Contact centre technology like chatbots is proving highly profitable in the eCommerce industry, but how convincing is it?
The modern AI scripts we commonly refer to as ‘chatbots’ have come a long way since their origins. Where once two-dimensional conversational drones were the only available option for companies wishing to add cost effective call centre contact points, there now exists highly advanced machine learning programmes which adapt after each customer interaction. These more ‘fleshed out’ programmes take the strain off of human contact points and can save contact centres a lot of money, according to a great deal of research data.
Customer management outsourcing firm, Merchants, with whom this article was written, went into a great deal of detail on this topic a few months ago with ‘Bots Vs Humans – How Are Bots Assisting With Customer Experience?’, discussing several of the advantages for contact centres to adopting these programmes. Perhaps the biggest question is…
How do chatbots work?
A natural-language-processing chatbot employs a combination of steps to convert text or speech into structured data used to identify the appropriate response. It can perform this process by one of several ways, depending on the type of chatbot you’re talking about. Some have flagged keywords which the bot will respond to in a specific way if it detects them.
Chatbots can also determine the intent behind the verbs used in a sentence to ascertain the need of the customer and respond appropriately. Is the customer requesting information on a delivery date, or whether there is currently stock of an item, or is the customer making a complaint? Pre-flagged verbs and nouns will make this apparent to a bot. They can also employ dependency parsing by scanning items in a string of text for dependent phrases. A store can use a system like this to flag up to a human staff member issues a bot would be unable to handle.
An example might be:
‘My delivery date was for yesterday but nothing arrived. When is my delivery coming?’
One could flag any past tense terms such as ‘yesterday’ so that the bot understands it needs to inform the customer that it is contacting a human representative to take over the enquiry.
What the research says about the profitability of chatbots
A report from 2017, put together by Juniper Research, delved into the impact of chatbots on various online industries, including the eCommerce industry. The report exists behind a paywall but you can find it here. IBM stated that the report showed how ‘chatbots will save businesses more than $8 billion per year by 2022, a huge increase from the $20 million estimated for this year.’
Business Insider conducted research of its own and came to a similar conclusion. They stated that, ‘As firms work to grow consumer awareness and improve the experience, the technology will eventually become mainstream, which makes getting in early and becoming established worthwhile.’
At a time when online customers require immediate attention, successful companies need a solution which doesn’t require the hiring of 100 new customer service employees. A human worker doesn’t only require their salary; they also need workspace and equipment. A contingent of the hundreds of human call centre agents required to assist customers inquiring digitally simply isn’t viable. The chatbot is the best solution to this issue, and many customers are often not even aware that they’re dealing with a programme.
For more information on how to get this set up for your business, or for other customer management outsourcing solutions, try giving Merchants a call. They’re experts in efficient and effective customer care technology.