Emerging Technologies and Markets, User Experience
Want to transform your customer experience? Here’s why chatbots might be the answer.
The potential for chatbots to drastically improve the customer experience of products and services is undeniable: In theory they can lead to drastically quicker response times, 24/7 service (bots don’t need sleep) and an encounter that is personalised to an individual based on AI. Add in the fact that it would put an end to dreadful “hold” music and wait times altogether, and it’s easy to understand why we believe that chatbots could be your answer to keeping customers happier. According to Neil Patel, 77% of customers have improved perceptions of a business after talking with them online in some capacity. And chatbots provide a scaleable way for every single customer to communicate with a brand online, no matter how big the company! Are you on board yet? If not, let’s take a look at how some businesses are currently using chatbots to improve their customer experience.

Chatbot Success Stories

Vodafone launched the first ever chatbot within the UK telecoms industry that is able to facilitate a transaction from start to finish, called “TOBi Sales”. Streamlining their processes and generating brilliant sales results, the bot was given the award for customer experience at Marketing Week Masters Awards. The numbers truly do speak for themselves in this case: The ordering process has been made 2 to 3 times faster, the online conversion of basket to checkout rate has more than doubled and the brand’s Net Promoter Scores from those using the bot is close to 80, a huge leap from the score of 60 given by those using the website alone. Rue21 have also used a chatbot as a way of improving their customer experience, launching a “virtual stylist” which helps customers to select items that match their personal taste and their budget. Incredibly, it can “learn a shopper’s interests and preferences, respond to their requests, and even make recommendations for complementary items.” The benefits for both the retailer and the customer are obvious: The bot generates more sales and the customer leaves the experience feeling as though they have been helped on a personal level and with clothing that they are more likely to love! In terms of user engagement, the NatGeo Genius is a great example of the potential benefits of chatbots, too. Used as a way to promote the show “Genius”, the bot chats to users in the voice of figures featured on the show including Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso. On average, conversations lasted 6–8 minutes and there was a 50% re-enagement rate. Those are pretty impressive stats!

But there’s still room for improvement

As we spoke about in our first blog post for our chatbots series though, chatbots are still far from reaching their full potential. However, with a mix of personalisation, transparency and always (yes, always!) offering a human alternative, the UX of chatbots can be incredible, thereby creating a better customer experience overall.
Related post: Creating Chatbots with Great UX

Why User Research in Chatbots is the Key to Success

As José Antonio Diaz writes for wam, “According to recent statistics from Econsultancy, 45% of consumers deem chatbots to be “intrusive,” and 78% of them say that the problem with automated experiences is that they are too impersonal. It will, therefore, be especially critical to work to ensure the technology offers a pleasant and satisfying experience for users to get the most out of what chatbots can contribute to improving the overall customer experience.” (Source) However, how is it possible to create a “pleasant and satisfying experience” without knowing what “pleasant and satisfying” even means to your customers? If there’s one single key to creating a great customer experience — both in your chatbot and in your business more widely — it’s knowing your customers through user and market research. Take Vodafone’s chatbot success, for example. It is said that the bot “was developed with several different conversations to pre-empt possible questions and pain points, each of which was tested across a variety of users and refined at each step of the process.” They truly knew what their users wanted and how they would interact with the service before releasing it. And it shows. Through thorough and well-executed user and market research, you can ensure that you are creating a chatbot that serves your customers, instead of simply making them more frustrated. The importance of this is highlighted in the fact that “almost three-quarters of customers who have a negative experience won’t use the chatbot again”.
Related article: User Research and User Experience: What’s the Difference?
On top of conducting great user research for your chatbot during the creation process, its importance doesn’t diminish after launch. Direct feedback from customers, as well as an analysis of when customers leave chatbots without the conversation coming to a proper end, can and should be used to shape further development. User research should be an ongoing factor in making your chatbot as good as it can be for its users. Only then can it truly be the answer to your customer experience woes!
Want to learn more about user research? Sign up to Snap Out’s mailing list today to receive a completely FREE guide to starting to get to know your users.
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