Are you taking advantage of chatbot technology to the fullest? Probably not. Chatbots are creating a buzz in the SaaS world and beyond. Let’s debunk the multitude of chatbot myths and learn how bots can help you maximize efficiency.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a high engagement affair with its users. With the rise in popularity of communication services such as Facebook Messenger, LiveChat, Whatsapp, and others, it has changed the way consumers interact, both in their personal and professional lives.
Chatbots are far from new players in the customer service game. The first chatbot was Eliza in 1966 which was a natural language processing program. But with recent advances in artificial intelligence, the abilities of a chatbot has increased exponentially. The updated features available with modern bots include natural language processing capabilities and a built-in algorithm that allows the chatbot to learn from patterns and build upon their knowledge.
What value do chatbots bring to the table in today’s world? Bots have proven to be vital in communicating with customers, resolving queries and decreasing response time. As the interest in chatbots continues to rise, there are several misconceptions that you may believe to be true. Lets clear the air!
Some of the myths are as follows:
1. Chatbots will take away jobs and replace humans
No, chatbots optimize and augment a human agent’s workload. More importantly, chatbots cannot be compared to humans. Chatbots exists in an ‘assist’ capacity to help humans and work as a team. Bots are implemented as a business-interface to answer customer’s standard queries. They are proficient at repetitive and routine tasks. Bots work in conjunction with humans to maximize customer interaction, satisfaction and to build brand trust. For example, after a few initial question and answer sessions, chatbots will pass a case on to humans for additional assistance. The human agent’s time in attending to recurring queries is reduced, which allows them to focus on the more complex inquiries. Chatbots can filter out customers with irrelevant queries, identify positive leads, then pass them on to the appropriate team member. Thus, all around customer service efficiency is achieved, which is a win for businesses but more importantly, a victory for customers.
2. Chatbots will replace apps
There is a clear demarcation between an app and a chatbot. Apps provide delivery of a clear functionality while Chatbots only work on an interactive conversational interface. Businesses are using chatbots to deliver conversational assistance on mobile apps and websites. The chatbot is dependent on a platform like a website or an app to deliver the service. So, the chatbot cannot replace the platform or apps.
3. Chatbots lack a personalized or human touch.
An interactive conversation with an individual naturally requires some level of personalization. However, the chatbot is a software and there are limitations compared to a human being. Chatbots are built in a way so that, they can understand anger and frustration in a conversation. They can empathize with the customer on their issue and concern. At a point when they know the customer is getting frustrated or angry, they transfer the case to a human customer agent who can help resolve it.
4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is incorporated in all chatbots
There are different types of chatbots and not all use artificial intelligence (AI). There are script driven bots, data-driven bots, and inference driven bots. Predefined scripts are used to answer queries and are rule-based. These are mostly used for consumer interaction. Rule-based chatbots are easy to use and deploy and they do not use any AI.
AI chatbots use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine learning. AI-based chatbots are the ones used for computational purposes and it depends on the use case required by the enterprise. Data-driven chatbots may use AI for pattern recognition but there are limitations in terms of requiring huge databases. Inference driven bots use cognitive models, natural language processing and deep learning methods to understand customer intent and learn from previous conversations.
5. Chatbots are only text-based
Chatbots are designed for specific purposes and the use depends on the nature of engagement. If a customers’ query is to be answered in the text, it will be a text-based interaction. It can be a voice interactive session as well. Today’s chatbots can send images, video, gifs and even have control elements such as buttons or menu options.
A customer may order food from the restaurant through a chatbot interaction. For example, an individual needs the food to be spicy or may need to choose multiple choices of toppings on a pizza. The customer can be given a choice of a text-based option or a voice-based interaction via chatbot.
6. It is easy to create and launch a chatbot
It is partly true that it is easy to create a simple and basic chatbot. You can have a chatbot ready in a couple of hours – providing basic information, such as answers to frequently answered questions (FAQ). There are many platforms that offer development of chatbots without coding. They use readymade Application Programming Interfaces (API). However, there are limitations in functionality and customization. Ultimately it may not serve the businesses purpose satisfactorily.
Developing a chatbot for core businesses requires customizing and crafting rules for the chatbots functionality. You will need it to understand any free text inputs from customers. These types of chatbot projects will require high experience, money and time.
To cite an example, enterprises having the domain expertise and AI skills will be able to deploy complex solutions in approximately 8 to 10 weeks. In the insurance sector, there are AI based chatbots that support the customer in an ‘end-to-end’ manner for functionality. Such as a bot for choosing an insurance policy with requisite coverage to clarify doubts and assist in generating the policy and documentation.
7. Only large companies use chatbots and AI
This is a big misconception. Chatbots can be used by any firm big or small. It is about providing instant support to the customer on a 24×7 basis and resolving their queries. This goal is consistent and unchanging regardless of the size of the organization.
However, the complexity may vary dependent on the enterprise. A small organization may only want a simple chatbot to answer frequently asked questions and provide contact information. On the other hand, a large organization may be using an AI chatbot that understands customer intent, learns user’s buying patterns and be able to predict customer’s choices.
8. You can build a chatbot quickly
It can be easy to set up a chatbot without coding and using existing API with a few clicks. But the more important questions are – Does it really benefit your customer? Does it deliver the expectations set for business benefits and value? Successful chatbot implementations require a lot of planning, research, and analysis which takes time.
Some of the key factors to be taken into consideration include understanding the needs of the target audience, preparing appropriate use cases to deliver value and promoting the chatbot application among others. You can gauge the complexity build a successful chatbot that delivers expected results, but that takes time.
9. Chatbots can do only customer service
Chatbots can do much more than just customer service, the list of use cases grows every day. Besides basic script based customer support, chatbots using NLP and machine learning are being used across industries to enable support in different functions. For example –
Chatbots can provide virtual assistance – One can reserve events, doctor appointments, restaurant reservations, movie tickets and more. E-commerce chatbots help in ordering food and just about anything from websites. Chatbots can help manage a person’s health, grocery etc.
Chatbots can help in content delivery for news updates and sports content. Some chatbots exist to give basic diagnosis advice based on symptoms. The bot can then refer users to a live doctor for further consulting. Additionally, Chatbots are used in real estate to identify and convert leads. The chatbot field is diverse and rapidly growing and has since surpassed the realm of customer service.
Chatbots are here to stay and are growing in intelligence to support different functions in multiple industries. It is essential that organizations understand chatbots and their usage at the primary level. With the help of an experience chatbot consulting firm to develop and deliver a successful program, organizations can understand the core needs of their customers and work with an experienced bot.