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Habefast | Blog
27 March 2019 - Reading time: 5 minutes

Chatbots and customer relations

Habefast Blog Article Chatbot Customer Relation

In this article we will detail the advantages and limits of integrating chatbots into your marketing strategy.

A chatbot is a robot software that can exchange in an autonomous or semi-autonomous way with a web user through messaging applications or websites. Depending on its characteristics, it uses spoken language thanks to artificial intelligence or response scenarios to dialogue with individuals.

There are different types of chatbots available today, adaptable to your company’s needs, each with both positive and negative aspects. But what are the characteristics of chatbots and how do they influence your customer relations?

The different types of chatbots

There are three main types of chatbots – or virtual assistant, linear, non-linear and hybrid.

Linear chatbots are chatbots that do not use artificial intelligence. They are also called tree chatbots. They work by answering closed-ended questions. The chatbot follows a path defined by the company to respond to Internet users. The company has previously defined many detailed scenarios, integrating multiple choice questions for each step of the customer request process, which the chatbot applies to interact with consumers. Linear chatbots respond to very little text and their form can be compared to a customized FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), while non-linear chatbots are chatbots that use artificial intelligence.

Non-linear chatbots are chatbots that use artificial intelligence. They have the ability to understand human natural language and offer a more advanced user experience than linear chatbots with personalized and consistent responses for which human intervention is reduced. They are self-learning chatbots, which improve as they learn. That’s why it often takes many months before the chatbot accumulates enough data to respond correctly to all the requests of your company’s customers.

The latest types of chatbots are the hybrid chatbots. The latest types of chatbots are the hybrid chatbots. They combine response scenarios and artificial intelligence, offering slightly more complete responses than linear chatbots, without being completely autonomous like non-linear chatbots.

A few figures on chatbots and customer relations

Generally speaking, it has been estimated by Gartner in 2018 that 85% of customer/brand interactions will be via chatbots in 2022.

What do customers think?

Customers describe chatbots as innovative and useful but also point out the lack of customization of these tools. According to them, it is the speed of response that is the major advantage of chatbots. Customers do not trust chatbots to provide them with complex answers, especially since the more the chatbot behaves like a human, the greater the discomfort customers feel. Finally, Ubisend’s “Chabot Survey” in 2017, which collected this information, mentions that the acceptance of chatbots as communication agents will depend on their ability to increasingly personalize the relationship between the customer and the brand. The customer experience with chatbots is therefore still to be perfected.

After that, the survey notes that 74% of customers would like to use human exchanges to deal with requests that are considered more complex, but that 69% of customers prefer chatbots to human exchanges for reasons of speed.

What do companies think?

For companies, customer satisfaction is the main reason for implementing intelligent chatbots. Mind bowser found in its 2017 Chatbot Survey that 95% of companies believe that customer service will be the first to benefit from the development of chatbots. According to Forrester Consulting in 2017, 61% of companies that have adopted chatbots with artificial intelligence see an improvement in customer satisfaction. According to Natixis, conversational agents will bring companies a reduction in processing time for requests of nearly 40% in 2018, which would explain this craze for chatbots. Finally, in future forecasts, 31% of companies think that chatbots will be able to completely replace human telephone advisers in the coming years, again according to the Mind bowser survey in 2017, thanks in particular to the evolution of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

In conclusion of these various studies on the influence of chatbots on companies’ customer relations, it should be noted that, depending on their status in the process, not all players have the same opinion on the subject.

For customers who are the first to be concerned, the undeniable positive point is the speed of responses. However, this feeling towards these new systems needs to be qualified. On the one hand customers want an ever more personalized relationship with companies, which is what chatbots offer by answering their questions personally, but they see chatbots as a depersonalization of the customer/company relationship because it is automated. Added to this is the lack of trust that is placed in chatbots to deal with complex situations.

For business managers, chatbots improve customer satisfaction in a major part of the cases and significantly reduce customer service costs.

Finally, it is the employees who also have a shared position on the benefits of chatbots. On the one hand, they hope to be able to offload repetitive tasks onto these virtual conversational agents so that they can devote themselves to higher value-added missions that cannot be mastered by artificial intelligence these days. However, they remain skeptical about the complexity of the implementation of these tools and about the real benefits that chatbots can bring to customer relations.

The advantages and limitations of chatbots

Chatbots have both positive and negative aspects that should be studied before integrating them into your company. We have therefore listed for you the elements to take into account if you wish to opt for this solution to manage your customer relationship.

The positive aspects related to the use of chatbots are as follows:

  • Simplification of customer service management if you have a lot of requests to answer
  • Speed of response, your chatbot provides an immediate response to your customers
  • Permanent availability of your chatbot which is 24/7 at the disposal of your customers to answer their questions
  • Popularity of instant messaging applications that have become popular communication tools for Internet users
  • Constant evolution of your chatbot if it works thanks to artificial intelligence; it is self-learning and constantly improving
  • Increase the performance of your teams that are less often interrupted by customer requests that are mostly filtered by your chatbot

However, chatbots also present some aspects to take into account if you plan to equip yourself with one of these robots to manage your customer relations:

  • Investment that can be costly and time consuming before being perfectly autonomous if you are not accompanied in the installation and that will only be profitable if you have many customer requests to deal with
  • The time needed to configure the chatbot so that it is optimized and customized to your problems
  • Limitation of possible interactions
  • Limitation of the chatbot to a specific role to ensure its efficiency
  • Customer preference for human interactions that seem more suited to handle complex situations

In the years to come, with the constant development of artificial intelligence, chatbots will develop to become more and more efficient. We must ask ourselves the question of the possible benefits of such tools in your company’s customer relations.

If you wish to be accompanied in the implementation of innovative solutions for the management of your customer relationship, do not hesitate to contact us.