There’s no question that chatbots are an extremely convenient and powerful self-service tool.
These are just some of the reasons that 80% of businesses are expected to use some form of chatbot by the end of 2022.
But the question still remains:
What do your customers think about chatbots?
Well, it all boils down to how well your bot is set up within your business’s ecosystem.
In fact, if your chatbot is poorly managed, it can cause your company’s customer service reputation to decline rapidly.
So, in this article, we’ll explore the best ways to use chatbots to enhance the customer experience, rather than hinder it.
We’ll be covering:
- How useful chatbots can be
- The best use cases for chatbots that’ll make your customers smile
- The importance of chatbot personality
- How to make sure your customers love your chatbot
Let’s get started.
Are chatbots useful?
Ultimately, the success of your chatbot will depend on consumers’ acceptance of them.
So, how do you ensure that your customers get to grips with your chatbot from the off?
The answer is simple:
If your chatbot is programmed to do their role well and is able to transfer users to human agents when necessary, then they’ll be greatly valued by consumes and improve the customer experience.
Still, that’s not to say the popularity of chatbots has always remained consistent.
The growing popularity of automating customer support services
In 2017, European countries viewed chatbots much more favorably than the U.S. and Japan, but that has changed somewhat as time has gone on.
The primary drivers of that growth? China, Japan, and South Korea. Asian markets understand that social networking and chatbot commerce go hand-in-hand.
It makes sense; if both social media and chatbots function to create connections, why not use them together to create sales opportunities?
As for using chatbots on regular websites, the United States is the single largest user of AI-based communication systems.
On average, Americans interact with a chatbot at least once every week, with people under 45 representing the largest chunk.
This leads to an interesting discovery: generally speaking, the older the person is, the less likely they are to want to use a chatbot
So, always remember to consider the types of customers your organization serves before investing in a chatbot solution.
Chatbots: A growing opportunity for customer service agents
As we’ve seen, the growing popularity of chatbots represents an enormous opportunity for all organizations to expand their reach through chatbot marketing.
However, the key to recognising this opportunity is all predicated on one key factor:
You need to make sure your chatbot is designed with your key audience and the customer experience in mind.
For instance, say you are looking to capitalize on foreign markets.
In that case, it’d be imperative to invest the time and energy to make the brand presence in these areas feel as native as possible.
For instance, you could have your entire sales and support staff learn Spanish or simply program a chatbot to correspond appropriately.
To achieve this, you could implement Talkative’s multilingual chatbot.
Its real-time automatic translation capabilities will allow you to communicate with leads across the globe.
This will also make your chatbot a more widely accessible option for consumers than calling a support line.
Whichever markets or goals you're looking to serve and work towards, deciding on your end goals can make your chatbot deployment all the smoother.
But most importantly for this discussion, it’ll also make your chatbot all the more popular amongst your customers.
Chatbot use cases that improve customer satisfaction
Now that we’ve got a better understanding of the growing popularity of chatbots and how they can benefit businesses, let’s dive in a little deeper:
What are they key use cases for chatbots that can improve customer satisfaction, efficiency, and increased conversions?
Take a look at the following cases as examples. How could you use a chatbot to boost customer delight?
Handling FAQs fast
Most businesses have a “frequently asked questions” section on their website that provides a reference for their customers’ common questions.
But no website can adequately provide the answers to every single question that someone may ask.
That’s where chatbots come in.
By preloading your virtual agent with various “answer trees,” customers can ask their specific questions and then follow the question prompts to receive an appropriate answer.
AI-type services are already doing this with blog content and email subject lines, so why not hire professional writers for chatbot scripts?
One of the things that customers prefer chatbots is that they provide instant responses and quick answers.
There’s no queue to wait for assistance and no lengthy articles crammed with illustrations that a customer has to wade through to find an answer.
This means that the consumers seeking instantaneous and convenient assistance are the ones most inclined to using chatbots.
Reliable Couriers is one example of a company that makes a point of emphasizing that humans are behind the wheel.
Go on to their website for help, and you’ll be given a phone number where you can call an agent directly for a quote.
This means that it’s always a good idea to have several contact channels on hand, including your chatbot - that way, you’ll engage more customers overall.
But how adept are chatbots at answering these questions?
Can they really be trusted to take on your human agents’ work?
Well, according to one study, AI-infused chatbots can handle up to 80% of standard questions and routine tasks.
Consider how much better would your customer service be if you could return 80% of your agent’s time to handling more complex situations.
And say your chatbot doesn’t deal well with a query?
Or say your customer wants to speak to a human agent instead?
Intelligent chatbot systems like Talkative’s can automatically transfer customers to a live chat session too.
It means you never have to worry about your customers reaching the end of a question chain without a resolution.
It’s another win for customer preferences and satisfaction.
Providing 24/7 support
One of the downsides to an ever-connected world is that consumers expect businesses and customer service organizations to always be available.
Gone are the days when customer support agents are simply “out of office.”
Not providing around-the-clock customer support is almost a death knell to your contact center metrics.
Chatbots provide a simple solution to this problem. They’re always readily available with 24/7 customer support.
