You can book flights, order food, and get recommendations from pretty much anything from a chatbot in 2020.
They are a very apparent part of how consumers communicate with brands and businesses and will continue to grow and develop in 2020 and beyond.
While more and more brands are using chatbots to their advantage, a lot of companies are still missing out on the opportunity. Why is that? We understand that it might seem a bit overwhelming for some smaller businesses, however, it really doesn’t have to be as there is a chatbot opportunity for every business no matter what stage you’re at when it comes to business growth.
According to Facebook, there are now over 300,000 active bots on Facebook Messenger alone – this is great to see so many businesses using these free resources to their advantage. But why aren’t more businesses jumping on this emerging trend? Let’s have a look at chatbots in 2020.
What are Chatbots?
I’m sure well all know what a chatbot is, but the official definition from the Chatbots Magazine reads:
“A chatbot is a service, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence that you interact with via a chat interface. The service could be any number of things, ranging from functional to fun and it could live in any major chat product such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram or text messages.”
If you’re still unaware of what we’re talking about, here’s an example. Have you ever been on a website and a little bubble has popped up, typically in the bottom right-hand corner and prompted you to start a conversation? Yeah, that’s a chatbot. Here’s an example of Zymplify’s.
Why are Chatbots so Important in 2020?
Chatbots are a huge opportunity for any business, no matter the size. For the first time ever, people are using messenger apps more than they are using social networks. Therefore, you need to be there.
The same logic has always applied – if you’re trying to grow a business, you need to be where the people are. And in 2020, that’s inside messenger apps. People are inpatient in 2020, and they want to access information instantly. If they have a question or query, they want the answer as soon as possible. And if they don’t get it? They’ll find the answer somewhere else. Your competition will swoop in and steal the prospect from under your feet.
Therefore, a chatbot is a fantastic way to interact with your customers in an instantaneous way and provide the answers to their questions when they are already actively engaged.
Here a few more top benefits of the having chatbot:
- Improve customer service, troubleshooting or answering a question or FAQ.
- It directs your customers to the web page they need.
- It removes a lot of unnecessary calls or support tickets, allowing your customer service team to get on with more complex issues.
- You can offer scalable support, and a transparent support system.
- The chatbot will improve your overall response rate.
- It can encourage website visitors to become buyers, or previous customers to purchase again.
Perceptions of Chatbots in 2020
According to research from MarketingCharts.com, businesses and consumers are experiencing a gap in perception when it comes to the use of AI. While almost two-thirds (63%) of businesses believe that chatbots and virtual assistants make it easier for customers to get their issues resolved, only one-third (33%) of consumers agree. This is according to a customer experience benchmark report from NICE inContact.
‘More than half (53%) of the report’s consumer respondents also ranked online chat as one of their top 3 methods of communicating with businesses in 2018. That being said, telephone is still the most preferred method of communication for customer service, with 7 in 10 respondents (71%) reporting that their issues are resolved at the first point of contact when they contact businesses by telephone.’ the report continued.
How do Chatbots Work?
If you think chatbots are only for huge enterprises who have a humongous marketing budget, then you are wrong. Anyone can set up a chatbot and there are some providers who offer free services like LandBot and ArtiBot.
Whether you decide to create one on your own, or you outsource the task and ask a professional, you must understand there are two chatbot functions available:
Chatbots that are based on rules
- These are very limited and will only respond to very specific commands. You will create the responses and plug them accordingly.
- This bot is only as ‘smart’ as it is programmed to be.
Chatbots that are based on machine learning
- This is an artificial brain that uses AI to answer questions and queries. You don’t have to be specific when you are talking to it, as it will understand language and not commands.
- This type of bot will continuously get smarter and will learn from the conversations it has with your website visitor.
You might be thinking, ‘This all sounds very simple and easy to do.’ While it can be, it can also be a little complicated behind the scenes and unless you’re prepared to invest the time into creating a really effective chatbot, then you might be just wasting your time.
As it’s one of the first things your website visitors will see when they land on your website, you need to ensure it’s super slick and professional and encourages your visitors to interact or at least, visit your website again.
Where to Place it on Your Website?
There are lots of places where you could place a chatbot but here are a few ideas for your website:
- The home page to welcome and answer any questions the user might have from the initial visit.
- The FAQ page, if you have one. This could ask if they found the answer they needed. If not, you can direct them to the appropriate page.
- The pricing pages. If a visitor has landed on your pricing page, they’re either being nosey, or they’re very interested in your product or service. You can grab their attention here and include a chatbot offering more information about your pricing model.
Global Trends and Analysis for the Future
Business Insider experts predict that by 2021, 80% of enterprises will use chatbots. Will you be apart of that statistic? If you’re not apart of it, then, unfortunately, you risk getting left behind. Now is the time to think about creating a chatbot and improving your overall customer service experience.
Here’s another few statistics that might persuade you:
- Banks will be able to automate 90% of their customer interactions by 2022 with the help of chatbots.
- 40% of large companies employing more than 500 people plan to implement one or more intelligent assistant or AI-based chatbot over corporate mobile devices in 2020.
- 1% of companies using chatbot technology are engaged in web software, and 58% of companies using chatbots technology are focused on B2B.
- 27% of adult clients in the US are ready to purchase basic goods through a chatbot.
- 13% of adults in the US have at least once bought an expensive item using a chatbot.
- 28% of leading companies use AI for marketing, while 31% plan to use AI in the next 12 months.
- By 2021, 4.5 billion dollars will be invested in chatbots.
However, it’s important to remember that 46% of internet users in the US would rather receive online support from a live person, even if the chatbot can save them a lot of time. Other challenges of using chatbots, according to US internet users include:
- Keeps me from a live human being – 50.7%
- Too many unhelpful responses – 47.5%
- Redirects to self-serve FAQs – 39.5%
- Bad suggestions – 28.2%
- Pop-up chatbot prompts – 25%
- Unnecessary pleasantries – 24.9%
- Takes too long to respond – 24.9%
- They ever have enough data about me – 19.7%
Examples of Good Chatbots
Spotify’s Facebook Messenger bot makes it easy for customers to search, listen to and share music. They even give playlist recommendations based on your mood – how cool is that? Now that’s the customer service we want in the 21st century.
Sephora, the huge makeup retailer, offers a personal assistant in the form of an AI-based chatbot. The incredibly friendly and informative PA offers makeup tutorials if you chat to Sephora on Kik. This is a value-added extra for their target demographic, who would very much appreciate this kind of content. Again, five-star customer service.
With Masterpass, customers can check how much they’ve spent and can now buy from Mastercard partners very easily. Customers can easily ask, ‘How much did I spend on restaurants in May’, and the Facebook Messenger bot will make it easy for customers to check on account transactions.
Ordering pizza can be a tricky task – how many toppings do you want? How many slices? Will it be enough to share? Ok, these aren’t ground-breaking questions, but they’re still important for pizza lovers around the world, like me!
Pizza Hut’s app makes it super easy for customers to order pizza for delivery or take out from their Facebook Messenger bot or Twitter. Customers will also be able to re-order their favourite pizza again in the future, saving lots of time and effort.
As you can see, chatbots are not just for answering lengthy questions, nor are they for huge enterprises that have a large marketing team. They are simply about making the customer experience better and more streamlined, whatever your product or service is.
They might not have taken over just yet, but we’re predicting big things and would encourage you to look at chatbots sooner rather than later.
Looking for expert advice on Marketing Automation, Multichannel Marketing, Lead Generation or Buyer Intent? Check out our series of on-demand Webinars designed to help you scale fast or get a free trial of our end-to-end marketing software.
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