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Chatbots

Why 2021 Is the Year to Start With a Chatbot

While chatbots have begun to gain traction in the past few years, they have in fact been around for some time. In 1966, Eliza - the first chatbot - made its debut, but it was only able to answer a few simple questions. Since, thanks to the advancement in technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP), chatbots are becoming smarter by the day. What's next?

Beyond answering simple questions, chatbots can now not only answer advanced queries but also help businesses stay in touch with customers 24/7. This has been critical for businesses during the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced us to deal with greater demand due to a widespread shift to living life online. 

Going forward, bots are expected to become even more advanced, which means even more organizations will adopt the technology to boost customer service improvements and increase lead generation more efficiently. In 2021, more than 85% of customer interaction will be handled without human agents, while $5 billion will be invested in conversation bots, according to Chatbots Magazine.  

What Else Can We Expect From Chatbots in 2021?

  1. 50% of businesses plan to spend more on chatbots than on mobile apps: In the “post-app era,” chatbots will become the face of AI and bots will transform the way apps are built, according to Gartner. Traditional apps, which are downloaded from a store to a mobile device, will become just one of many options for customers. 
  2. 57% of organizations agree that conversational bots can deliver a large return on investment for minimal effort: Figures from Accenture businesses are beginning to show the potential that chatbots can deliver. Bots can help to streamline and operate automation across organizations of all sizes, ultimately improving productivity and lowering overhead costs. With the provided user data, you will be able to make more informed decisions and craft more relevant experiences for your users.  
  3. Chatbots will become more emotional: Many predict that 2021 will be the year when chatbots go beyond artificial intelligence to emotional intelligence. Improving their understanding of human emotions from the conversation and reply to them as per the user intent. For example, when a bot detects what you have typed, it automatically extracts information and tries to understand your mood to know if you are angry, sad, or happy using NLP sentiment analysis.  
  4. Voice bots will become mainstream: Messaging platforms with text-based and voice-based programs are gaining popularity, and 2021 could be the year that they begin to go mainstream. Research shows that thanks to the popularity of AI assistants such as Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, digital consumers now prefer messaging platforms that have voice-based interfaces. Voice bots look set to prove just as beneficial for businesses too, as they can provide an element of personalization that reduces the problems face as a result of a users' requirements. 
  5. Transactional bots are here to stay: In 2017, 40% of businesses had implemented chatbots for sales and marketing purposes, according to Accenture, with a further 54% planning to do so in the coming years. This is a figure that has likely grown in recent months, and with companies looking to integrate sales with service to facilitate customers’ requests, transactional bots are set to go mainstream. Transactional bots open the door for Conversational Commerce.  
  6. The need for Customer Engagement Hubs: As a result of the pandemic and the shift to online living, Customer Engagement Hubs (CEH) are becoming more important for organizations as they tie multiple systems together to engage with customers optimally. By combining bots, human agents, and data, businesses can provide proactive and reactive communication as well as personalized, contextual customer engagement. For example, a CEH can reach and connect all departments to synchronize marketing, sales, and customer service processes.  
  7. Businesses will implement a chatbot for broader purposes: Going forward, businesses won’t just be using bots to improve customer communication and to drive sales. Chatbots and AI technologies also look set to revolutionize the way companies communicate internally, enabling internal workflows to be streamlined and employee questions to be dealt with on an automated basis. Innovative companies are already using similar technologies to create an internal knowledge base or using it as the base of their IT service desk. 

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Stay Ahead, Invest in Chatbots

Chatbots, whether AI-powered or scripted, help companies offer the level of customer service that customers expect. You need to adopt new technologies to live up to changing customer expectations, create an innovative brand, and enable cost-efficient digital transformation. 

Customer Convenience 

The majority of customers don’t want to pick up the phone or type out an email for every inquiry and would rather interact with brands online. Recent data shows that 71% of millennials prefer to connect with companies through chatbots and the reasons are obvious; customers don't have to wait, can handle many challenges on their own while experiencing a personal and intuitive customer experience.

24/7 Availability 

Not only do chatbots provide support quickly and efficiently, but they also allow companies to interact with their customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A bot is available around the clock, which means it can reliably take care of customer inquiries at all times of the day, and even at weekends. 

Scale Up and Save Costs

Given the advanced nature of chatbots, they can handle thousands of customers’ requests at the same time, without a hitch. This enables companies to scale up resources while saving both money and time. According to IBM, companies handle 265 billion customer inquiries each year at a cost of $1.3 billion. By implementing a bot, companies can save up to 30% of these costs.  

Control Conversations

Companies that invest in chatbots enjoy full control over what is communicated with their customers. The programming and conversational designing process means you can ensure that you will no longer be sharing outdated information or incorrect details, nor will customers be faced with grumpy or rude customer service operators.  

Build Your Brand

A recent survey found that 43% of consumers perceive companies that use chatbots as “innovative”, while 22% see brands are “more efficient” in their customer service. These bots can also be catered to showcase the brand image you’re after - a fun-looking character, for example, adds life to basic human-bot interaction. A warm welcome message will also give customers an instant positive image of your brand.  

Find the Best Chatbot for Your Business

There are many different types of bots and you should consider which kind will provide you with the most benefit and the highest return on investment. At CM.com we offer different kinds of conversational solutions, including voice bots, chatbots, conversational AI, and all-in-one software solutions. Integrate with tools and software of your choice to create a complete Customer Engagement Hub or combine with commercial solutions to offer conversational commerce. 

Offer 24/7 outstanding customer service with the conversational technology of your choice. Discover our chatbot solutions or read more in the paper 'The Power of AI'.

As a copywriter, Brechtje shares a lot of content for our Customer Service, Customer Support, Marketing & Sales community. Believes in 'customer first'.

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