App Fatigue Allowed Chatbots To Emerge for Customer Service Engagement

Chatbots have come a long way since a MIT Professor created the first Chatbot called ELIZA in 1966. It was a pet project that would be considered successful if the user couldn’t perceive that they were talking to a computer program. Its first use case was for therapy but today, we can use chatbots for customer service and even sales engagement.

Chatbots would only turn mainstream 60 years later when Facebook launched its Messenger enabled chatbot and opened it to developers worldwide in 2016. This is a significant event as Facebook Messengers had over 1 billion of subscribers which allowed businesses to reach its target audience and service them quickly and most importantly, naturally.

Source: TechCrunch

The rise of the chatbot comes on the back of falling demand for mobile apps. The old way of reaching out to clients hit the wall of app fatigue. In June 2017, a comScore survey found that 51% of smart phone users downloaded 0 apps per month and less than 5% downloaded 8 apps. Worst of all, smart phone users are starting to delete apps for various reasons.

Chatbot: Cheaper, Wider and Better Reach

In other words, apps are starting to resemble the property business where only the prime apps are worth installing on mobile. The top mobile apps are mostly fixed for most users and unless businesses have a truly compelling product, they can’t overcome the general app fatigue of users.

Source: TechCrunch

Facebook Messenger is an important gateway for brands to reach out. It is on most people’s smart phone and it provides a cheaper way to connect to customers than having to employ an army of contact center specialists. Facebook Messengers chatbots can be employed for automated response to answer a wide range of questions from finances (e.g. personal loan and credit comparison) to the best restaurants.

Source: Business Insider

Beyond the cost savings, chatbots offer better customer service as they allow instant connection with customers compared to the average 4 minutes of waiting time for human interactions. This instant interaction is helpful in stressful situations. For instance, when you are late for a flight overseas, you will want to know the traveling time from your house to the airport and factor in traffic conditions.

When you have an urgent meeting and you don’t have all the facts on hand, you don’t want to search the Internet for answers. Best of all, these AI powered Chatbots are available 24/7 and they don’t have problems answering the questions at midnight. Having chatbots will also allow companies to extend their services to adjacent services.

Human customer service officers tend to have their own specific area of expertise. For instance, we have experienced phone banking services where we need to be transferred after asking questions about personal banking to the credit card banking specialists. While good chatbots are created with a specific vertical in mind, Facebook Messengers open API mean that chatbots for different industry can be embedded in a single chat.

For instance, after a hotel’s chatbot had confirmed your booking on the way to the airport, the chatbot can also powered your search for the cab to fetch you from the airport to the hotel.

Worldwide Usage of Chatbots

Chatbot had a phenomenal rise in the past 2 years and became a major force in today’s tech enhanced world. The Singapore Government had jumped on the Chatbot bandwagon last year on Facebook Messenger with local chatbot firm KeyReply. The second largest airline in Latin America, Avianca, had engaged Accenture to build chatbot Carla for their customer engagements.

Research and Markets have forecasted that the Chatbot industry would experience strong growth globally at a compounded annual growth rate of 35% from 2016 to 2021. By 2021, chatbots would be collectively be worth $3.1 Billion and it had already attracted incumbents such as IBM and newcomers such as Kasisto and CX Company. In other words, chatbots would have matured as a technology then.

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