We’re in the midst of one of the biggest communication shifts in history. Mobile technology has fundamentally changed the landscape of communication, allowing for instantaneous exchanges of messages and immediate access to information. Since the number of global mobile users surpassed that of desktop way back in 2014, we haven’t looked back.
This technological shift has heightened expectations for exceptional, on-the-go customer service across every industry. The immediate, real-time connections people are having in their wider social circles are raising the expectations for the interactions they’re having with businesses. Consumers expect personalized, fast and responsive service from brands anytime, anywhere.
Enter chatbots – the automated, conversational bots that can help business meet the expectation of an increasingly demanding consumer by providing 24/7 connectivity, and immediate responses.
In a recent article for Business 2 Community, Carey Wodehouse outlines the increasing focus on chatbots and details the impact they will have on customer communications.
“Popping up more and more is the use of chat bots to streamline how we communicate with customers—a trend that’s directly correlated with the rise in messaging platforms,” writes Wodehouse.
Wodehouse points out that the growth of messaging platforms has further streamlined a consistent evolution of communication standards, defined by immediacy and efficiency, and it’s starting to enter the realm of business. Technology has granted consumers a unique control over brands, giving them the power to instantly share their experience with others at the mere click of a button.
To meet customer expectations, businesses cannot afford to rely solely on traditional communication channels to engage customers. They must explore new grounds, adapt and be present where consumers are spending most of their time. The best companies will even go so far as to invest in identifying future trends in the hopes of surpassing customer expectations with newer and more cutting-edge strategies.
“Businesses have to be where customers are, and that’s less inside mobile apps, and more so in messaging platforms.”
The Rise of Bots
Bots aren’t new – they’ve been around since 1966 – so why are they now emerging as a more permanent solution to bridge the gap between good customer service and high customer expectations? Yes, the technology has improved, giving bots increased utility, but the answer goes deeper.
There are 2 main reasons that chabots have emerged as new a communication paradigm:
Consumer Expectations Have Changed, and Brands Can’t Keep Up
With just about everything available a mere click or swipe away, it’s little wonder that as a society we have become impatient. We want things faster. We want them instantly. And if we don’t get what we need from one place, we go elsewhere.
Unsurprisingly, these expectations have seeped into the customer service space and businesses are scrambling to keep up with an always-on, service-hungry consumer. The challenge of providing fast, effective, 24/7 service is real and significant.
One reason chatbots are being hailed as the next big innovation in customer service is that they give businesses the ability to interact with consumers in a way that actually meets their standards.
Afterall, as Wodehouse points out:
“…Savvy customers expect a seamless, real-time, customized way to get answers to their questions or find products they’re looking for, and bots that are integrated into messaging platforms provide an easy, cost-effective way to do this.”
Brands Are More Customer Focused Than Ever
Implementing bots boils down to one thing: Improving the customer experience. After that comes cost savings and potential for new revenue. At the very heart of it, though, is how this new(ish) technology can be used to improve the lives of consumers – to make things easier, more intuitive, or faster.
“It’s not actually a bot strategy—it’s a customer engagement strategy,” writes Wodehouse, and she couldn’t be more right.
Businesses are well versed in the power of negative customer service experiences. They know consumers are fickle (65% of consumers would happily cut ties with a brand over a single poor experience). They know that social media provide an incredibly public and easily accessible platform to voice complaints and negative experiences.
As such, more businesses are seeing the value in customer-centric strategies that consider the impact of each business decision on the customer. Chatbots represent a new and exciting technology that businesses can use to better serve their customers. The goal is to not only deliver an unparallelled service experience but to drastically reduce the chance of a negative experience.
Read the full article by Carey Wodehouse on Business2Community here.