From a warm welcome upon first arriving at your website through timely engagement with a consistent tone on social media to satisfaction assessment and increased referral rates, chatbots can help you bring a personalised experience to each customer.
By adding an intelligent conversational user interface to websites, virtual assistants, messaging apps, and more, you can truly differentiate your services from competitors and gain a sustainable competitive edge. Let's find out what’re the steps to make it a reality.
What’s Customer Experience (CX)?
Customer experience, also referred to as CX, is how someone perceives their interaction with your business or brand based on what they read, see, feel and hear during an encounter with a business touchpoint. These interactions influence customer perceptions about your business, which in turn impacts their behaviours.
Why is Customer Experience Going to be a Key Differentiator?
A study by Walker, an experienced management firm, predicted that by the end of 2020, customer experience would be the key brand differentiator as opposed to price and product.
In addition, a 2014 Harvard Business Review study found that customers who have great experiences spend more on purchases and remain customers longer, furthering the reason to strengthen your relationships with chatbots.
Also in the global customer service survey done in 2019 by Microsoft, 90% of respondents said that customer service is meaningful when choosing a brand and staying loyal to it. What’s more, 58% of respondents said they would switch providers due to poor experience.
10 Ways Chatbots Improve Customer Experience
1. Reduce the Learning Curve
When was the last time you had to learn a new user interface of an application? How painful was it? Did you have to repeat the process after an update? These and many similar situations can be prevented by using chatbots because they tap into how we communicate naturally. Conversation is a most natural type of interaction for human beings, something we have learned many years ago, it doesn’t change and is not something we could ever forget.
Moreover, chatbots flip the traditional learning process on its head, because they learn the user and not the other way round. They constantly adapt and personalise the experience and customers can simply type a question or statement into a chat window - something they’re already familiar with doing on other apps and receive a quick and relevant answer.
2. Provide 24/7 Support, Including Off-Hours
Imagine a client rushing to ask you a question right before you're about to pick up your children from school and get them to an appointment. With the help of a chatbot, you can do exactly that while having a satisfied customer, at the same time.
Today's consumers want service now. They want to be able to ask questions and receive answers quickly and conveniently at any time of day, even while waiting in line for coffee or driving to work.
Chatbots allow you to deliver on these desires and expectations and enable customer support even during off-hours. They let customers know a business is there for them any time they need it, giving you a much-needed competitive edge. You can save time and hassle, knowing your chatbot can provide the first point of service for customers at any time.
3. Give Instant Responses
Manual customer service poses a ton of pain points. You may have to sift through customer data to provide a relevant answer to a query and do it over and over again.
Wouldn't it be better to offload these repeatable tasks to a machine? With chat, you could book appointments, facilitate cancellations, provide rescheduling, and more without the need for human involvement.
Speed and convenience win over customers today, far more than price. According to a customer experience study from McKinsey & Company, 75% of customers expect support "now", or within 5 minutes of contacting a business online.
4. Handle Demand Spikes
My friend Karen works as a receptionist at a dental practice. She constantly has to juggle her time between serving customers over digital channels and the ones who come into the practice, which puts a lot of strain on her and can inevitably lead some customers to feel disappointed with the quality of service.
Instant scalability of a chatbot ensures that every customer gets attention. Whether your business has a spike of customers on your website or other digital channels like messaging apps, chatbots can “talk” with every single one of them at the same time.
This lessens the demand on you or your employees, which is especially important during high-growth or promotional periods where increased traffic is expected. Chatbots offer the support you need without having to hire extra staff.
5. Improve Subsequent Customer Interactions
Have you ever had to repeat yourself over and over again to different customer service representatives, to explain your problem to yet another person on the other line? Well, you're not alone. This is a huge waste of time and energy.
Customers feel frustrated and ignored, which doesn't help their satisfaction. Customer service representatives feel the pressure to resolve problems quickly, even if they don't have enough information.
Chatbots are redefining customer engagement by instantly providing human representatives with the relevant info about each customer. This not only lets the customer feel valued and heard, but it also improves the working conditions for the customer service representative by providing them relevant information at the right time.
6. Provide a Consistent Experience
It's good to let human personalities shine when there's a need for a human touch. But in many situations, customers expect fast and relevant answers, like:
- The nearest available slot in your calendar
- The answer to a frequently asked question
- Directions to your office or establishment
- What other customers are saying about your service before deciding to schedule an appointment
These situations, among many others, require fast and accurate responses that don't require human attention. Therefore, a chatbot can free up their time and yours and provide a better experience to the end-user. And since the responses have been curated up-front, the most relevant information possible is provided.
Chatbots offer consistency when it comes to customer service. All customer interactions will be handled with the same level of care and professionalism. f
7. Collect Customer Information Seamlessly
Most of us have been through the pain of having to fill out a long questionnaire. Chatbot data collection makes things easier for customers. Compared to asking customers to take the time to fill out forms and risking them not completing the action, a chatbot experience collects data seamlessly during a natural conversation.
Chatbots can ask relevant questions and gather responses that are meaningful to a business. With chatbots, you can:
- Ask about the needs of prospective customers
- Assess if they're the right fit for your business
- Schedule appointments and handle cancellations
- Ask about their satisfaction levels after an appointment
- Ask for a referral or a review
- And so much more!
8. Improve Understanding of Customers
Many professional service providers don't have data about their interactions with customers. That means, no info about volume, frequency, or handle time and no information about the engagement of the human representative or the needs and wants of their customers and how they behave. Are you one of them?
A chatbot provides you with the information you need to understand your customers. That way, you can focus on what matters to your customers and differentiate your offering on the market.
