How chatbots help build an omnichannel experience

Published on September 25, 2017

How chatbots help build an omnichannel experience

    Almost every person who has a smartphone today has used the chatbot at least once. On the user’s side, bots look like simple programs in instant messengers that can solve elementary tasks using text messages. For example, they will help you find and book a ticket or pick the right bow in the online store. But what does all this look like on the other side of the barricades, how does the business implement chat bots in its work, and what real benefits can they bring to it? Is it that simple?

    Total digitalization and omnichannel


    The business is becoming more client-centric , and digital transformation is modifying business processes and approaches to customer service - the emergence of new technologies allows the consumer and his expectations to determine the development of a company or brand.

    Omni-channelism is one of the main components of business digitalization. In
    this concept a lot of definitions, but most accurately expresses the essence of it is this: the seamless interaction of the brand with customers, allowing the client to make a continuous path using different platforms. With omnichannel, all channels are united around the user. The client, making a customer journey, can seamlessly switch between channels, and at the same time receive personalized service. The main goal of omnichannel is to create a positive customer experience.

    According to Gartner, by 2018, half of the companies will try to change their business model in such a way as to improve their user experience. And by 2020, user experience will overtake in its importance to the consumer the price and quality of the product itself ( Walker ).

    Omni-channel is the key to a first-class customer experience, and, consequently, to increasing the profitability of a business. According to Forbes, today organizations use an average of 35 (!) Different systems to collect data that are practically not integrated with each other. It turns out that most companies do not know how to identify a client and do not understand the mechanics of their customer journey through various digital channels.

    But for modern users, especially millennials and generation Z, when communicating with brands, it is important:

    1. instant and adequate feedback
    2. high-quality customer service online
    3. seamless interaction (omnichannel)
    4. intuitive and convenient interface, the ability to order and pay for a product or service in a couple of clicks.

    Companies face a number of important tasks: to be able to identify and track the client’s path, form a pool of data about him and very quickly respond to user requests in any digital channels.

    There are several main barriers to this path:

    - companies cannot independently work with Big Data
    - they are not able to identify the client. Dimension Data research across the globe shows that only 36% of organizations can track transitions between multiple channels.
    - do not understand how to automate the work of a client service

    According to eConsultancyConsumers prefer to receive support primarily through the three main channels: telephone, email and live chat. Moreover, 61% of them cannot easily switch between channels when communicating with customer support ( Aspect ). Chat bots can close the problem of automating customer service and customer support when changing the channel by almost 100%.

    Chatbots and omnichannel


    Seamless brand communication with customers is realized through a pool of various technologies. The use of bots helps to increase the efficiency of customer service, primarily due to the routing and personalization of incoming calls.

    According to BI Intelligence, November 2016 chatbots can save up to 30% of resources, proportionally increasing the overall profitability of the business.

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    By themselves, technology is losing its value for online users, quality and fast customer service come first. A modern client wants to get an answer to their questions here and now, quickly solve the problem, get timely help or advice. At the same time, the user can access the company’s website from at least 3-5 devices, and from several accounts from different social networks. However, he expects that the dialogue with him will continue from the place where he finished it. The request of support service operators to repeat their requests several times is only annoying.

    In order to remain effective, the business strengthens customer support: companies use the services of outsourced contact centers (KC) or try to create their house, but the old scheme of working only with voice calls no longer allows KT to be effective.

    Big business uses corporate KC for customer information support. The working day of ordinary employees is limited, while the client may need help at any time, whether it is late evening or a day off. Chatbots can provide 24/7 customer support. Accordingly, the need for bots will only grow.

    According to the iKS-Consulting analytical company, the average annual growth of the outsourcing contact center market until 2020 will remain at 5.5%.

    And the second point - high-quality customer service without processing of text channels is impossible today. Text channels increase the share in the total volume of communications, and this sets the task for the business to be able to work effectively with them. To communicate with companies, 90% of modern consumers prefer to use instant messengers (according to Twilio). This is one of the key points that chatbot developers are betting on - automation of work on processing simple initial calls. For example, the introduction of the YouDrive car-sharing bot support service helped ⅔ reduce the number of calls to the company.

    Most modern consumers are not against the first contact with the business using chat bots. To quickly get answers to your questions, many are ready to interact with chat bots. Byinformation emarketer companies to ask questions in online chat rooms and instant messengers have preferred a third of all active Internet users.
    Swedbank’s Nina web assistant, a major Swedish bank, conducts up to 30,000 instant messenger calls per month and can handle over 350 different customer requests. This level of service is what many companies strive for.

