There’s no shortage of analyst reports predicting the significant impact that chatbots will have on the business world.
One study says that 85% of customer interactions will be handled without human agents by 2020. Another says that by 2022, businesses will save $8 billion through the use of chatbot conversations. And another predicts that by 2023, businesses and consumers will save a combined 2.5 billion hours of their time thanks to chatbots.
But the path to achieving those business benefits isn’t always clear.
In the early days of this technology, marketers tried to realize these benefits with simple chatbots that analyzed keywords and responded with generic, pre-packaged answers. These simple chatbots freed up some time and resources—but they were far from realizing the promises that analysts continually predict.
Implementing more advanced, AI-powered chatbots are your key to realizing this technology’s true potential. And the path to success is focusing on the 3 key ways that AI-powered chatbots improve customer experience.
1. Creating Seamless Interactions with Customers
Chatbots experienced such a meteoric rise that when they fell short of expectations, the media was quick to react. Stories about chatbot failures became commonplace.
But most of those failures came as the result of overly-simplified chatbots from brands that were simply trying to jump into the latest CX trend.
When AI is built into chatbots, you get the benefit of natural language processing (NLP) to better understand customer messages. That way, customers can interact with chatbots the same way they’d chat with a live agent. That kind of seamless brand interaction brings an unparalleled level of convenience to the customer experience. And by streamlining customer experience, you can unlock new business benefits.
Automated interactions with customers can improve productivity by ensuring your support reps are only involved in high-priority, complex problems. And by creating seamless access for customers to interact with your business, you can boost lead gen and reduce churn.
Rather than losing customers when they experience issues that once required email communications or phone calls to solve, chatbots give customers instant access to your brand so you maximize retention.
2. Personalizing Marketing Activities
Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence give you an opportunity to capitalize on customer behavior in the moment.
Traditionally, you’d set up web pages and forms to capture information and have sales reach out later. Or, in an eCommerce scenario, you would capture customer information to fuel email campaigns with discounts and efforts to increase repeat purchases.
In either case, the disconnect between real-time customer behavior and your ability to address that behavior limits marketing experiences. AI-enabled chatbots can process customer interactions to automatically generate personalized offers in real time.
For eCommerce, that might mean offering discounts on a product that the customer just put in her shopping cart. In travel, that might mean building vacation packages that will differentiate your brand from competing agencies. And in B2B, that might mean delivering the right content at the right time depending on a customer’s stage in the buyer’s journey.
Studies show that consumers want their brand experiences to be more personalized. And when you deliver on those demands, you can increase conversions, reduce cart abandonment, and realize the advantages of chatbots for your bottom line.
3. Delivering Omnichannel Experiences
One of the biggest challenges for CX pros is turning siloed strategies into omnichannel customer experiences. Customers expect seamless access to your brand through more channels than ever and it’s not enough to optimize experiences on those channels individually.
Even for simple purchases, customers will bounce from channel to channel conducting research or reviewing products before making a decision. If you make customers start from scratch each time they pick up the conversation in a new channel, you risk losing them to competitors who can streamline experiences.
Chatbots that are powered by artificial intelligence can act as the bridge between your different marketing channels and the glue for overarching, omnichannel customer experiences.
One study found that 90% of consumers prefer to connect with businesses through messaging. And when you have chatbots established across channels, you can save interactions to continually improve you understanding of an individual customer’s context. Using AI-enabled chatbots to unify customer experiences leads to faster, more convenient buyer’s journeys.
But it’s not just about streamlining CX. Achieving omnichannel experiences leads to deeper engagement with customers that ultimately increases loyalty and the likelihood of repeat purchases.
Making Chatbots a Key Component of Your Customer Experience
If you’re just starting with chatbots, it’s easy to believe that their hype has been overblown. But there’s a real path to achieving their potential if you have the right strategy.
Customers demand easier ways to interact with brands and make purchases. You can’t settle for optimizing traditional customer experiences with the hope that competitors won’t pass you by.
Implementing AI-powered chatbots will help you get ahead of CX trends and exceed new expectations in the buyer’s journey.
The only challenge is avoiding the most common pitfalls of chatbot implementation and creating a strategy that sets you up for success. If you want help making the most of AI-powered chatbots for CX, contact us today for a free consultation (or talk to our chatbot).
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