80% of companies already use or plan to use chatbots by 2020.
Chatbots on the rise
The use of chatbots is on the rise to solve problems and improve the customer experience in a variety of ways. Customers have come to expect instant information and communications from the companies they do business with, chatbots are a solution for business looking to provide this instant communication in a scalable way. For companies looking to expand the ways they communicate with customers, bots are the next frontier.
How can bots benefit your brand?
In a survey of emerging technology companies, 42% responded that automation technologies will improve the customer experience in areas such as sales, marketing, and customer service. What value will this bring to your company? Chatbots are enabling companies to save both time and money by automating repetitive tasks and questions.
Here are a few different ways businesses are using chatbots:
Customer Support: An intelligent support bot allows for automated responses to common support questions. With the bot answering simple inquiries agents are able to spend their time solving complex issues for customers. It also allows for round the clock customer support in a variety of time zones. Slack built its very own Supportbot called the Slackbot to help solve problems within your account.
Messaging IVR: More and more frequently consumers are turning to messaging to engage with companies. By enabling your company’s toll-free number with SMS and a chat bot you can replicate the IVR experience on your consumer’s preferred platform. For questions such as hours of operations, location and product information this is a great tool to engage with customers at all hours of the day. Unlike IVR the chatbot can also suggest specific articles and request a call back from certain departments. Fandango has created an easy to use messaging bot for customers to find nearby theaters, hours of operation and show times.
Website Navigation: Some websites are turning to chatbots to help customers navigate quickly to their destinations. This saves time when looking for a specific piece of information, and also enables a better understanding of what information is most valuable. See this in action with the Alaska Airlines Virtual Assistant, Jenn.
Product Partnership: Many bots on the market today were created because they allow brands to enhance the user experience of their product. Take Casper’s Insomnobot-3000, the mattress company designed the bot to interact with users who suffer from insomnia and are look for someone to talk to at any hour of the night.
However, the benefits go one step further than customer experience. Engaging with users through bots enables a better understand your consumer’s needs and enables the collect of large amounts of user data. This information can be used to intelligently design future websites and content to better meet the needs of your customers.
The next question facing companies building bots is, what platform is best suited for customer engagement?
The platform for chatbots
Chatbots are designed to simulate person to person messaging conversations, making typical person to person communications platforms ideal. We have already seen this in action with many major websites launching online chatbots in an instant messaging format.
SMS as a platform opens up entirely new opportunities for this technology. As an open platform, SMS does not rely on users downloading a third party application such as GroupMe, Facebook Messenger or Viber. It is also an already prevalent communications platform across demographics and can be received by cell phones and smartphones alike. For companies investing in advanced technology to build chatbots the ability to reach the widest audience is key to seeing a return on their investment.
As a relatively new technology, it will take some time for bots to fully adopt and scale. By introducing a bot early on you can enable your business to easily collect data and better understand the consumer.
Interested in learning more about how to build a cost-effective, for your chatbot, schedule some time with one of our SMS experts.