Chatbots and AI

A robot seated in a chair, using a laptop, surrounded by chat figures.

If you’ve ever engaged with a company using a live chat option on their website, you’ve probably engaged with a chatbot.

Chatbots use artificial intelligence(AI) and machine learning to provide 24/7 customer support by resolving questions and enquiries without needing human-to-human interaction It’s tech that really came into its own during the pandemic, as businesses the world over embraced automation.

In the past year, of course, AI has begun to revolutionise and disrupt many industries and areas of life in earnest.

It’s technology that’s not going away, but is it just for the big end of town, or can every business make use of chatbots to improve efficiency and customer service?

In truth, there are plenty of good reasons to consider investing in this kind of technology.

1. Chatbots improve efficiency and cut costs. According to research from IBM (Digital Customer Care in the Age of AI), chatbots can lead to as much as a 30% decline in customer support service costs and can handle 80% of routine tasks and customer questions.

2. Chatbots resolve simple customer enquiries instantly. Customers don’t like having to wait to get an answer to a simple question and they hate being left on hold. Plus, you have better things to do than sit on the phone answering simple enquiries.

3. They offer 24/7 support. Chatbots can answer customer questions, even when you’re not there. 

4. Chatbots keep learning and improving. When a chatbot is able to answer a question, it can also interpret the context around the question and answer, which enables it to answer related questions. It also learns how to improve its answers, based on customer responses. You can train your chatbot!

Professional holding phone with pink robot, showcasing modern technology and innovation.

5. They help you identify your leads. When a customer is browsing your website for information, you have no idea who they are and what they want to know. When they engage with your chatbot, you suddenly have data about them and their enquiry. You can use this to make sure you were able to answer their questions.

6. Chatbots ensure an “on brand” customer service experience. You get to teach and train your chatbot, so you get to tell it how to talk to your customers. You can be sure that every customer who engages with the chatbot gets the standard of customer service they expect. Technology that can do all that sounds expensive—and the complex ones are—but in fact there are reliable chatbot service providers that offer subscription-based services in packages starting from about $50 a month.

But will customers use them and accept them?

The 2020 State of Conversational Marketing Study by Drift and the Platform LiveChat Analytics Report by Comm100 found 87.2% of consumers who used chatbots said they had a neutral or positive experience, while 87.6% said they were satisfied with the service they received from chatbots (which was two percentage points higher than with human agents).

Chatbots won’t replace human interaction. They won’t stop your phone ringing completely. But they are a simple and attractive way to enhance your customer service offering, while improving your business efficiency.

This article was published 12/03/2024 and the content is current as at the date of publication.