It’s 2 PM on a Monday, Mark, an analyst is giving final touches to his mockups for a presentation scheduled at 2:30 PM. However, while downloading it suddenly prompted to login and asked for the activation code. He searched anxiously for the code in his emails and was about to contact 24*7 helpline for assistance however he is in a waiting queue. Suddenly a digital assistant pops up on the company website. In just 5 minutes, he was able to access the code and complete his work on time. He rocked the presentation and earned himself appreciation from his clients as well as superiors. He was very satisfied and elated with the experience.
In the current landscape where businesses are being built with customer experience in focus, disruptive technology has come to the forefront. Out of all the technologies, chatbots are the most popular and are creating waves across all verticals.
Opportunities For Customers
Digital assistants or chatbots present a plethora of opportunities for customers as well as organizations, some of which are:
Putting people’s names in greeting and blasting the same mail to thousands might give some inbound traffic however it gives more value if a brand remembers customers’ little details like habits, preferences, allergies etc. The next time a person interacts with the brand, they feel that they are interacting with an entity that knows them and is considerate about their choices. Since a chatbot interacts with the customer on a one-on-one basis, it is able to tailor the responses and show recommendations based on individual customer preferences.
“Chatbots will be responsible for cost savings of over $8 billion annually by 2022, up from $20 million in 2017” (Juniper Research)
Due to the scalability of the chatbots and underlying AI, the marketing spends get streamlined and frontline employee costs are also reduced. An IBM report mentions that organizations can reduce as much as 30% of their customer servicing costs with the use of chatbots.
With a steep decline in brick and mortar branches, along with deep focus on mobility and personalization, banks are now actively implementing chatbots. This will help to promptly answer user queries without the need to be logged on to their respective net banking portals or bank specific mobile applications and also increase the opportunities for creating personalized offers and cross-selling. chatbots can also aid their service desk executives in answering the customer’s queries thus helping both parties have a pleasant experience.
Additionally, the chatbot or personal assistant also updates the user regarding changes in rules and regulations, gives payment reminders and money management tips. The user, who earlier had to scour the website for information and call up toll-free numbers now have the information they need on their fingertips. (Source)
Retail & E-commerce
Retail was once a highly personalized experience where the shopkeeper/trader would know a customer by name and preferences. This was one of the prime reasons for customer loyalty. That experience is now lost with big box retailers having large stores, providing a huge array of products. For a customer, being heard and valued is important however with a large customer base it is not always possible to ensure the same.
Many leading players in the retail and e-commerce space have been using chatbots to give their customers a more personalized experience. It is a handy tool when it comes to receiving immediate feedback. Also, customers feel that they are heard immediately and it equips businesses to deal with data and personalize offerings for the consumer.
- E-Bay has deployed a personal shopping assistant for its customers to help find the best deals, browse through the catalogs through text, speech as well as photos.
- H&M asks the user regarding gender, style preferences, size, type of clothing etc. and gives product suggestions accordingly using which user can either go to the product page or share with others in kik messenger.
Recently, Indian Railways, the biggest employer in the world, has launched an AI based chatbot named AskDisha to improve customer service of railway passengers and handle travel queries. Online travel booking companies like MakeMytrip and GoIbibo also have built chatbots integrated with WhatsApp messenger. Users get real-time updates, tickets seat selection options and reminders on the messenger itself instead of searching emails and can access everything on the go.
However, there are many challenges along with visible benefits. Amazon recently built an AI to help with recruitment, however, had to shut it down as it was discriminating against women. Hence not only the chatbot but the underlying intelligence should also be error free. Moreover, there should be a clarity in terms of what value is being offered to the customer by implementing the solution instead of merely jumping into the bandwagon. A trusted technology partner should be consulted to assess the company’s needs, readiness and technological maturity to have a customized solution.
At an enterprise level, companies like Mindtree have developed their own chatbot platform. Mindtree has a platform named Mindflow which can integrate with different NLP engines and create chatbots for different businesses for various use cases.
Interested to know more about chatbots? Feel free to connect with us here.