collate customer data is unprecedented, they make a convincing argument for investment.