Chatbots and conversational AI are still in their infancy. Building, training, and deploying a chatbot for your business is complex and costly. To be effective, a chatbot needs to blend human knowledge and advanced technologies such as NLP and ML. Plus, the lifecycle of a chatbot extends far beyond deployment. Ongoing maintenance is imperative so that the bot will continually improve how it serves both your customers and your business.
Let’s look at some of the common challenges you should be wary of when deploying a chatbot for your business.
A bot is a bot is a bot
No matter how sophisticated your chatbot is, your customers will still know that they’re conversing with a machine. Despite ongoing efforts to make the bot more human-like, there’s still a sense of losing that personal touch. Things like emotion, tone, sarcasm, and humor are difficult for the bot to process. Its response can come off as cold and robotic, lacking personality and the natural conversational flow. Customers may lose interest or become frustrated halfway through an interaction. And while an advanced bot can escalate to human agents, that could also validate the customer’s apprehension about interacting with a machine.
Range of language input
Chatbots support multiple languages, which is great when you have a diverse customer base. However, whether inputs arrive via text or voice, they come in a multitude of dialects, accents, and regional slang that aren’t always easy for chatbots to comprehend. Background noise during voice calls also adds confusion. And reaching the desired accuracy level in multiple languages can be a huge undertaking.
Maintaining customer privacy and security
“I’m talking to a bot. What about my privacy and security?”
You’ve probably asked this question yourself, and so have your customers. Chatbots are dependent on collecting customer data to make an appropriate response. With bots doing this for hundreds of thousands of customer interactions, it’s true that they can be vulnerable to data breaches. However, developing a chatbot with high privacy and security standards and monitoring systems can alleviate this challenge and put your customers’ mind at ease.
Customer adoption is a tall order
Although technologies supporting development of chatbots are rapidly evolving and becoming increasingly easy to use, getting customers on board is sometimes a challenge. You’re looking to change how customers interact with your brand, and changing behavior is always hard. It’s also about educating your customers on how to use them for a wide variety of use cases. Customer apprehension tied to challenges noted above make customer adoption a tall order.
Chatbots are cost-efficient and scalable. You can use them across all your customer engagement channels for a variety of use cases and across functions. And they can be available for your customers 24/7.
Let’s look at the key ways chatbots benefit businesses, big and small.
Boost customer engagement and drive sales
Chatbots make it easy for customers to find information and make a purchase—anytime, and anywhere. When a customer visits your website, an integrated chatbot can offer them personalized content such as product recommendations or specials based on what you know about the consumer and their purchase history. Chatbots can also empower your agents with recommendations on next best offers and other decision-support insights that drastically improve the likelihood of a sale. And they can be easily deployed across all interaction channels and customer devices.
Reduce customer churn
Providing a positive customer experience (CX) is essential to earning loyalty and repeat revenue. According to PWC, one in three customers say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience. Chatbots can be a big help in this area.
Chatbots provide support to customers on the channel of their choice, at any time of the day, and can solve customer issues quickly without human intervention. Providing ease and convenience help to ensure that your customers keep coming back. For interactions that do require human intervention, chatbots can still handle the routine steps, such as capturing relevant customer information and escalating to an agent. AI-powered chatbots can even share the conversational context and relevant customer insights to help the agent reach resolution more efficiently and effectively. With chatbots, you can provide speed and convenience—which are both key to minimizing customer churn.
Enhance cost efficiency
Running a call center is expensive, and it gets even more expensive if you’re looking to offer support beyond regular working hours. Providing 24/7 assistance is what chatbots are built to do. Use automation to handle information-seeking and repetitive interactions around the clock. The more you train the chatbot around a variety of use cases, the more you will save—both in terms of time and money. And in the process, you’re also empowering your customers to self-serve. Chatbots drive containment and reduce your call center traffic.
Improve the employee experience
Chatbots can make life better for your employees, too. Taking away the mundane and monotonous transactions frees up your customer support agents to handle more complex and meaningful work. An internal chatbot or virtual assistant can boost accessibility and efficiency, enhancing the employee experience. From help with FAQs, to screening resumes for keyword matches, to providing insights into the next best offer, chatbots can perform a wide range of tasks for your employees so they’re not only more effective workers, but happier on the job, too.
Scale your operation
Adding infrastructure to support AI-powered chatbots is cheaper and faster than hiring, training, and onboarding employees. AI-powered chatbots can scale to support new channels, new products, and new use cases. For instances such as expansion into a new market, seasonal spikes in demand, or the introduction of new digital processes for customers, chatbots provide the flexibility and scalability to meet your business needs and support ongoing growth.