Withstanding the Test of Time
Chatbots were higly innovative 10 years ago and now feature on most major brands’ websites. They can assist customers with instant answers to simple and precise questions. They were initially implemented by marketing/customer and innovation departments but have since spread to all areas of large companies. Chatbots can therefore also assist employees by answering IT, HR or legal questions. The current health crisis has reinforced 78% of decision-makers’ belief that the advent of bots is inevitable*. This has also been confirmed by analysts (+37% annual growth over the next 4 years). Physical communication spaces have recently been reduced to a bare minimum, forcing companies to find new ways to stay connected. Technology has proved to be a wonderful ally. Remote working has led to a sharp increase in collaboration tools, as well as any tools that maintain an essential link with customers and employees. 7 out of 10 HR professionals also report that chatbots are even more useful in times of crisis**.
Increasingly Visible Chatbots
Chatbots are present on more and more digital channels (websites, mobile apps, instant messaging, social media, etc.). They have become an everyday tool, aimed at more and more users, whether consumers (from sales advice to after-sales service), B2B companies, public service users, start-ups via the NOA chatbot which helps navigate between 10 different administrations, schoolchildren via the CNED’s Jules chatbot, and also employees who need IT advice or want to check their leave balance… In other words, everyone! As such, chatbots have come to represent brands or institutions. Conversational robots are the symbol of digital transformation and a vector of the owner’s image. In fact, 3 out 4 decision-makers believe that chatbots enhance a company’s image, as a result of their customisable user interfaces and ways of speaking. And 78% of HR decision-makers think that they are an asset for the employer brand**.
Far from being a simple gadget, chatbots are real tools for marketing, business, customer services, HR, etc. Conversational robots are inexhaustible and available 24/7. The best natural language recognition technologies, which are becoming more and more sophisticated, can manage bounces (not repeating the subject of a question several times), typos or spelling mistakes, abbreviations, and acronyms, in lots of different languages… They can hold genuine conversations. 80% of the volume of questions asked, represents 20% of the most frequent requests. Chatbots can answer in a relevant and coherent manner… without ever getting angry! As a result, user satisfaction is significantly increased, operations are optimised, and call centre agents or teams can focus on more complex, value-added tasks. Companies thus gain in image and financial efficiency by impacting turnover and operational costs. The initial objectives and measurement indicators should be clearly defined beforehand.
Increasingly Sophisticated Use Cases
Integrating chatbots with company information systems (CRM, HRIS, etc.) and new technologies, helps to finetune services by personalising answers or automated tasks (tracking an order , for example), and also to complete more complex actions directly via the chatbot, such as checking an account balance, electricity or gas consumption, placing an order, booking leave, etc.
What Does the Future Hold?
Tomorrow, chatbots will be able to answer an even greater diversity of requests in an automatic, instant, and natural manner. At the last Vivatch exhibition, visitors could already ask Pepper about the French football league via Botaldo, L’Equipe’s chatbot, to find out who the top goal scorer was or their favourite team’s ranking. In the future, in addition to the current channels, one could imagine asking a robot for directions to a boarding gate at the airport, or a house about that month’s electricity consumption. Beyond these other channels, voice can also clearly complete a conversational robot’s services, to answer questions asked by anyone, at any time, for greater accessibility.
A conversational robot is therefore a real business tool that impacts image, operations, and profitability. As with any project, it is important to define the needs, expectations, objectives, and target. This helps to properly scale the solution to be implemented. It can range from something very simple, with a few predefined questions / answers, to knowledge bases made up of thousands of interconnected items with several webservices, on a multitude of different channels… Thinking bot therefore opens up an ocean of possibilities, with a tool that has already proved its worth.
* Chatbot Observatory – December 2018
** Chatbot Observatory – April 2020