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How chatbots can help through COVID 19 in the service sector

Written by Rishi Patel

The pandemic has changed the way we interact with customers. Due to the ongoing lockdowns, restrictions and social distancing measures, means of talking to our customers have been restricted.

Enterprises across the world have struggled with dramatically increased customer service call volumes – customers working from home and relying on non-business grade IT equipment has led to phone lines being overwhelmed. 

Enter the chatbots.

With longer wait times, web visitors turn to online contact forms or live chatbots for bookings, queries and FAQs.

Experts predict that 90% of customer interactions in banks will be automated by 2022 – it’s only a matter of time until that is true of all sectors.

What is a Chatbot?

A chatbot is a computer program that is designed to simulate human conversation. Visitors to your website can be greeted via a small messenger pop up. The chatbot can interpret a customer query and load automated pre-set messages pointing your customers to the relevant resources.

Operationally, chatbots can cut costs up to 30%, and about 64% of internet users say that the opportunity to provide a 24/7 service adds the most value to both businesses and their users. Investing in a chatbot may not be the right decision for all organisations, however, when considering the service sector, businesses have seen increased customer engagement, customer service and lead generation. 

Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits.

5 Advantages of Chatbots

24/7 Availability

Tired of waiting for the next customer service agent? Chatbots are the closest thing to solving that. 

Maintaining continuous interaction with customers at any time of the day takes care of simple and frequently asked questions. This can significantly reduce the burden on human agents, as they would only need to answer customers should queries be escalated.

Booking/Ordering via Chat

Chatbots which allow transactions generate real revenue and return for the business they serve. 

For example, this provides some of the functionality of a mobile app without requiring users to  install anything. This has made waves in the eCommerce space as well as bookings for all major ride-sharing services, and the functionality of these bots is increasing all the time.

Product Recommendations

With recommendations for purchases being presented dynamically based on a user’s buying history, combining this with a bot’s interaction can further increase your conversion rates. 

They can be also configured to show recommendations based on popularity of different products. Bots can also suggest coupons and promo codes based on user behaviours, which can increase cart value and encourage retention. This is a similar process an in-store sales rep would aim to fulfil.

Lead Generation

When a user responds to your chatbot, they can choose to sign up in your contact list automatically, thereby giving you more options to market to them effectively. 

Some chatbots have the functionality to message your customer if they choose to leave a product review. This can be further enhanced by adding questions regarding particular product interests, which in turn provides you added value for further marketing.

Customer Feedback

Receiving feedback is always invaluable and can identify any gaps on your website or service. It is always easier to write reviews or feedback online rather than over the phone. Chatbots can be configured to ask pending leads about their experience or how your organisation’s service could be improved – for example, more coupons, or different product bundles.

Conclusion

Chatbots are increasingly being used to fulfil dozens of business functions using single services, and with customer service phone lines becoming so costly to run, 2021 is likely to see a huge increase in their use. 

There are a range of chatbots available on the market with each its own set of features. Remember, a chatbot can speak to thousands of customers at once vs a human operator who can only work with 1 at a time.

Crucible is able to advise you on how to effectively implement a chatbot and the sort of functions that may be relevant to your organisation. If you would like to discuss this, please get in touch.