Artificial intelligence is still on the advance: according to a study by one of our clients in 2018, over 90 % of DACH companies want to use this technology in some way by the end of 2020. Does this figure create large images inside one’s mind: shiny robots, big data streams from countless zeros and ones – perhaps even KITT, the talking car from Knight Rider?
But seriously, for many people the idea of AI and the application in their own company is intimidating, the practical use still seems far away these days. Of course, many tools used in today’s daily business work with algorithms, but only to save 2-3 minor tedious steps. Is that already AI? What’s so intelligent about that? Does AI already contribute genuinely “intelligent” benefits today?
Chatbots and why 5 minutes in the spotlight matter
Let’s take the use of chatbots for companies as an example. We all know that the customer experience must be accurate at crucial points – typically, this is when your customer has a problem or a critical concern. According to the Harvard Business Review, you have no more than 5 minutes to resolve the customer’s issue before a negative experience emerges. And the same applies to lead requests. Therefore, you must be available and able to help within the same period that your customer might need to cook his breakfast egg. To staff a service hotline 24/7 and to ensure that the answers the customer receives are helpful is not only costly but often also a matter of sheer luck. Chatbots, however, can direct requests to the right departments, provide aid and automate smaller processes such as making appointments.
Composers of on-hold music may face difficult times in the future
Imagine you give the task to someone who is always available and can help the requestor individually after just hearing his name. A chatbot can help by accessing CRM data in real-time and adding additional information from the conversation during the call. Plus: Your customer doesn’t have to explain his concern every time he contacts you, because he connects to a different person. And the more detailed the customer profiles are, the more individual will be the customer service and the more specific the customer acquisition.
More personal than a personal e-mail
Chatbots also have the potential to replace e-mail marketing in the long-term. After all, what is more valuable than a personalized e-mail in a potential customer’s inbox? Well, that would be a personal message in a Messenger system that works like an e-mail in real-time. After all, we look at our smartphone’s display more than 50 times a day on average. The process from e-mail marketing can thus be dramatically accelerated with this form of AI – especially because click-throughs for the recipient are minimal. According to a study by Epsilon in the US in 2016, the open-rate of e-mails is increasing, but the click-through rate is falling continuously. AI and more personal access to people – directly to the messenger on the smartphone in your pocket – can smartly avoid this trend.
“We check our smartphone 50 times a day – chatbots can help show presence right here.”
Opportunities for B2B bots
You have come to know chatbots mainly from the online fashion shop or your internet provider – and you find the implementation there anything but helpful. So you might ask yourself, does this have any relevance for my company? It well might – especially for B2B! According to ComScore, B2B decision-makers spend 760 minutes a week on Facebook – compared to 160 on Google coming second. That increases not only the relevance of Facebook for B2B but also the chance to offer your customers quick access to a chatbot via the company’s presence there.
As always, it is the “how” that matters
Are you put off by the performance of the chatbots you have encountered on websites so far? They are often used as a gimmick and in the wrong place. If they don’t know anything about you yet, the small AIs are just as helpless as the support team member on his first workday. But if the application is selected well, for example, after logging into a support portal, you can then identify and serve your customers immediately.
This customer data is used and enriched by the chatbot for personal customer experience, is ultimately the key to other AI applications in your company too, such as more specific targeting, personalization on your website and much more. No doubt: Applications like these are the (very near!) future of marketing – in whatever form.