AI chatbots have become a key technology trend, revolutionising customer service by enabling businesses to provide real-time and automated 24/7 support. Forecasts predicted that the chatbot market would grow from $2.6 billion in 2019 to $9.4 billion by 2024 at a mean annual growth rate of 29.7%. Businesses have increasingly adopted AI powered chatbots in various business functions such as marketing, sales, human resources, or customer service. The customer service segment, however, is expected to experience the fastest growth in the application of chatbots until 2026.
AI chatbots satisfy increasing customer expectations
Customers expect to find the online information they need easily, quickly and 24/7. And consumer expectations towards company response times are constantly growing. Three in four customers expect a response within five minutes of an online contact (according to McKinsey).
But according to Intercom’s 2021 trends report, most customer service departments struggle to manage increasing volumes of conversations with their customers. What is more, over seven in ten customer service departments are aware of rising expectations in excellent customer although only half of them believe they can meet these expectations.
By not living up to these expectations, businesses risk to frustrate or even lose their customers. In this context, AI chatbots hold the potential to provide real-time and on-demand customer service that customers are looking for.
What are AI chatbots?
AI powered chatbots are a messenger tool that simulates conversations with real persons, using artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to answer common questions. These conversations that can happen via messaging, text or speech, offer benefits both to the customer as well as the organisation. The AI bot firstly analyses the entered question for its intent and then suggests an answer that it thinks is the most relevant based on existing data.
The key advantage of AI-driven chatbots is that they can learn and use this gained knowledge to accurately anticipate and address customer needs independently from human interaction.
At the start, organisations train AI powered bots both in recognition and responding by feeding them with existing FAQs or relevant articles as well as different forms of the same question. This enables AI bots to recognise the most common question and give instant responses, providing faster and consistent customer support.
AI-driven bots get smarter over time by learning from each conversation, understanding the context of the question, and training itself to suggest more relevant answers. Basically, AI chatbots increase the number of inquiries they can address as well as the accuracy of their responses with every new conversation they have. More advanced AI bots can even give automatic suggestions in real-time while the customer is typing their question.
The 6 benefits of AI chatbots in customer service
The use of chatbots that are powered by artificial intelligence offers businesses various benefits, from enhancing customer experiences to reducing operational costs.
6 of the major benefits of using AI chatbots in customer service are:
Instant resolution of user needs
Customer service chatbots that are driven by AI address the customers’ need for immediate resolution of their common pain points and FAQs, significantly enhancing their customer experience. AI bots can even differentiate answers according to pre-defined categories, enabling responses that are specifically tailored to the relevant audience.
Intercom’s trend survey found that customer service teams that use chatbots are 60% more likely to improve resolution times and are 30% more likely to increase customer satisfaction than those who do not use chatbots.
24/7 customer service
The use of AI chatbots enables businesses to instantly reply to customer inquiries even during after-hours. This real-time engagement and 24/7 availability enhance customer service significantly, eventually leading to an increase in customer satisfaction.
Reduced conversation volume, high-quality customer service
By automating repetitive and simple tasks, businesses do not only increase operational efficiency. In addition, customer service representatives can concentrate their time and effort on complex inquiries that need human interaction, delivering improved customer service.
An AI powered chatbot enables businesses to resolve queries of multiple customers in parallel and in real-time, increasing productivity significantly while still enhancing responsiveness and saving time and money. In fact, businesses can service more customers without increasing their overhead costs.
Automated routing to the right representative
If customer requests require human interaction, the AI chatbot can use the gathered information to transfer the customer to the most suitable customer service representative, increasing customer engagement and satisfaction.
Improved customer insights
Businesses can use the data gathered from AI chatbots to better understand the sentiments of each customer, but also to identify overarching trends. This data can deliver valuable insights for marketing and sales strategies.
The use of chatbots that are powered by artificial intelligence offers businesses various benefits, from enhancing customer experiences to reducing operational costs. More and more companies recognize the importance of high-quality customer service having a positive impact on loyalty, retention, and word of mouth, for example. Businesses are, therefore, increasingly equipping their customer service departments with AI-driven bots to provide fast and personal customer support while reducing their operational costs and therefore increasing their bottom line.
iMonitor’s Food Safety Chatbot
iMonitor has experienced an increased demand in food safety information and recently launched its AI-powered Food Safety Chatbot to provide customers with easy and quick access to an extensive library of food safety resources.
iMonitor’s AI chatbot comprises of 120 comprehensive articles that cover more than 400 food safety questions so far, number increasing. This also includes the most common food safety questions, such as concerning equipment maintenance, cleaning processes, safe cooking processes as well as cooling and re-heating processes.