Celtic Manor, for example, integrates their Talkative chatbot onto their home page so that it’s always available to customers soon as they arrive on the site.
Another example is Tailor Brands. They feature their chatbot on their customer support page, which acts almost like a search function for their manuals and technical articles.
The caveat with any kind of bot-based customer support is the complexity of the task at hand.
Businesses will want to have customer service agents on standby in case the customer needs more personalized support.
Even so, the amount of staff required is far lower when you utilize chatbots.
So, not only does this mean you can keep serving more customers with consistency, it also means you’re far less likely to suffer any poor customer service pitfalls.
Improving efficiency through self-service
Some queries don’t demand as much of a personal touch as others.
In fact, there are scenarios where people would rather not talk to a human at all.
It’s the same for some business sectors too.
For instance, one area that’s benefited a lot from chatbot usage is the hospitality industry.
Users love the ability to make a reservation at a restaurant or hotel without the “hassle” that can come from talking to a human.
In these cases, customers don’t want added sales pressure or elongated hold times – they just want a straightforward transactional conversation.
Another industry that chatbot support thrives in is online retail.
Retail consumers are much more agreeable to using chatbots than just about anyone else - which is why you see so many great ecommerce chatbot statistics.
Customers love this kind of chatbot use because they smooth out the buying experience by automating the purchase process.
What’s more, they can provide added value with additional services and notifications.
But with all that said, whichever industry your organization serves, the key to utilizing chatbots effectively lies in reducing friction as much as possible.
The easiest way to achieve this is by humanizing your chatbot - which we cover in more depth below.
The importance of your chatbot’s personality
As we’ve seen above, there are some great ways your organization could use chatbots to achieve your goals.
Still, some consumers will be harder to win around than others.
Case in point, research shows that most customers still prefer human support over AI assistance - though the numbers are getting closer by the year.
But how can we close this gap even further?
How can we make sure that both your organization and your customers realize the benefits chatbots have to offer?
By perfecting your chatbot’s personality.
Whatever goal you’re looking to achieve with your chatbot, you still have to decide how you want your bot to act and sound.
Even a ‘robotic’ chatbot still has a personality type, after all.
In fact, this type of personality is great if you want to use your bot to serve customers fast - especially if you know some customers don’t want to be slowed down any more than necessary.
On the other hand, say you’re a fun ecommerce brand that usually engages customers with an upbeat tone of voice.
It follows that your chatbot should act in the same way, providing consistency to your customers brand experience.
So, to make sure you’re getting off to the best start with your chatbot’s personality, consider these tips:
- Understand your chatbot’s key purpose. What’s it going to be used for most frequently, and by whom?
- Take your brand image, language style, and tone of voice into account. What kind of experience do you want your customer to have?
- Remember your target demographic when deploying your chatbot. Which kind of customers will be using your bot most?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be all the more ready to create a chatbot personality that immediately appeals to your customers - whether it’s a no-nonsense generic bot or a characterful creation that promotes a fun image.
You should also strive to make your chatbots feel as human as possible.
MannequinMall does this really well by providing pictures of their customer service associates.
The takeaway: make sure your customers love your chatbot
Like most modern technology, chatbots are here to stay.
AI assistance with sales and support staff is already well-integrated into our lives. Chatbots just represent another step in that development.
And even though some customers prefer speaking to human support agents, as we’ve seen above, there’s also a range of use cases where chatbots provide a significant boon - both to customers and organizations alike.
You just need to make sure that your chatbots are:
- Exceptionally designed to provide conversational, humanized responses
- Well-programmed to carry out their role effectively resolve as many queries as possible
- Created with an appropriate personality for your brand
- Able to efficiently escalate interactions to a live chat if required
It’s this last point that’s worth reiterating:
Ultimately, what customers really like is having the choice to use the communication channels that best align with their unique preferences and situation.
They want convenience and assistance on all their favorite channels, whenever it suits them.
So, when it comes to increasing customer delight with your chatbot - or any other engagement channel for that matter - the best strategy lies in giving your customers the right contact options for them.
Options that can better help you engage, delight, and convert.
Of course, finding the right channels for your customers can be hard. There are so many options available.
Nevertheless, whether you’re looking to deploy a chatbot on your website or social media - or whether you’re looking for another channel altogether - upgrading your customer conversations can be easy.
You just need to get Talkative.
With a range of chatbot automations available - from sophisticated AI to basic pathway triage - Talkative's Chatbot Advisor can help you serve more customers without extra strain on your team.
In fact, Talkative enables you to automate all of your least valuable interactions, giving your advisors more time to connect, care for, and convert your high-value customers.
It's a key aspect of our Consultative Service Platform, empowering your brand to provide the human touch online - even when using AI automation.
Want to learn more?
Book your Talkative demo today, and discover the smarter way to meet your customers online - whether through automation or advisor.
About the author: Vikas Kalwani is a product-led growth marketer and B2B Marketing Specialist skilled in SEO, Content Marketing, and Social Media Marketing. He manages partnerships at uSERP and is a mentor at 500 Global and Techstars.