What are chatbots?
A chatbot is computer software that helps businesses automate conversations with their customers. Whether you are aware of it or not, you must have come across a chatbot in your life.
For instance, you are looking for a shirt online, and suddenly a window pops up asking, “how may I help you?” At first glance, it might appear like a display ad popping up, but then you realize there is someone out there to help you solve your queries. And that is basically what a chatbot is!
Over time, chatbots have managed to replace humans from one end of the conversation and have enabled Human-To-Machine interactions. Chatbots can process data to respond to all kinds of needs powered by AI, NLP (natural language processing), or machine learning. And in case they are not able to answer any query or request, the chat transfers to a human agent.
Why do traditional bots fall short of meeting customer expectations?
Whether we agree or not, all the technological developments are designed to imitate human body functions. Likewise, chatbots were developed to replace human conversations with a machine. Nonetheless, these first generational chatbots had left a lot of room for improvement:
The Tedious and labor-intensive process to build and implement
The early versions of chatbots took at least nine to 12 months to build and deploy. The cost of a large number of experts and chatbot-dedicated software engineers, and the huge time required made first-generation chatbots less cost-optimal than they could be.
Poor quality of user experience
The robotic chatbots were highly scripted, which could not foresee user intent or engage in a meaningful, dynamic dialogue. Because of this, user interaction suffered a lot which ultimately deteriorated the overall user experience.
Lack of ability to solve personalized issues
There was a lack of semantic understanding to meet rising user expectations. They could not accurately identify the want of the users and formulate specific, personalized responses.
Transformation of customer support experience
It is rightly said that those who can have the right conversations can sell anything. Traditionally, a one-to-one human interaction was used to answer consumers’ queries and address all their questions. But with the evolution of online platforms, the feature of 24/7 customer support became ubiquitous. In order to fulfill this need, chatbots were developed, which were cost-efficient and a powerful way to provide basic support at all times.
No wonder these traditional chatbots revolutionized the concept of customer engagement beyond measure. Apparently, they were not free of loopholes. These traditional chatbots recognized keywords but failed to recognize the context in which they were being used. They did not have the capability to understand human emotions such as anger, frustration, etc. Also, they did not recognize the way people naturally speak. Although the development of chatbots was efficient, they were very mechanical in nature. On the contrary, the demand for individually personalized conversation was gaining attention to deliver a seamless customer support experience till the last mile.
This led the way to AI chatbots. Along with being quick and cost-efficient, these chatbots can understand the context and the intent of the customer before actually doing anything meaningful for them. They can recognize customer frustration and switch the interaction to a human in the company’s support center. Subsequently, AI chatbots provide a personalized customer experience by providing customer data to the agent in real-time.
Customers want quick, frictionless solutions to their problems and answers to their questions. Thus, AI chatbots are making all this happen without leaving any stone unturned.
Benefits of AI chatbots
• Minimize wait time
It is difficult for a business to maintain a balance between inbound customer queries and support agents. And even if the company has a sufficient workforce, one agent can handle only one customer at a time. This leads to an increase in wait time for customers, because of which the business may lose a potential lead.
Chatbots don’t have any such constraints, and one chatbot can handle any number of customers.
• 24/7 service
Chatbots can provide 24/7 support to customers. AI chatbots use past conversations to improve continuously, enabling them to provide at least basic support like guiding a user to a particular section of the website, providing pricing details, etc.
• Omnichannel Experience
Every business is required to provide consistent customer support across multiple platforms. It is difficult for agents to juggle between platforms to offer customer support in real-time. AI chatbots offer an omnichannel experience by easily integrating with multiple chat channels like Slack, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and others. So, no matter on which channel your customer needs support, your business is ready for it.
• Understanding customer needs
Businesses have a vast amount of customer data like past transcripts of conversations, transaction history. All of this data is usually unstructured, because of which companies fail to leverage it. AI chatbots can use the data to understand past and future requirements. It helps customers in receiving relevant information without manual intervention.
Want a chatbot for your website? Zoho SalesIQ is there to help you out!
As seen above, chatbots have evolved over the period with respect to the needs of customers. Subsequently, Zoho SalesIQ has a comprehensive solution for chatbots.
For all the techie out there, we have a programming interface for you. No one understands your business better than you, so either you can tweak the existing chatbot template or program custom chatbots the way you want it as per your business needs.
Our codeless Bot will save you from the hassle of coding altogether. With our simple drag-and-drop interface create a flow of chatbot to answer customer queries.
Also, we have Answer Bot which helps to ease the user experience preventing them from diving into a vast pool of resources to look for answers. Our own AI technology, Zia, understands common customer queries and answer them using your resource library.
Autopilot helps you combine the capabilities of Answer Bot, our AI-driven chatbot with Zobot, our guided chatbot building platform. Make your business excel in all the three major business functions – sales, marketing and support – by unleashing the true power of your chatbot.
If you haven’t tried SalesIQ and are looking to increase efficiency of your service operations and automate customer engagement on all channels, sign up now.