Have chatbots become so human-like that it is hard to differentiate between an actual person and a machine? Do we want more ‘human’ chatbots? Is there a business value in creating them?
The answer is yes. Technology is developing faster than ever before. As a result, businesses are under pressure to innovate to meet consumers’ changing needs. A good example of this? Chatbots. Although a relatively new phenomenon, chatbots are becoming increasingly popular with businesses that want to improve the way they communicate with customers online.
To keep pace with consumer expectations, many companies aim to develop chatbots that are indistinguishable from humans – in an online environment. Sound too far-fetched? It is already possible – to some extent – thanks to machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and natural language processing (NLP).
Research shows that 59% of all consumers feel that companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience. To counter this, conversational commerce is increasingly focused on personality and personalization. Therefore it is becoming commonplace for companies to give customers an experience that fits with their brand’s voice across every single on and offline touchpoint: from a company’s website to real human interaction with a brand. As a result, today´s chatbots are evolving in line with efforts to bridge digital and physical interactions.
Many chatbots use AI – which is becoming increasingly sophisticated – to simulate how humans communicate. More specifically, they incorporate machine learning and and NLP to make bots appear more human. But there’s a massive gap between being able to deliver information and effectively deal with a customer query.
While bots may not be sentient, they can increasingly understand the context and demonstrate empathy – something companies are taking more seriously in the wake of several CX faux pas: such as the cautionary tale involving Amazon's Alexa revealing the truth about Santa Claus’ existence to young children on Christmas.
But what is the business value of better, or more human, chatbot? Ultimately a more believable bot is able to offer an enhanced customer experience; which means fewer people need to be deployed in a service center; giving those that do the opportunity to handle more complex inquiries.
By boosting the user experience and combining user context with developments in chatbot technology, we are seeing a new world in which automation works successfully in tandem with customer service professionals. But how can we ensure continued success? Here are Mesaic’s four criteria for success.
Personality separates a memorable bot from an ineffective one. Offering standard responses such as ‘sorry, I do not understand’ in the same way as every other bot will quickly deter customers – who can be very fickle. Research shows that 1 out of 3 customers would stop doing business with a brand that they loved after just one bad experience. That is why creating a personalized experience for customers creates a competitive advantage; which in turn can lead to an increase in revenue. In fact, personalization increases customer engagement and influences 91% of consumers to purchase from a brand.
We have talked about the importance of customer experience before, but we cannot stress this enough. When creating a chatbot, the conversation designer must devise unique experience paths which the user could take to reach their end goal. In fact, customers are already willing to pay more for a better experience, and 71% of businesses agree that a strong and positive customer experience is the best competitive advantage that a brand can have.
When working with bots, every word, and graphic matters. Creative messages that incorporate video, emojis and GIFs are more important than you might think. For instance, if the bot detects that the person is sad or sick, then the bot could throw out a friendly message with appropriate emojis 💪💕
Storing information shared in a conversation is very important for a customers’ overall impression of a bot. Remembering personal facts can make a big difference in the customer’s experience. Something as simple as giving personalized recommendations based on the previous months’ shopping behavior can make a huge difference in someone's life – also known as value creation.
Here at Mesaic, we pride ourselves on creating scalable communications tools that businesses need to deliver the best possible customer experience. We know that customer conversations go way beyond bots, so we’re creating brand communications platforms that build on different technologies and create real value for companies and customers. Talk to us.