3 Reasons Why Chatbots Will Become More Important to Retailers in 2019
Most consumers today have encountered an automated “helper” that’s routed them to the correct support representative or even suggested complementary products for them based on the items in their digital shopping cart. What used to be an experience uniquely associated with brick-and-mortar store sales associates asking, “how can I help you?” has now reached e-commerce sites with the rise of chatbots. In fact, BI Intelligence experts predict that by 2020, 80 percent of businesses will be using chatbots.
With chatbots able to engage customers seamlessly around the clock, they're poised to completely change the online customer experience game, while saving time and money. However, while a complete robot takeover may not be imminent, here are three reasons why chatbots will become more important to retailers this year.
The Newest Members of Your Workforce
The latest hires to your workforce won’t just be people; they will be machines. In fact, the likelihood of support specialists being replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) is over 60 percent. This is where chatbots come in. According to Gartner, chatbots offer “conversational AI-first” user experiences that are set to be adopted by most enterprise organizations come 2020. As such, more retailers will be implementing conversational chatbots to solve customer service issues without having to pass customers off to real-life staffers. The primary task for chatbots is to assist customers with getting to their end goal as quickly as possible, whether it's finding out more information or making a sale. In the end, the goal of chatbots is to ideally replicate the success of top-performing customer agents.
Time and Money Savings
Chatbots are also readied to save organizations time and money as they become more widely adopted in 2019. Juniper Research forecasts that bots could save businesses $8 billion annually worldwide by 2022, equating to an average cost savings of 50 cents to 70 cents per interaction. While most of these savings will result from replacing humans with chatbots in jobs at call centers and customer support sites, they will also come from saving time on each individual interaction.
With chatbots saving on average four minutes per inquiry, a force of chatbots will be able to address a larger number of customer inquiries in a shorter period of time, therefore saving enterprises money. This additional time and cost savings will be attractive to businesses in the coming year, especially to those that are trying to improve growth margins.
New Face of Customer Experience
With the evolving demands of customers in the digital age, chatbots will establish themselves as a necessary tool for sales and marketing teams. Customers have fully adopted technology in the always-on digital age and want to see businesses that they interact with adopt it too. Consumers have come to expect instant customer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are loyal to businesses that provide this level of service. With the ability to answer instantly without taking the time to search for information and no limit to “business hours,” chatbots can help organizations meet these customer expectations. Gartner predicts that 25 percent of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020.
Furthermore, with chatbots becoming more intelligent and human-like, they will further improve customer experience by engaging in natural conversations and providing assistance the same as a human representative would. These meaningful, engaging interactions with customer support will not only improve customer experience (CX), but also increase the level of trust in the organization as a whole, helping to ensure customers remain loyal to the brand.
As AI continues to improve in 2019, organizations will look to chatbots to be on the front-line of customer engagement as a human salesperson would. They will open up new possibilities in the workforce, while also saving time and money for organizations as financial numbers remain of utmost importance for enterprises of all sizes. With constantly improving technology, consumers will no longer need to leave the house to receive the instantaneous and constant support they seek in a customer experience.
Patrick Welch is president and chief marketing officer of Bigtincan, a sales enablement platform.
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