Chat bots were developed in 1960s for the first time but after half a century the world seems technologically savvy enough to accept its existence. Its success can be attributed to the growth of AI, language processing systems and growth in such online services like movie ticket bookings, hotel reservations, etc.
A chat bot can conduct a conversation via texts or voice. It is a computer program based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) which can simulate human behaviour and respond to any person’s queries, or in some cases, merely strike a conversation like a normal human being would have done. They are mostly used in various organizations to reply to customers’ queries. They search for keywords in the queries and retrieve the closest match from its pool of pre-defined answers or database, as we commonly call it or some advanced chat bots use natural language processing systems to do their job more effectively.
History Behind Chatbots
Siri was introduced in the year 2010, Watsons in the year 2011, Bixby was first introduced in the year 2012, though Samsung has started to market it only in the year 2017. Alexa saw the light in the year 2014 and we saw the usable Google Assistant in the year 2016 for the first time. The development has not seen a halt in this sector and we are seeing many new assistants from the Chinese OEMs too. The competition is getting fierce and it’s a great sign which makes us hopeful about its bright future and how it can be more deeply engraved in the very core of the companies’ day-to-day affairs.
Benefits of chat bots
Chat bots offer a variety of benefits and are very beneficial for companies. They have a lower chance of making mistakes which makes them more reliable than human employees. They offer cost savings by replacing human beings and being almost similarly effective. Companies need not worry about them suffering from health issues and they won’t demand holidays or hike in salaries. Chat bots will reduce the burden of employees by taking over those monotonous works which are making them less efficient. This will make the human force to focus on their core work and perform better.
Disadvantages of chat bots
Chat bots are not without their share of downsides. The greatest downside of them is that they have created a sense of insecurity amongst the human work force. Human beings are constantly in fear of being replaced. They are also suffering from a constant change in the workplace. They need a superior skill set to somehow survive. Most of the lower level employees are suffering from existential crisis.
We do know that chat bots are here to stay. So if human beings want to exist along with them in the work culture, they need skills that chat bots cannot copy, more specifically hinting at skills related to emotions and convincing power, also known as soft skills. If they are unable to upgrade their skills, they can be assured of being replaced, sooner or later.
It has long been predicted that chatbots will soon become the face of artificial intelligence based industrial revolution. By replacing monotonous tasks and giving humans quality time for superior tasks, chatbots will bring to the fore ‘what we call an intelligent industrial revolution.
Following are the 8 Dynamic Chat Bots Changes That will Revolutionize Your Company by initiating changes.
1. Removing the barrier between potential buyer and potential seller in real time
A chat bot can be a great link to remove the barriers between the provider and the receiver. It can create a real time connection and connect them both on a common platform. Let’s take the example of Facebook Messenger. Facebook IQ reports that more than 2 billion messages are being sent via Messenger every day, nowadays. According to a survey conducted by them, almost two-third of the people wanted to connect with sellers and buyers through the use of chats. The number was half when the same survey was conducted in 2016. Facebook introduced the chat bots in 2016. So it’s very clear that this facility has given them hope. Today, Facebook has more than 100,000 bots who are always online on Messenger and allow real time connection.
Take the example of ‘Book My Show’ and how it operates in the Facebook Messenger Application. When a customer tries to converse with it, it will ask him his location and it will clarify that it is just a bot. It will also tell him about the nearest cinema halls and the various movies that he can watch currently. It can also provide customers the timings for the shows. What else do we need to ask for, specially from a bot?
2. It will eventually remove most of the workers in some departments, or maybe in most of the departments
As per my prediction, chat bots will replace most of the working staff in a company, primarily the outsourced ones. Outsourcing is used mostly in these two sectors – BPO and Call Centers. For call centres, a chat bot can handle many calls at a time and do it consistently for 24/7. A human being cannot do the same. He works for a shift of say 12 hours and then he needs a break. A human being possesses only two hands and only a mouth which means he can handle a limited amount of calls at a time. On the other side, chat bots can handle a huge number of calls at the same time. BPOs uses cheap labour for repeated tasks. Such labour will soon become irrelevant with chat bots taking the centre stage. And they are more efficient and effective than these cheap labours.
