And lower cost is just one of them!

Chatbots are hot in the tech area – and moving quickly to be a presence in contact centers as well. Evolving technology in chatbots, including Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant is getting better and increasing in importance.

What a contact center business leader would really want to know if  it is worth investing in a chatbot, considering the time and budget needed to do so, and whether there is a big enough return on investment?

Gartner bets that AI is going to take care of all tier-one tasks related to customer interactions by 2020.

Why do businesses need chatbots?

Customers have increasing expectations to do business via any channel and anytime – and chatbots are a possible cost-effective solution to handle routine and repetitive customer service tasks. Automation has appeal as it is an efficient and affordable way for companies to reduce cost and manage contact center workload.

“80% of businesses are already using or plan to use chatbots in their customer service by 2020”

And chatbot technology is evolving and advancing with elements of AI and machine learning capabilities – making conversation with chatbot more human-like and bringing about greater acceptance from customers.

“61% of consumers feel that having Chatbots in customer service is the way of the future.”

How can chatbots help your business?

Many of the top financial entities like Bank of America, Chase, Visa, Mastercard, Capital One, American Express, Ally Bank, Barclays, Paypal already have chatbots.

Companies are saving as much as 29% on customer service by deploying bots, according to McKinsey.

1. Lower Operational Costs: Chatbots are evolving, getting smarter. They help customers resolve simpler and repetitive queries much faster, which in turn reduces the inbound voice calls to the contact center, improves efficiency and lowers operational cost. A new report from Juniper Research has found that the adoption of chatbots across the retail, banking and healthcare sectors will realize business cost savings of $11 billion annually by 2023.

Chatbots not only replace voice calls but also reduces email and social media inquiries. Hence, in every query where the customer interacts with a chatbot before trying an agent, cost per query gets lower.

VentureBeat estimates that if a person makes a ‘call me’ command to connect with a live agent after initiating a chatbot interaction, a contact center still saves money, as it pays about 33 percent less for outbound calls than inbound calls.

Interaction with chatbots helps in getting the relevant customer information available, which can be used by an agent if that query needs to be transferred. This means faster resolution and a lower cost-per-interaction for companies.

2. Reduced Labor Expenses: According to Call Center School, 65% – 70% of a call center’s total operating costs are staffing related. And it’s not easy to reduce staffing if the focus is to meet customer expectations with calls and chats in the queue. If the business tries to reduce staffing, then customer satisfaction takes a hit due to longer wait times.

McKinsey estimates that 29% of customer service positions in the U.S. can be automated through chatbots and other ready technology. For example, a live chat agent can effectively chat with about three customers at once compared to a phone representative who can only handle one call at a time. Of course, chatbots can handle an unlimited amount of interactions at the same time.

3. Cheaper 24/7 Availability: As the name suggests, live chat is live. Businesses these days are expected to deliver customer service 24/7. This expectation creates extra expenses as agents may need to work overtime or in late-night shifts. With chatbots, available 24/7 and 365 days a year, companies can provide support when customers need it and that too at off-peak hours and on weekends.

IBM survey: 65% of US millennials prefer going online to get support, rather than speak to staff in-store.

4. Continuous Savings in Future: Chatbots can be smart enough to learn with experience. This, in turn, makes the customer experience improvements over time. This further leads to fewer customers calling as first ‘touch’ resolution improves, reducing voice traffic and enhancing the savings over time. Many solution providers with experience work with businesses to deploy chatbots and omnichannel services, helping their customers get ahead of competitors.

70% of millennials report positive experiences with chatbots, and many prefer chatbots for convenience and immediate gratification.

Steps to calculate the Return on Investment of chatbots:

Chatbots ROI

Once you compare your current cost vs how much chatbot will cost, you will be able to make a logical decision. Note that chatbots also have a deployment cost. To come up with a correct number, it is always better to consult a provider who has experience with chatbots, and also may be able to help with the manual interactions at a lower cost, so as to get a higher ROI that can be computed correctly.

Conclusion:

Businesses are seeing the increase in chat interaction as more customers look for self-service options, and it is estimated to grow further. An effective way to meet these customer service needs that involve customer interaction is chatbots.

The capability of chatbots in customer-facing roles is getting better with the integration of AI, and this is directly increasing the role of chatbots in more complex queries.

Studies estimate that in the next five years 75% to 90% of queries will be taken up by Chatbots, which can result in savings of up to $0.70 per interaction.

Chatbots provide a scalable one-to-one experience to customers while automating a lot of the repetitive tasks in customer support.

Chatbots enables businesses to quickly manage ever-increasing customer inquiries and reduce cost at the same time. And given the type of technology and ease of connectivity, third-party providers can easily help with deployment as well as take up the manual queries from these chatbot interactions, and manage any fluctuations in demand, including for off-peak hours and weekends.

We, at SLK Global Solutions, with 18+ years of experience and with global locations including a customer contact center in the Philippines, provide these services for several clients. Typical business value for customers includes 30% cost savings, 15% or more efficiency improvements and high C-SAT scores. You can know more about our contact center solution by contacting us at salesinquiry@slkstaging.wpengine.com.

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