Is your business ready for chatbots?

Insight

Conversational AI interfaces are creating a variety of new ways to engage with audiences, but in terms of driving efficiencies, chatbots are set to be the most impactful technology for business. Chatbots may not be the first answer to come to mind when facing common challenges, but these three signs indicate that your business is ready to benefit.

Gartner Service Technologies Bullseye recently revealed that 68% of service leaders believe that chatbots that will become more and more important by 2021, while, according to Juniper Research, chatbots will be driving $112 billion in retail sales by 2023.

Chatbots will be driving $112 billion in retail sales by 2023

But the benefits brought by conversational interfaces aren’t restricted to the realm of outsourced service centres; a wide range of companies are doing more, faster, with the help of chatbots. Whether you want to deliver information at record speed, help customers make decisions and perform transactions, or even solve business-critical issues, the following three signs indicate that your business is ready for chatbot-enabled acceleration.

1. You interact with customers via a service app, call centre or FAQ-style interface

When chatbots make the headlines it’s for providing wealth management and other financial advice or coaching football teams, but in reality it’s in the realm of customer service that most businesses stand to benefit from chatbots.This is because AI has recently gotten really efficient and accurate at performing the routine, rules-based tasks of the customer service centre.

The early adopters of chatbots have been businesses with well-organised customer service facilities and which focus on delivering the best customer experience (CX). These businesses see chatbots as a differentiator, and have usually already implemented many SaaS tools to optimise CX. As well as benefiting from the new efficiencies chatbots offer – which make operating costs available for reinvestment –  they are using them to drive customer satisfaction and loyalty by freeing up service team staff to focus on problems where human ingenuity and creativity are required.

From a consumer perspective, today’s online B2C users prefer to use digital tools to self-manage their customer experience. Chatbots help these users to choose their own service path, referring them to a live agent when necessary. By reducing customer wait time – replying to queries in as little as five seconds of customer contact – and by being available 24/7, they are helping to make huge CX improvements.

2. You have lots of well-organised data

Companies which are data-savvy and store their data in a structured way, that works across multiple touch points of a user journey, are the ones best placed to use chatbots as a new competitive differentiator.

When you have sufficient data to understand how business processes work it makes automating them a whole lot easier. Chatbots are a great way of creating an abstraction layer across multiple systems and data sets. They ensure that your users get a simple, optimised experience while masking the unavoidable complexity that lies underneath.

Because every interaction with a chatbot is captured, you not only benefit from opportunities to improve the chatbot itself but also from insights on how to improve the products and services they help deliver.

3. You want to do more with less

For businesses, areas like customer service have developed into significant cost centres, taking funding away from talent acquisition and hampering their ability to attract the best talent in a competitive market.

Chatbots help serve a growing customer base without the necessity of adding advisors.

Chatbots are able to help serve a growing customer base without the necessity of adding advisors. It’s not even strictly necessary to make an investment in AI to solve the issue. Training a team of chatbots to logically follow response pathways for common customer queries means more resources get freed up to employ the talented humans every company wants, and put them to work solving the issues that only a human can.

Even charities and start-ups with no resources at all can benefit. We helped one company to put 80% of their customer service issues through chatbots, leaving just 20% which required intervention by a human agent.

Using chatbots to augment your business

If any of the above signs apply to you, then it’s highly probable that your organisation could benefit from the introduction of chatbots. But there’s one crucial point to bear in mind: the first step in adopting chatbots successfully is ensuring that employees at all levels of the organisation are invested and on board with your goals. You want them to view chatbots as an augmenter which, properly used, will help provide your company with the skills, vision and knowledge it needs to compete in a rapidly changing marketplace.

To find out more about how chatbots can help drive efficiencies in your organisation, visit GreenShoot Labs.

This is a modified version of an article originally published in Information Age.