Chatbots: The Future Of Business Engagement

preethi

Customer satisfaction has become synonymous to business success in today’s fast-paced era of digitally enabled customers. The availability of multiple alternatives, coupled with digital enablement, has given customers the power to choose, drive and even dictate business success. This has resulted into the rise of a new breed of customers who expect businesses to offer them easy access to information, quick resolution to queries who appreciate them for being loyal. Today, what a customer thinks about a brand and the way a brand treats its customer, dictates whether the customer would move to a different brand or stay loyal to one. This has resulted into customer experience becoming the center of business strategies and has driven businesses to explore new avenues that could help them ensure customer delight. One such digital enabler for enhanced customer experience is Chatbot.

Chatbots have transformed the way people seek information, interact with businesses and get simpler tasks done with a few clicks. Chatbots are computer programs that interact with users in human language, through text or voice. They use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to interpret queries and to provide relevant responses. They also self-learn by to provide more customized and targeted offerings.

The chatbot market, though relatively nascent, has seen explosive growth since 2015. In fact, 2016-17 was declared the “year of chatbots” by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. The banking and financial services industries have been early adopters of chatbots. A recent study has revealed that banks would automate up to 90 percent of their interactions through chatbots by 2022. Chatbots are the ideal choice for businesses across industries to automate all user engagements – customers, prospects and internal workforce. Businesses can customize and add more tasks and features to their bot to enhance its capabilities and offer more services to the customers such as accepting payments and documents, capturing data and handling simple requests.

Forrester Research recently released a report on the use of AI and chatbots in enterprises, forecasting that companies will soon move beyond the hype and start adopting the technology on a broader scale. Chatbots can empower businesses in multiple ways. They can help optimize resources and automate several processes such as addressing user queries, providing information and performing simple tasks – facilitating document download or registering requests and complaints. This can enable various business functions including HR, Finance, Payroll and most importantly Customer Service teams.

With a chatbot residing on their website, mobile app or even social media channels, businesses can boost lead generation and customer on-boarding. A chatbot can provide product/service information and also resolve basic queries for a customer to arrive at a purchase decision. The bot can also capture the prospect’s contact details and route the inquiry to the business teams to take it to closure. In case of existing customers, bots can register requests and grievances, provide product/service documents, schedule visits or calls, accept payments and also assist in claim settlements for insurance policies.

There are enterprise bots as well that can enable businesses to manage their enterprise applications better and get more value out of their business data. With ERP bots, the management team can get quick and easy access to enterprise level data and insights for faster and data-driven decision making. This will help the internal workforce focus more on taking up strategic roles, deriving insights through data analysis to fuel decision making, rather than investing time in routine and repetitive tasks.

Chatbots are set to transform customer experience to a whole new degree. They are finding a lot of buyers in the Indian market as well with Rasa, Wit.ai, Oracle and Dialog flow being few of the trending chatbot development platforms. There are numerous banks, insurance companies and other businesses that have realized the benefits of deploying a chatbot on their digital assets and are working towards making them a part of their virtual workforce. Chatbots will help customers to resolve their queries anytime, from the convenience of their home, office or on the go with just a few taps on their mobile screens or by speaking into the phone. As a Gartner report suggests, by 2020, nearly 25 percent of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistants or chatbots across engagement channels. They will optimize organizational resources, an imperative in this challenging business landscape. With enhanced user experience, chatbots would bolster customer acquisition, engagement and retention, adding immense value to businesses.