Every new invention gets its 15 minutes of fame. However, only those that prove to have an impact and solve real problems make it past the initial hype. Therefore, before adopting chatbot technology we should try to answer why are chatbots important?
To understand where and how chatbots can play an essential role in your business, we looked at customer experience statistics and studies focusing on the types and impact of customer frustrations in your businesses as well as general attitudes towards chatbots.
Biggest Consumer Frustrations
Understanding the importance of chatbots doesn’t start with fancy terms like artificial intelligence and machine learning… It starts with consumer frustrations encountered along the customer journey.
Did you know that:
- 79% of consumers who submitted complaints about receiving poor customer experience online had their complaints completely ignored.
- For 27% of Americans, the number one frustration with customer service is “lack of effectiveness” and for 12% of them it’s “lack of speed”
- Most common online consumer frustrations include not being able to get answers to simple questions (34%); website being hard to navigate (30%); contact info being hard to locate (25%); poorly designed smartphones apps (23%)
- 35% of consumers find most frustrating representative’s lack of knowledge or inability to resolve the issue
Rising Consumer Expectations
The frustrations grow ever greater as consumer expectations of service quality increase from year to year.
According to Accenture, 87% of surveyed businesses agreed that traditional experiences no longer satisfy customers. Furthermore, a study by Temkin Group estimated that even a small improvement in customer experience can impact the revenue of a billion-dollar company an average of $775 million in just three years.
Their estimate is not far from the truth as 74% of business buyers and 67% of consumers surveyed by Salesforce said they were willing to pay more for a great experience. This means price lost its power as a deciding factor. Consumers consider the experience, the infrastructure around your product or service as important as the product itself.
And the increased pressure to deliver exceptional experience is not going anywhere. According to a report by Microsoft, 55% of shoppers have higher expectations of customer support today as compared to one year ago. Moreover, this percentage goes up to 70% if we only look at consumers aged from 18 to 34 and to 57% for ages 35-54. The report also points out that, globally, 90% of consumers say that customer service is a somewhat or very important factor in choosing a brand.
The quality of customer experience has become the new trust factor.
Impact of Frustrating Customer Experiences
Due to this development, frustrating potential or existing customers can be a costly affair for any type of business.
According to the Global State of Customer Service report by Microsoft, 58% of consumers around the world will sever a relationship with a business because of poor customer service. What’s even more important, Zendesk reported that an incredible 91% of customers who feel unhappy with a brand will just leave without complaining.
Hence, being able to provide efficient and satisfactory customer interactions throughout their entire journey has become as important as offering a good product and more important than its price.
What’s the Importance of Chatbots and AI Technology in CX?
Many businesses still believe that the best way to go about customer engagement and support is through human interaction. In an ideal world, they would have been right. However, having enough staff to deal with all the pre and post-purchase queries is labor and resource-intensive as well as unscalable.
The good news is not every customer expects you to have a human agent readily available at all times. In fact, overwhelming, 86% of consumers expect online self-service options (Microsoft). Rather than human interactions, people put emphasis on 24-hour service. When they can’t do this, they get frustrated and start looking for what they need elsewhere.
A rule-based or AI-based chatbot on a website or a messaging app like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger can provide just that.
The way a chatbot works, it’s able to provide both the speed of automation and human touch by relying on the most natural medium of communication, conversation.
When questioned about possible uses and benefits of chatbots, consumers agreed on 24-hour service, receiving an instant response, answering simple questions, quick complaint resolution as well as being able to reach a relevant agent more easily. In fact, after experiencing a positive interaction with a chatbot, 72% of consumers placed higher trust in the brand, 71% of them shared positive feedback with their friends and family and 64% gave the brand a high rating or shared positive feedback on social media.
However, that is just the tip of the iceberg of why are chatbots important to businesses.
While customers see quick and friendly service, on the business side, you perceive real-time data collection and processing; the ability to instantly personalize lead qualification & nurture on an individual level; as well as the ability to scale without putting a strain on your resources.
The scalability benefit of chatbots became especially obvious and relevant after the severe impact of the COVID-19 crisis when businesses without virtual assistants struggled to deliver the experiences their customers expected. The crisis inspired a new wave of digitization with many commercial as well as governmental and NGO organizations building chatbots to keep up with the volume of queries and necessity for speed and simplicity.
The importance of chatbots in business then goes way beyond what customers see and experience. Their true significance lies in their ability to not only interact in real-time but also process and communicate the results of these interactions to the rest of the tools and human employees that make up part of the workflow. It’s what transforms them from simple text-based ways of instant communication into full-fledged conversational business applications.
To Sum Things Up…
The answer to why are chatbots important lies in the growing consumer expectations. The traditional company-customer one-way relationship is obsolete. Consumers are demanding attention, two-way communication, and positive experiences.
Chatbots are able to address these needs on a large scale preserving the personal touch on the customer end while offering the automation boost on the business end. Besides the efficiency and consistency expected of a computer program, chatbots are able to bring personality and emotion into the interactions, making customer experiences memorable and the image of the brand stronger.