Chatbots have come a long way since their inception, which can be traced back to 1966, with the arrival of ELIZA, one of the first language processing computer programs to be created for IBM. How times have moved on. Often now you can be having a ‘conversation’ with what you think is a human and you are communicating with a chatbot. At ID Studio we see chatbots as a significant growth industry that will continue to make enormous headway throughout 2020 and beyond.
Without being aware of it, many of us are using a chatbot daily. This could be through Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant or a ‘live chat’ application on a website that acts just like a human would. How many times have you recently visited a website and a ‘chat now’ option opens? Been halfway through an online buying process and a chat window appears trying to address any concerns or issues? They have become the norm in many circumstances.
This doesn’t mean that chatbots are flawless, far from it, they are not yet fully capable of complete cognitive perception, and we will cover some of their flaws later in this blog.
The following points made below are a generalisation, some will not be relevant for all business types or industry sectors. One of the first areas we encourage our clients to look at is their user base. According to Google trends, the core age group that is most interested in chatbot usage are people aged 18 – 49 (mainly men). However, this massively decreases when you look at people aged 50+. It is vital to make sure there is a demand for it and that it doesn’t put off your customer base. The whole point of the chatbot is to serve your website visitors, such as to resolve an issue, provide information or answering a question. We believe that businesses who adapt their chatbots to their clients’ needs will be ahead of the game, gaining a competitive advantage over their rivals.
If you incorporate a chatbot that doesn’t work correctly, this can have disastrous consequences for your business and your reputation. Not only do you annoy and frustrate your potential customer base, but you are also likely to encourage them to leave your website for a rival.
There are many ways that businesses can use chatbots to help improve their efficiency and customer experience. Some of the main benefits are listed below:
As we have witnessed in the past few years, the global uptake of chatbots and their ability to mimic human behaviour has grown massively. Global Market Insights predicts the chatbot market to be worth US$1.3 billion by 2024.
Bots will continue to improve, as AI evolves, many experts believe in the future that they will learn to tailor their responses to the individual, learning about their preferences, insights and characteristics along the way.
Another potential area for strong growth will be the use of chatbots for making payments, Mastercard currently makes excellent use of this functionality.
Should you tell your site visitor from the beginning that they are dealing with a chatbot, not a human? A recent study from MindShare states that 75% of customers want to know if they are dealing with a bot or human. I would want to know, however, this may change as we become more accustomed to using bots, and it becomes the norm.
Finally, for any chatbot to work well, businesses need to have a thorough understanding of their requirements, visitor characteristics, continuously analyse and review data to keep improving the experience. The cost savings that can be offered by a chatbot that is set up correctly will continue to attract the attention of businesses.