Chatbots fuel continuous improvement and personalisation, which can increase sales for your business. They gather data that gives you an ability to better understand customers’ wants and needs.
Having a better understanding of customers’ needs and pain points can help you better serve your target audience. As chatbots learn more about more customers, you can proactively offer better assistance.
9. Customise the Experience
Chatbots enable your customers to ask questions about your locations and opening times, manage appointments, receive reminders and personalised recommendations. These customisations allow you to bring a personalised experience to each customer, while also helping to strengthen your brand’s unique identity and personality.
How customers communicate with your business will depend on their current experiences and surroundings. For example, a customer might only use a voice channel while driving. In a movie theatre, visual display and touch interface may be the preferred method of communication.
10. Facilitate Conversations Across Channels
Every touchpoint or channel that you are using has the potential to have a positive impact on your consumers, hence you need to focus on every possible aspect of delivering satisfactory customer experiences. Multiple channels can contribute to making CX more effective.
Since chatbots can be integrated into a diverse set of channels including websites, messaging apps, and virtual assistants, they can help make your business more accessible to customers. Customers can get in touch with you on the device they’re using, instead of having to switch to a different one. This encourages them to stay connected with your business and enhances customer engagement.
Whether an Instagram chatbot responding to a common question, or a Facebook chatbot thanking clients for their glowing reviews, chatbots offer a clearcut path to enhanced consumer experiences.
How to Differentiate Your Services and Gain a Sustainable Competitive Advantage?
The story of human evolution is of course in many ways the story of our tools, from the hammerstones used by early humans 2.6m years ago to quantum computers used by computer science pioneers today. We have used tools to lift ourselves from the open grasslands of Africa, and in the process, our tools have shaped and dictated the work we do and how we do it.
Tools have always enhanced our human capabilities - with levers we can lift far more than with our muscles alone. With pistons and gearboxes, we can move more quickly, with calculators, we can add more quickly and accurately than with our brains.
Our tools have influenced the type of work we do and how we do it. Tools have always enhanced our capabilities - with levers, we can lift far more than with our muscles alone. We can move faster using pistons and gearboxes and with calculators we can add more quickly and accurately than just with our brains.
Now our tools are changing again, and therefore so is our work and our potential. An intelligent chatbot can help your customers, and it will understand your calendar and your meetings, it’ll help you be much more efficient. Since everything seems to be automated, you might be wondering if there is anything for you to do to improve customer experience and make the services you provide notably different?
1. Double Down on Being More Human
The more technology enhances us, the more it creates opportunities for a human touch. When the computer does what it does well, it enables us to focus on what we do well. Being empathetic and making sense in complex situations.
Amy is a receptionist at a busy day spa and is responsible for helping customers over several digital channels. On top of that, she has to assist those arriving for appointments. When demand is high she can get pulled in several directions, and some clients are not satisfied with the service they receive.
By automating the vast majority of online interactions, people arriving at the spa can be properly welcomed and receive the level of attention they deserve, and Amy is no longer overwhelmed with the demand, thanks to her little helper, the chatbot.
2. Focus on Your Subject Matter Expertise
At the heart of improvement is the basic concept that technology can and should improve almost any person or profession. It's about your job plus technology. Of course, even before artificial intelligence, our jobs have been improved by technology - for example, we save our work on computers, communicate using messaging platforms, and read on kindles, but new technologies can improve our jobs even further.
In this scenario, the enhanced worker provides a superior service more quickly, at a lower cost, and/or margin, generating all-around benefits including job security. People can work on what they like most about their jobs in this model while eliminating the monotonous, repetitious, and wasteful parts that irritate them. It's a win-win situation for everyone, including both consumers and service providers.
This process causes the bar to rise for every one of us in every organisation and country on the planet. The only thing that cannot be replaced is a subject matter expert, everything else can be built into the machine.
3. Automate Repeatable Parts of Customer Journey
Like it or not, your competitor across the street will soon gain the massive benefit of digital automation of core processes. If you don’t keep pace, your cost structure will soon be unsustainable.
Joe is an entrepreneur running an online health and fitness coaching business. There is plenty of competition in the field, but rather than scrambling to answer messages while interacting with current clients and utilising social media to bring in new ones, he uses chatbots to differentiate his marketing, sales, and service.
Chatbots allow Joe increased marketing differentiation by using a consistent, friendly, and intelligent conversational tone across all channels and user interfaces. He’s also customised his chatbots to recognise current, logged-in clients and greet them by name, as well as reflect the health-conscious enthusiasm that is part of his brand identity and personality. Chatbots also provide a cost-effective way for Joe to establish sales differentiation and learn about potential clients’ needs and preferences, thereby improving the percentage of prospects that end up being his clients.
For Joe’s regular clients, chatbots provide an effective source of service differentiation, offering frictionless, personalised user experiences that increase customer satisfaction and result in continued loyalty. If that’s not enough, Joe’s clients are enthused about these interactions online and share these positive experiences with their friends.
In the modern marketplace, standing out from your competitors is crucial. You may provide excellent services and beautiful campaigns, but today’s customers require more. Targeted use of a chatbot can help you distinguish your business by customising, personalising, and automating key parts of the user journey to improve customer experience.
From initially connecting with target customers via your website or social media, to answering basic questions, scheduling appointments, and assessing post-purchase levels of satisfaction, chatbots can substantially influence the nature of interactions across your platforms, thus converting a one-time visitor into a lifelong customer.
Chatbots help you differentiate your business by elevating customer experiences, emulating and enabling a human touch, and even becoming a better subject matter expert by freeing up your time and letting you focus attention on one thing that won’t ever be automated - your expertise.