A version of this Blog was first published on the The Economic Times
Primarily ignited by the e-Commerce boom – Customer Experience (CX) has become a buzzword off-late. Directly impacting the top line, customers are now interacting and engaging with E-com companies through websites or mobile apps. As a result of this impact, significant efforts are being put towards improving CX to reduce any unwanted friction and improve customer journey through ease of navigation. Though improved User Experience (UX) has been the primary way to achieve this, Self-service Initiatives are now giving it another dimension.
Why Self-service Initiatives?
Organisations, in the last few years, have been looking at another dimension to improve CX, which is mostly via Self-service Initiatives. Driven by the objective of Empowerment, Convenience and Engagement – both organizations and their customers are now more inclined towards a DIY approach. The benefits of this approach include cost savings for companies and perception of speed and correctness to the customers, which becomes a win-win for both.
A Chatbot hence, becomes one of the most perfect tools to this end, as it reduces friction and customers can engage with it without any barrier like language, accent, availability etc.
As per Gartner’s Top 10 tech trends 2019, “4% of Gartner clients today say that they use chatbots in the workplace, but 40% intend to implement them in the near term.” Hence the impact of an AI powered Chatbot for your business, is not something to be taken lightly.
Taking a Look At Chatbot Evolution
Chatbots are software applications that are enabled by voice or messaging and facilitate interaction between businesses and their customers. Using messenger, web forms, IVR, email or any other social channel – they can be easily integrated with IoT devices, AI or Analytics platforms to send or receive information as per need.
Though they have been around for a while, organisations have now moved from rudimentary scripted chatbots to Intent recognisers or even superior Intelligent Advisors. While there are no predefined rules for the adoption of Chatbots and the relative maturity stage of the business employing them, there does need to be, however, a “conversational platform strategy” before their adoption, which means having to build a roadmap. This pre-implementation planning helps in setting the right expectations for business owners and makes them more predisposed towards achieving the committed ROI.
The application of Chatbots are diverse, some of which include:
- Call centres (responding to customer enquiries about their orders/shipment).
- Helping customers in product assembly.
- Taking notes of the meetings.
- Actions requiring approvals (access permissions, invoice approval or likes).
- Diagnostics (logistics/inventory status, Server/Hardware availability etc.)
- Execution and monitoring of scheduled tasks/jobs.
Now Coming to the Pertinent Question at Hand Regarding Where to Begin?
In order to start the journey, business leaders need to engage in defining a Conversational Platform Strategy, which leads to the identification of two important factors, namely:
- Channels of interaction between the business and customers (both internal and external).
- Processes using the channels of interaction.
Once the channels and processes have been identified, keeping in mind the future in terms of priorities and ROI, a conversational strategy can be formed. The technology team will then need to come into picture for the identification of appropriate Chatbot technology platform as per the organization’s tech adoption.
In an era of instant gratification, service speed through Chatbot engagement can be a real saviour. This implies that one of the critical factors to keep in mind here, is to stay cognizant of business objectives and not get carried away by so many technology options available today. Even more imperative for organizations to improvise their customer experience and generate good business results – using the right kind of Chatbot as a means to that end might just be the advantage that your organization needs.