What is a chatbot?
Let’s begin with a common misconception: bots do not simply chat, they solve.
In 2022, companies are not applying chatbots to simply chat with their customers, but to reach a depth of problem-solving that could ultimately increase revenue.
But what exactly are those problems? In order to understand them, there is one key parameter that needs attention: communication.
A chatbot is a tool that helps automate communication with customers. The bot-assistant is able to communicate with potential customers by itself according to a pre-prepared scenario: it answers general questions, can send documents or a link, and, if necessary, transfer the conversation to a specialist. The specialist is then able to dive deeper into the necessary depth where the information received is then manually logged, analysed, processed and, in turn, is used to increase revenue. In 2022, the artificial intelligence behind the chatbots has reached a stage that is able to do so in a shockingly effective way.
There is still a debate that lingers on in the heads of decision makers at businesses. Between a chatbot and a human, what should they choose? Could they apply both?
Chatbot vs. human
Evidence shows that 80% of consumers report chatbot experiences as positive. This does not mean that the opposite is true for humans. Professional human operators can be very pleasant to talk to, but they can also drive a person crazy if following a script to questions that they do not have an answer to. It makes them sound… robotic. At the same time, perfection in handling questions, particularly difficult ones, is rare. But are chatbots really that much better?
Chatbots are used to optimize working hours of employees, because many clients ask similar questions and call center operators have to give the same answers every time. In this way, companies are able to automate and minimize costs by using a chatbot. The average salary of a call center agent in the United States is between $20-45K. This is, however, a small figure compared to the costs of developing a chatbot.
The costs of developing a chatbot may not be worth it for smaller companies, unless a basic model will suffice. Companies have to ask themselves: what is it that we want to accomplish? How deep should the communication be?
Developing a new chatbot internally within a company can cost $300,000. Whereas a basic template from a prefabricated chatbot framework could cost $40,000. An extremely basic, almost useless version could be free – but who wants to anger their customers with the deliverance of poor quality responses? A good chatbot, therefore, would require a large initial outlay. Companies must take into account their budget, size and number of requests to make sure that it is feasible.
Which types of companies use chatbots in 2022?
Chatbots are actively used in different spheres of business. They are in demand in banks when acquainting clients with new products, in energy companies they help to keep records of electricity readings, and in travel agencies they can notify about lower prices and hot deals.
An example scenario: the bot first redirects the user to fill out a form on the site specifying the dates of the trip and desired destinations, after which monitoring is triggered by the specified criteria. Based on this data, the subscriber is periodically notified of price reductions, such as airfare. In addition, bots can be used to sign up clients for a service, take orders, and book a time slot for a consultation with a specialist. Chatbots significantly increase the speed of service and take the load off operators.
Would a company benefit from the above? Possibly, but it would once again depend on the scale and volume of requests. Despite the downturn in the economy, the number of requests for chatbots increased by 17% in 2021.
So why are they increasing in popularity?
Their popularity is due to several factors: instant response to the user’s request, no need to leave the usual messengers and minimal effort to perform the targeted action. For the convenience of customers, companies create chatbots in different applications, and this opens up new opportunities to improve customer service, such as fast and round-the-clock customer support. In addition, bots help customers solve many issues from the comfort of their own homes, which in today’s environment provides health security. During the pandemic, many companies became interested in corporate chatbots. The most in-demand were assistants that can quickly access documents (42%) and those that place an order and confirm delivery (36%).
It is expected that the chat-bot niche will grow by 30% in the next year because this segment of the IT market can be called the most in-demand in the last few years. Artificial intelligence is not only used as a technical support for customers, but also helps analyze the behavior, habits and preferences of users. Chatbots are changing the way we communicate with our customers and opening up new opportunities for the development of different business areas. Thanks to this, companies try to keep up with their competitors and adapt to new technologies in a timely manner, thus reducing costs by 29%.
If you are a company looking to apply chatbots to provide greater effectivity in communication, you must understand the cost tradeoffs in this decision and whether handling a large number of requests and information from your customers is a priority. If you are a conglomerate or international company with a budget to spend, then this may be a firm yes. However, if you are smaller and are undecided about this tradeoff, then you need to seriously evaluate the initial outlay and complexity of information processing.
In the year 2022, chatbots are here to stay and the giants like Google, Amazon and IBM are constantly advancing their complexity and “human-like” nature.
Are you a decision-maker currently involved in choosing a chatbot for your company? Let us know in the comments below.