In recent years, chatbots have risen in the communications ecosystem so rapidly that some say they might even replace mobile apps and websites.
Just as messaging apps and social media have replaced conventional phone calls as a means of connecting with people, so too will consumers be likely to switch to a similar service for customer support issues as the dynamics of communication change.
A chatbot, for instance, bridges the communications gap between customer and the brand, by providing instant feedback and answers to consumers’ urgent questions.
For commercial brands, these lightweight applications aim to provide value to consumers by providing information, as well as product recommendations – and delivering these to them in a speedy and accurate manner. In a world where consumers increasingly demand answers right here, right now at any time of the day, these bots serve as trusted and reliable employees, ensuring brand loyalty.
Through AI-driven conversations, chatbots have had a great impact on consumers, allowing them to experience e-commerce and other services in a completely new way.
While there’s little doubt that chatbots are the newest trend among the messenger apps, their rise merely foreshadows a huge upcoming disruption in the marketplace. It’s expected that these bots could eventually replace many “call centers” and even sales people in the foreseeable future.
Imagine bots powered with machine learning, that recognize speech and data, learn natural language patterns and interpret historical engagement based on previous interactions. Sounds a lot like super-intelligent artificial intelligence, doesn’t it?
Brands and businesses are racing to adopt (or build) a chatbot for two main reasons.
One, chatbots allows businesses to engage individual consumers in real time and participate in automated two-way conversations at scale. The second is data. A life without Big Data won’t count for much on the digital landscape. Data allows businesses to keep a measurable KPI to enhance their customer experiences and optimize engagement or sales, with the hope of future sales.
For companies doing online – and even offline – sales, think of this as the next generation search engine that serves your every need by knowing your historical purchase patterns, current needs and expectations. Imagine telling your chatbot that you need coffee, and it delivers it to your doorstep in the next 30 minutes, with the exact amount of milk and sugar in it. This is very close to becoming a reality in many parts of the world.
Within Asia, China is leading the race to develop AI driven technology, and there’s little doubt that chatbots and voice based applications will soon play an important role in meeting the daily needs of the ordinary people on the street – even ones as simple as coffee.
It is estimated by Gartner that by 2020, 85% of consumers will conduct their relationships with brands without ever having to interact with a human being. Every aspect of the interaction – from the beginning to the end – will be driven by AI.
Whether brands choose to acknowledge it or not, chatbots will continue to revolutionize the way that brands provide service to their customers, increase customer service engagement, brand loyalty and ultimately profits.
With the current pace of AI-powered chatbot development, we will continue to see an automation acceleration. Furthermore, chatbots could potentially be an evolutionary process to a stand-alone mobile app, since they can learn our habits, understand our tastes and preferences, and adapt each time we interact with them.
As we continue to incrementally evolve AI, these intelligent bots are drastically lowering the barrier when it comes to making machines that intelligently learn from prior interactions and preferences. Further down the road of discovery, we’re also singularly intent on ensuring that conversational software will one day enable humans to talk to machines naturally.
Brands and marketers need to sit up and take chatbots seriously. As chatbots become more powerful with AI and machine learning layered on top, they will not only be able to bring you closer to your customers but also help to transform your business. Stay tuned as AI-powered chatbots continue to become the fastest-growing software segment.
With 230% mobile penetration, and close to 90% smartphone penetration, Hong Kong is a city addicted to its phones, and a market where brands thrive on cutting edge technology, while jostling with one another to stand out from the crowd. With the ever-increasing cost of doing business in the city – including that of talent – Hong Kong brands must aid their businesses by playing a leading role in the development and deployment of chatbots.
Amidst the rising expectations of consumers, that only get higher with every new piece of technology made available, it’s vital that the automation and deployment of instant customer service takes center stage in Hong Kong as its already discerning consumers continue to grow ever more demanding.
Given the rapidly changing business environment, rapidly rising costs and consumer expectations, Hong Kong brands need to up their game and be there when consumers want them to be. Yes, they can hire more people to work around the clock, dealing with mundane questions such as “what time does your shop open” or “how do I fix the display on my television”, or they can adopt technologies such as chatbots to take care of these. From there on, chatbots with AI can also serve as your sales representative to upsell to your customer.
At the end of the day, the whole point of creating chatbots is to build superb customer experiences. After all, as they say, the customer is always right and we need to be there for them, always.
This article was written by Kevin Huang, CEO of Pixels Limited.