The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown businesses into a spin. The strict lockdown measures undertaken by authorities have forced businesses to close. Their customer support departments have been hit particularly hard as call centers across the world remain closed.
Now, more than ever, businesses are turning to AI and chatbots to keep communications with the rest of the world open.
Filling the Gap
Chatbots are helping fill the gap left by human operators currently restrained by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This helps businesses stay relevant and respond to the uptick in queries. Businesses that have already deployed chatbots are reaping benefits such as:
· Quick response
Chatbots, unlike human operators, are not restricted by time. They are never tied down by other tasks. They can also serve thousands of people simultaneously. To this end, responses to queries are almost immediate.
People hate waiting on the line, so the quick response improves the customer’s user experience. It can also help nurture a long-term relationship with customers as they will feel more valued and appreciated.
· No hold time
Holding is just as frustrating as waiting. It is, however, inevitable when using human operators. Oftentimes the operators have to consult their colleagues or run searches to answer customers’ queries satisfactorily. Some operators also do it just to get the customers to hang up.
Chatbots don’t ask callers to wait or hold. They are advanced algorithms programmed to answer customers’ questions. Answers come quickly to them, so callers don’t have to wait. They also don’t mind working with annoying customers so that no one will be ignored or cut off.
· No human interaction
People apparently prefer having their queries handled by chatbots instead of human operators. A study published by Zdnet found more than half of respondents prefer chatbots to human operators. 69% of the respondents also acknowledge the quick response time afforded by chatbots.
People prefer dealing with chatbots because they are quick and straight-to-the-point. Human operators, as mentioned, can be rude to customers and don’t always go all the way when answering queries.
Benefits Beyond the Pandemic
More businesses were switching to chatbots and AI even before the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend is expected to continue well after the pandemic is over, and the benefits will be bigger and better.
Developers of chatbots are using Artificial Intelligence technology to try to make these bots more human-like. The goal is to make them so efficient that callers think they are talking to real human operators.
Chatbots currently have limited capabilities. Most only answer commonly asked questions, but some are sophisticated enough to understand unique queries and come up with relevant answers, albeit the answers sometimes seem inappropriate or bizarre. Some chatbots are also sophisticated enough to answer voice calls and mimic speech.
Chatbots are also getting integrated into CRMs. This gives them better access to data that helps them respond to queries. Their scope of utility is expanding beyond the basic FAQs to being able to answer individual, unique queries using data analysis.
As such, besides the benefits discussed earlier, chatbots will have long-term benefits such as:
· Saving money
Businesses will not need call center services or in-call customer support departments once chatbots become sophisticated and widespread enough. This will save them lots of money since chatbots are basically free and can handle thousands of queries simultaneously.
· Improving brand-customer interaction
Most brands don’t interact with their customers as much as they should. They do not have enough time or resources to communicate with as many of their customers as necessary. This, however, will change in the future as chatbots will be capable of holding direct conversations about virtually anything regarding the business with as many people as necessary.
Chatbots will help you keep in touch with your customers despite the lockdown imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. They may also be instrumental in the future growth of your business as they become more sophisticated.
Any business, including yours, can and should use chatbots. Eligible industries include medicine, fitness, real estate, manufacturing, and more!
For more information about chatbots contact soolis at soolisai.com