    There are known figures according to which an increase in the quality of customer request processing by 10% can increase sales efficiency by almost 2 times. Using chat bots, you can improve the quality of customer support without making additional costs for expanding the sales department staff.

    There is another point that many prefer not to mention out loud - pseudo-omnichannel. Very often, IT solution providers or marketers talk about an omnichannel approach and the introduction of seamless interaction in business processes. In fact, a company or brand simply learned to work with several different communication channels. When a client communicates with a company, he does not receive any seamless experience: when a client addresses, the company manager does not see what his colleagues were talking about with the client in another channel.

    To develop an omnichannel approach, it is necessary that the company's management have a clear vision of digital transformation, as well as an established strategy for working in digital and text channels.

    The results of a Dimension Data study around the world show that only 17% are able to identify problem points of interaction on the client’s path. For most companies, compiling a map of customer transitions between all channels and analyzing problem points of customer experience is an impossible task. Namely, these places are growth points for proactive digital communication with customers. Smart chat bots in conjunction with artificial intelligence and Big Data help to implement proactive user interaction scenarios.

    Where and in what business are bots useful?


    According to businesswire.com research, today the most promising industries for using bots are related to customer service. First of all, this is banking, insurance and e-commerce, as well as booking tickets and tours.

    Chatbots make customer service more efficient by automating routines - this is one of their strengths. The more “smart” chat bots are, the greater the share of standard repetitive processes they are ready to take on. Here are a couple of encouraging examples.

    In the H&M mobile application, the chatbot asks the client questions about their preferred clothing style. Having collected all the information, the bot gives recommendations on things that are best suited to the tastes of the buyer.

    At startup HelloAvaThe bot works as an expert who gives clients personalized advice on skin care.

    And here is an example of the successful application of an advanced bot - Zoryan's smart chat bot. It was introduced in its work by the Ukrainian telecom operator Kyivstar. The Zoryana database has 12,000 standardized answers to customer questions, the bot helps with solving 70% of incoming questions. He works on the company's website, in its social networks and instant messengers, and he helps the operator’s call center. A link to Zoryana is in the standard voice menu, if desired, the user can ask his questions to the bot: 25% of callers go from IVR to Zoryana. And only 10% of these 25% then call back to the CC. This suggests that the bot copes with the solution of simple client requests, unloads live operators and takes on the main routine of communicating with clients.

    According to Market Research Future forecasts, the global chatbot market will grow by 20% by 2023 and reach a turnover of $ 6 billion. The use of bots for effective communication with customers in digital channels is only gaining momentum and in the near future will open up broad prospects for business.

    Despite the bright prospects from the introduction of bots, which have intensified the heat of the media lately, there are a number of serious limitations in their application:

    • The business does not understand how to implement bots. He does not have an established strategy for working in digital channels or a roadmap for digital transformation.
    • The development of bots is divorced from business processes, and many IT vendors seek to increase hype to increase the flow of calls.
    • In the mass sector, bots still do not know how to accurately recognize the voice and translate it into text. There are very advanced solutions on the market, but their cost is still very high.
    • There are practically no solutions on the market that can be easily integrated with third-party platforms. Therefore, it is difficult to implement chat bots in business processes. One of the pioneers of such solutions is the LiveTex company, which has recently launched a communication API on the market, with the help of which it is possible not only to integrate the bot into the platform for omnichannel service, but also to collect statistics on all requests from all text channels and calculate the effect of their implementation.

    What is the bottom line?


    Today, business is only experimenting with chat bots. He uses them to optimize customer support services and automate routine activities. For businesses, the attractiveness of chatbots lies in operational efficiency and cost savings, as well as in managing customer interactions. Chatbots can be a competitive advantage, helping to save time and money and increase customer loyalty.

    Forecasts say that the chatbot market will grow, and the use of artificial intelligence will make them much smarter and will greatly expand the functionality. However, there is no magic pill. Business will need to do a lot of work to digitalize all its processes, internal and external communications.

    Digital customer support is a promise of speed, efficiency and, to a large extent, a sense of control. Chatbots are a great tool for this, with which you can create a real omnichannel customer experience. However, it is important to understand how to correctly adapt bots to business processes and company structure.