Numerous businesses already employ chatbots to ease their daily routine, e.g. by improving customer service and automating the sales process. This post looks into the characteristics, advantages and technological prospects.
An increasing number of companies is relying on Chatbots to automate their customer relationships.
Chatbots can be used at any point where communication takes place: from the support centre to the online store.
Augmented or Virtual Reality is set to replace chatbots in the foreseeable future.
Put simply; a chatbot is a robot that uses chat features to communicate with customers. Amazon’s Alexa, one of the most well-known examples, is a virtual robot that answers questions or performs specific tasks. On the website of a company the chatbot can, for example, answer customers’ questions about specific products or services in a chat window. A typical customer query might be “Are you open for business on Saturdays?”, to which the chatbot would answer "Yes" or "No".
Dialogue instead of FAQ
Many companies already use a chatbot successfully on their website. In doing so, they are demonstrating their presence and can immediately deal with queries, thereby delivering customer service and cutting costs. Customers can conveniently gain a first impression of the company and its products and services. They will feel looked after as they are entering into a dialogue rather than having to scour the company’s FAQ for information.
Basically, chatbots can be used anywhere where a company needs to communicate with customers, such as on the company's support pages or its online stores. They are also ideal for organisational processes, such as booking a concert or advising on online purchases. Due to increasingly capable computing powers and technologies such as cognitive computing and big data, they are capable of processing and resolving customer queries, thereby proving reliable in customer support environments. By collaborating with their human colleagues, chatbots can make a significant contribution to the success of the company.
Augmented Reality & Co. - which come after the Chatbots
Despite having gained widespread attention only recently and still acting awkwardly in the eyes of many customers, it is already predictable that chatbots will be superseded. Having broken into the market just recently, they are likely to be replaced by other technologies and digital business models such as augmented reality, virtual reality and other sales and marketing automation tools.
Virtual reality applications immerse their users in a virtual world which they can experience through sight, sound and touch using tools such as VR goggles. In future, organisations will be able to introduce their goods and services in such a virtual space, making them tangible to potential customers, as they get a realistic impression of them by “trying before buying”.
Augmented Reality in the fruit department of a supermarket
Augmented reality (AR) is also gaining popularity. Unlike VR applications, the user remains in real life but receives additional information about a particular product and service on a smartphone, tablet or other devices. For example, users browsing the fruit and vegetable section in a supermarket could learn about the vitamin content, country of origin and other data about various fruits.