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Bots to Take over Communication with Customers: Is the Future Already Here?

By Meeta Ramnani - March 18, 2019 4 Mins Read

Chatbots, Companies, Future, Communication

AI integrated chatbots are becoming increasingly influential and are expected to save over $8 billion for companies per year

Customer’s assistance on social media is seeing a huge increase in automated chatbots. In fact, Gartner has predicted that by 2020, 25% of customer service will be through chatbots. Companies are also contributing to this projection by integrating Virtual Customer Assistant (VCA) for customer service and support operations.

One of the most significant reasons for chatbots integration for organizations is the need for real-time responsiveness, especially on social media. To provide a 24X7 communication service organizations need an ‘always on’ system in place. In addition to increasing the productivity of marketers and reducing their workload, chatbots can also save costs for enterprises. Juniper Research forecasts that chatbots will enable over $8 billion per annum by 2022, savings -up from $20 million in 2017.

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As investments in this field increase, the global chatbots market is expected to reach $1.25 billion by 2025. According to the Spiceworks Survey examining the adoption and usage of intelligent assistants and AI chatbots in the workplace, 40 percent of large businesses are expected to implement AI chatbots on company-owned devices in 2019. There is a definite trend, and the reasons are very clear as to why chatbots are considered good options to be integrated into the customer connect process:

  • Real-time conversations

Social media has become a major connection for customer reach-out and satisfaction, in recent times. In whichever stage of lifecycle they are, companies need automation tools to maintain the global, real-time and accurate connect. There is no other option if they are to stay competitive. With customers speaking to brands in myriad different ways, organizations have started introducing interactive conversations like satisfaction surveys and polls. The step further is using chatbots services to help solve purchase problems, share information and resolve other issues by answering customer queries and questions within seconds.

Social media functions like sharing, liking or commenting make customers almost ‘ambassadors’ as they have cross-connects and conversations about an organization. With feedback and promotions coming in this way, staff can also share relevant news and take ownership of generating more conversations online.

  • Knowledge management

Businesses that have large customer support produce a lot of data. But if done manually, access to that data is limited to the team collating it. With AI and chatbots taking over this role, the data gathered can be made available for much better analysis and insights. According to research by Forrester, 46% of enterprises are investing in AI for sales and marketing, followed by 40% for their customer service teams. These investments aim at filling specific gaps in customer interaction, rather than being part of wider strategies around customer engagement. With automation and chatbots integration, customer data can actually be leveraged across the whole business. Also, this source of customer-focused data can be used to support AI projects and be helpful for marketing strategy and planning.

  • Automating feedback

While customer data can be shared by automating conversations, solutions can be scaled as well. Marketers and customer service teams can collaborate around the preferred solutions, extracting even deeper insights about customer response to a product or service.

Companies that need more human interaction can leverage AI by having automated recommendations on chats. This process relies on the combination of automation and AI with the human understanding of handling customers and their problems.

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Some marketers have raised concerns on how automation is reducing the human interaction element that assures a unique interaction. There is a fear that automated systems can hinder the process of being sociable and produce creative outputs. The Forrester report also suggests that 60% of chatbots deployments in 2019 will not have effective live-agent safety nets attached to web chat sessions.

While automation is changing how brands and customers talk, there is a need to recognize that there is also scope for hybrid solutions where humans and machines work together. Rather than looking at AI or chatbots solely to fill gaps, marketing and customer experience can be improved by combining the best of both worlds.

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Meeta Ramnani

Meeta Ramnani is the Senior Editor with OnDot Media. She writes about technologies including AI, IoT, Cloud, Big Data, Blockchain across various industries with a focus on Digital Transformation. An avid bike rider, Meeta, is a postgraduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, where her specialization was Business Journalism. She carries four years of experience in mainstream print media where she worked as a correspondent with The Times Group and Sakal Media Group in Pune.

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