The Rise of Chatbots in Customer Service
I’m the first to admit that patience is a life skill I’m consistently working on. The faster I can get information, the better – and I’m not alone. A recent survey revealed that 42% of people who have ever attempted to contact a brand via social media expect a response time within 60 minutes! To quench this thirst for instant gratification, companies have started using chatbots to deliver real-time information to prospects and clients.
What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot is a conversational technology that’s built into messaging services like Facebook Messenger, Apple iMessage, Slack and more. Users can simply submit requests like, “I need to book a hotel in Tampa tonight” and the automated messenger bot can send a selection of open hotel rooms available in the area. Users can book a room through the chatbot – all while staying within the Facebook Messenger platform. The bot is built on technology using scripts, rules, and in some cases, artificial intelligence to deliver information.
For the consumer, chatbots let customers engage with brands on their own terms. They have control of the conversation and access to real-time, personalized information. Businesses like them because they can cut through the noise of conventional marketing campaigns. And unlike email marketing, where you’re lucky to get a 20% open rate, messenger apps are reported to get around a 98% open rate. Perhaps the best part? The cost to implement a messenger bot is still relatively low.
Companies like Fandango, Mattel and Marriot have all joined the chatbot bandwagon. In the insurance world specifically, we’re seeing a rise in chatbot use during the claims process. Chatbots can be designed to help customers both file – and check status on – existing claims.
It’s important to note that at this stage, chatbots aren’t replacing a traditional customer service or sales role, but they instead act as a supplement to enhance a strong platform. It’s all about meeting people where they feel most comfortable, and on their own terms.
Some chatbots built on scripts can feel a bit clunky and inauthentic; however, the use of bots is predicted to rise over the next few years, especially as artificial intelligence programs evolve and become more mainstream.
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