Stephen Ball of Aspect discusses how chatbots have become a popular addition to the websites of many high-profile organisations.
Chatbots have become a key element of some customer services operations, and with more organisations looking at how they can deploy AI and automation within their contact centres, it’s a trend that is only set to continue growing.
Earlier this year, Aspect Software polled a range of contact centre managers on the technology trends that they believe are currently disrupting customer journeys. Through this research, they discovered that whilst 37% are currently using a chatbot, a staggering 55% of contact centres are planning to use one, demonstrating the huge growth this technology is set to see in the near future.
The research also found that chatbots are most commonly deployed for websites, with all respondents stating that they either already do or are planning to deploy a chatbot on their website, followed by Facebook Messenger (46%).
However, on the flip side, only 17% currently deploy or are planning to deploy chatbots on Twitter DM, only 9% on WhatsApp and only 3% on SMS/iMessage.
It’s great to see that the majority of organisations have realised the benefits of implementing chatbots, but what’s surprising to see is the limited channels chatbots are planned to be deployed on.
When implementing this kind of technology, the work that goes into creating the conversational architecture and dialogue flow is such that it seems like a wasted opportunity to only deploy this on a website. Perhaps it’s a case of organisations wanting to test the waters before diving in and committing to this kind of deployment across multiple channels.
However, consumers are increasingly demanding new ways of interacting with brands and also hopping between communications channels. Being able to offer automated chatbots over a variety of channels therefore provides organisations with an advantage over competitors.
Creating a Seamless Experience
It is important, though, that the offering is truly omnichannel and that customers can move from one channel to the next seamlessly. As outlined above, customers want to be able to take a query to a company via Facebook Messenger and escalate that to, say, making a booking through a website or speaking with an agent over the phone, without having to repeat information. This is arguably the most important part of implementing new technologies, because at the end of the day, you want to make their journey with you easier and smoother.
Bringing Automation to Life
Another area that makes this improved service a reality is natural language processing (NLP) – a fact that the majority of contact centre managers agree with, with 92% of those surveyed believing that this is an important element of the customer experience in automated self-service. This refers to the tool’s ability to interpret what a customer has written, comprehend its meaning and determine an action – in order for chatbots to be successful, this is an essential tool.
Whilst it’s encouraging that organisations are moving forward with chatbot technology and understanding the importance of NLP as part of this, it would be wise to look at a wider variety of channels to ensure they are best deploying the technology for customers who will be interested in using this communication method.
Aspect Software recently built a ‘wine bot’ on Facebook Messenger for the UK branch of the supermarket chain Lidl in order to help them deliver an interactive and engaging way to impart their wine knowledge to their customers.