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Picture a future where calls to customer service are replaced by a quick and cheerful chat on your favourite messaging app. A helpful bot will be on the other end of the conversation, asking what you need, digesting the data and hopefully, solving your problem. As more and more businesses adopt chatbot technology, the more likely this future is. 

So what is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a conversational computer program that automates certain tasks through text or voice commands, typically by chatting with a user through a conversational interface.

A bot's primary function is to streamline interactions between people and services, eliminating expensive interactions with traditional customer representatives while providing content, facilitating a purchase or simply connecting with consumers. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), a chatbot is able to understand complex requests, personalise responses and improve interactions over time.

For any business, linking a bot to your CRM (customer relationship management) system brings it to life. Past conversations can be saved, and the bot will remember where you left off, ready to pick up and continue the conversation from the get-go.

As click-through rates increase (and email efficiency decreases) chatbots offer businesses the opportunity to engage one-on-one, 24 hours a day with their customer base. A single employee could handle an entire service department.

At the end of 2017 over 1,6 billion people were using mobile messaging apps (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Skype), where chatbots see the most usage. By the end of 2018, that number is expected to reach 2 billion, roughly 80% of all smartphone users.

As more bots interact with customers, the capacity for them to learn and grow increases exponentially. Finance, travel and retail are all prime candidates for chatbot applications, as bot AI can uncover behavioural patterns and base future queries and purchases off them. This newfound relationship between consumer and technology can be leveraged across consumers, customers and suppliers, creating a continuous channel for self-service engagement.

Why your business should consider chatbots

Interaction – Chatbots can respond to and interact with multiple vistors at a single time. In addition, chatbots provide consistent interaction, regardless of time constraints.

Response – The data collected from the interactions between visitors and chatbot can help improve your service. You can use the feedback collected from the vistors to provide additional information on your website or other platforms.

Filtering – Not all visitors are interested in working with your brand due to their lack of awareness, budget or time. A chatbot can filter leads and drive the qualified ones to your sales or marketing teams.

Guidance – A chatbot provides valuable insight for customers to get started with your product. Furthermore, it helps eradicate unfamiliarity and confusion down the road.

Facts and figures

  • The global chatbot market is expected to grow increase significantly between 2018 and 2023.
  • 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020.
  • 32% of executives say that voice recognition is the most-widely used AI technology in their company.
  • 6 billion connected devices will proactively ask for support by 2018.
  • 40% of mobile interations will be managed by smart agents by 2020.
  • There are over 10 000 developers currently developing chatbots for Facebook Messenger.

 

Vodacom Business Solutions 

 

For the latest in business tech, visit Vodacom online today and enjoy fast, freee and secure delivery straight to your door.

 

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