The events of 2020 have caused a huge acceleration in digitization across all industries and types of businesses. Conversational automation has taken off in a big way, as brands realize they cannot scale their customer support with humans alone.
Conversational AI chatbots, or virtual assistants, are part of the trend to improve sales and marketing, customer service, and customer experience. Their popularity has been growing steadily, both for businesses and consumers. Insider Intelligence forecasted that consumers’ retail spending via chatbots will increase by $142 billion in 2024, which is 99% more than what consumers spent via bots in 2019.
Still, only 3.6% of mid-market companies are using virtual assistants according to a Think Relay study. So, why aren’t more mid-market companies using chatbots yet?
Before we dive into mid-market companies, let’s first look at the current statistics about chatbots.
With the advances in AI-powered technology using natural language processing (NLP), companies can confidently outsource a big part of their customer support operations to bots, enabling them to provide a better customer experience and significantly reduce operational costs.
According to Drift’s 2020 State of Conversational Marketing report, this is no surprise: usage of chatbots as a brand communication channel increased by 92% since 2019. 24.9% of buyers used chatbots to communicate with businesses in 2020. This makes chatbots the fastest growing communication tool for brands, more than social media.
Furthermore, the past reluctance and dislike of dealing with a chatbot has become almost non-existent, as the vast majority (87.2%) of consumers have neutral or positive experiences with bots. Why? Because we like to get quick, accurate responses, when we want them, where we want them. 64% of internet users see the round-the-clock support chatbots provide as the biggest benefit, according to the newest chatbot industry statistics provided by Drift.
CMSWire explained why mid-market companies are not rushing into chatbot technology. “Depending on the size of the company, implementing chatbots may not be within their business plan. [Mid-market] companies may feel that they have an adequate amount of resources and live workforce to handle their current volume,” Dilworth said.
Better customer service means higher retention rates. Good customer support takes time and can be very inefficient if the right processes are not in place. AI chatbots allow businesses to improve operational efficiency and customer experience by simplifying processes and instantly resolving requests that would have been handled by a human agent. Thanks to their chatbot, Voyage Privé has been able to reduce the contact rate and agents are able to focus on the more complex use cases and deliver excellent customer service.
Chatbots also help sales and marketing use cases. The best way to retain and upsell your customers is to have a great shopping experience and extremely efficient customer service. To make the customer's buying process as easy as possible, a shopping bot can help you solve customers’ questions and take care of basic issues and questions, so customers get better service and a better shopping experience.
Bots are crucial in making personalization happen by leveraging customer, product, and interaction data in real-time. Many organizations are already realizing significant benefits from chatbot assistants, the most common being reductions in wait-time, service costs, and customer churn, as well as NPS improvements. For instance, TGV Lyria’s bot deflects a significant portion of simple requests away from the support team while still providing a level of responsive, personalized service that keeps customer satisfaction high. As a result, the service capacity and customer satisfaction increased, and there has been a reduction in request handling times.
Conversational AI chatbots have been proven to save time and also help in increasing engagement with customers. Chatbot usage is increasing, so it only makes sense for mid-market companies to jump on the bandwagon and not be left behind. Though building your own chatbot can seem time-consuming, many platforms, such as Mindsay, provide low-code platforms that allow any non-technical person to build a chatbot and customize it according to your brand image.
The democratization of AI in the form of powerful, yet easy-to-use, low-code solutions has bridged the gap between mid-market companies and big corporations.
Chatbots are now booming thanks to the growing consumer demand for personalized, 24/7 experiences across channels. The architecture and design of AI chatbot software are evolving and becoming the norm for providing a great customer service experience, from mid-market companies to enterprises.
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