If you’re wondering what’s next in the evolution of customer service technology, look no further than the closest chat window. Chatbots for business are taking off as companies large and small recognize their multitude of benefits. They’ve been driving higher conversion rates, deflecting low-priority tickets, and saving on costs. The results have been so promising that Gartner predicts 85% of customer interactions will be powered by chatbots in 2020.
While traditional support channels like phone and email are still great ways to get in touch with a human representative, messaging and chat apps are increasingly becoming the preferred method of communication. According to a study Nielsen conducted among Facebook Messenger users in 2016, 56 percent of the app’s users would rather message a business than make a phone call. With live chat slowly edging out other customer service channels, a solution for self-service through chat was only going to be a matter of time.
Chatbots for business can be created for a specific purpose like targeting something that happens consistently on a company’s website. That might include fielding common customer questions, pointing visitors to FAQ pages, or informing them about shipping and tax policies. Perhaps the most exciting thing about chatbots is that as they field inquiry after inquiry, they become even better than before. Companies can analyze past questions that a chatbot failed to answer correctly and train the chatbot with new information to make sure it gets it right the next time.
Even though chatbots exist to provide solutions to common problems, visionary companies will steer clear of automating a customer service interaction at the expense of the customer experience. Fortunately, chatbots for business are becoming advanced enough to access data that allows them to personalize their customer interactions. This means that a customer can be assured from the beginning that they’re receiving service that’s customized to them, even if it’s being performed by a bot.
Down the line, the artificial intelligence in chatbots may eventually be able to handle every detail that goes into live chat support, from documenting conversations to escalating tricky requests (with recommendations on how to proceed) to the appropriate customer service team member. They’ll succeed when they’re capable of not just performing basic tasks quickly, but when they’re making the human agents around them faster and more productive.