3. It will increase customer satisfaction
We, humans, are emotional beings whereas chat bots are driven by rules and will follow them till programmed otherwise. Humans may end up behaving rude with a customer but chat bots will always be perfect. They can even suggest you the right movie suggestion based on your previous orders. They will still oblige to customer’s words, howsoever foul the words may be. It can also suggest some nearby restaurants based on your eating habits and preferences. It can be a great leap in customer satisfaction, which is the mainstay of every business. As per a survey by Salesforce, 66% of customers prefer 24/7 availability which makes the case for chat bots stronger. Further, 52% customers care for answers to simple questions whereas 51% customer prefer instant replies. All of these show us the light to the future and ensures that chat bots will have a significant part to play.
4. Creation of an Alternate Sales Channel
As per a survey by GlobalWebIndex, nearly 70% of people prefer texting over calling someone. And with e-commerce websites gaining huge market shares, not many want to spend an hour in stores looking for essentials. This gives a chance to online websites to improve their dominance. It also allows chat bots to converse with the buyers. They study their habits and give tailor-made answers. This creates an alternate sales channel for many brands and nowadays many Incorporations like Tommy Hilfiger and H&M have started selling via chat bots.
5. A gradual shift of chat bots from Business to Consumers to Business to Business by the year 2020
As per a survey from Gartner, 85% of enterprises will manage their relationship with customers with minimum to no human interaction. E-commerce websites have successfully showcased the prowess of the chat bots in maintaining human relations. But many people feel that the same cannot be said for Business to Business sales because of the size, complexity and the variations in the rates in that market. But the ability of chat bots to handle sales and the fact that the buyers don’t necessarily look for experience when it comes to purchasing in a b2b business makes it lucrative for chat bots to thrive. The idea, today may seem far fetched but there are substantial grounds which gives us a hope that chat bots can and will surely be also used for b2b businesses in the coming future.
6. They will be used as a marketing platform
As per a survey by Mailchimp, marketing by email receives 28% open rates and a mere 5% click-through rates on an average. On the contrary, chat bots get an average open rate of around 80% and a click-through rate of around 45%. The difference is huge and it clearly shows the stark difference between the appeal of both these means. And it also paves a way for chat bots to become a standard medium for reaching potential customers. For a feedback survey, chat bots have much lower bounce rates which makes them more usable than other methods. In this increasingly busy world, not many people want to click a link to get an insight about a particular information. So they prefer consultation and chat bots are always present to do the same. Rather than a pop-up window, a chat bot is suggested for marketing your products.
7. As much as being hired by the employer, chat bots will also be hired by the employees themselves
In today’s world, employees have started accepting the role of technology in every strata of life. And seeing its tremendous success, they too want to dive in to extract some benefits. They too will hire chat bots on behalf of them to get their work done. Chat bots can be helpful in the following departments.
- Creating schedules – chat bots can create schedules of meetings and ‘to-do lists’ on behalf of the employees and also remind them constantly of the same. Who doesn’t want a secretary?
- Planning activities – chat bots can plan holidays and trips and can show you the relevant flights and hotels for the same. You can go home today and show off to your better half about how good you are at planning without them knowing your well-kept secret.
- Sales department – This is the sector which will be affected the most. When an employee realizes that chat bots can work 24/7 and handle multiple customers at a time without being rude, do you see any chances of him not utilizing the same for his benefits? I don’t see a percent of change in that case.
8. Chat bots will soon initiate sales
With the growing popularity of chat bots, it’s not far away that they will initiate a major part of online sales. According to a survey done by AYTM Market Research in the year 2016, about 89% of people prefer bots over stupid pop-ups which take them to another website, for information purposes. After this positive response, sellers will soon start to equip landing pages with chat bots which can directly take a customer to a sales representative. It also accounts for a hassle free experience on the part of the customer. With the growing importance of AI in every sector and a growth in mobile messenger and easy extensions of AI to these applications, chat bots are having a dream run. Until and unless something significantly better is discovered, chat bots will keep their growth and will bring substantial improvements in many key sectors.
The closing thoughts
Their cost saving ability has also improved the revenues of the incorporations so they are not at all reluctant to let them be a part of their activities. And the ability of being connected 24/7 means that they can improve customer satisfaction immensely, which has been a major concern for most companies. They will be embraced with open arms and we can only expect them to be become smarter as the time progresses.