Not only physical, but also digital processes and communication are becoming increasingly automated. As a counterpart to robots that focus on analogue actions, the so-called bots – computer programmes that automatically execute predetermined processes – dominate the digital world. Especially in the area of customer communication, chatbots are often used to increase productivity.
In an online study conducted in 2020, 70% of respondents from the e-commerce sector were in favour of the use of chatbots.
The term chatbot refers to dialogue systems that operate on a text basis and are intended to imitate human conversations as naturally as possible. The aim is to improve the user experience on company websites and digital marketing, and often also to complete purchase processes.
How the virtual assistants work
In addition to voice bots like Siri and Alexa or other famous examples like the WHO Whatsapp-bot, there are numerous other chatbots on websites, social media and other digital channels. Each of these virtual assistants has different features specifically developed for its task. Nevertheless, all chatbots work on the basis of the same basic principle: speech recognition. The chatbot systematically classifies the individual parts of a message according to pre-programmed rules and thus finds a suitable answer for its counterpart. The speech recognition patterns and answers are contained in predefined databases.
A distinction is made between global and precise speech recognition. Questions or statements are first assigned to a topic based on keywords or other patterns and then categorised more precisely. The precision and quality of the output of chatbots depend primarily on the size of the data set and the learning ability of the bot. With the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning methods such as deep learning, the efficiency and quality of bots can be significantly increased by expanding the vocabulary and making cross connections.
By connecting chatbots with so-called Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – i.e. the connection of speech recognition systems with internal systems such as intranets or other company software – internal business processes can also be automated and simplified.
Why chatbots might be interesting for your company
Whether you are a large corporation or a small business, correctly implemented chatbots offer an advantage for virtually every company. The majority of customer concerns are limited to simple, recurring questions that do not require a complex consultation process to answer. The use of chatbots thus saves time, resources and money and at the same time allows the expansion of the customer service offering. In addition, data is collected with every customer interaction, which can be stored in the long term and also contributes positively to the learning process of the chatbots.
What is important when using chatbots in customer service?
- A good chatbot can be recognised by the fact that it is immediately indistinguishable from a human conversation partner. With this form of automated communication, the most natural form of expression possible, corresponding to that of the customer, should be used. Even the greeting can be decisive for the decision to continue using the chatbot. This is where creativity comes into play. But be careful: there is a fine line between creative attention and intrusiveness.
- Draw your customers’ attention to your virtual assistant by placing it prominently on the website. This works best with the help of a widget that activates the chatbot immediately at the click of a mouse. It is also important to explain the functionality of the chatbot to the user in a transparent way to avoid misunderstandings and scepticism.
- Customer service is possible around the clock through bots, even if not fully. Chatbots can be very helpful in customer service, especially for routine questions, and increase the efficiency of your customer service team. However, make sure that customers can be forwarded to a human advisor by the bot for more complex issues and can also be attended to personally.