The first chat bot, ELIZA, was developed back in 1966 by the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. It/she was one of the first programs to beat the Turing Test and lay the foundations for future communications between man and machine. Whilst it might have taken a while for chat bots to appear in the mainstream, they are finally having a profound impact on the way businesses engage with customers.
Our Future of Messaging Report, developed in partnership with Ovum and Symsoft, recently revealed that over a quarter of businesses now use chat bots, mostly via chat apps or social media. However, the use of bots isn’t just limited to those channels. In fact, most two-way SMS services are also powered by chat bots, for examples, SMS services that allow customers to check their bank balance or recent transactions.
But that’s just the start of it.
Bots are rapidly taking their place across multiple channels, and are set to become an important part of customer service in the near future.
Chat bots: benefits and cost-savings
Chat bots are gaining traction now, thank to the multiple and measurable benefits they deliver. The vast majority of enterprises are using chat bots to improve the customer experience and cut costs. Our study with Ovum highlighted that 96% of enterprises are using chat bots to make it easier for customers to access content and services. 92% are using them to automate customer facing functions, and 88% are using them to improve customer service and reduce churn.
The results of introducing chat bots are now starting to be seen. With 76% of respondents from our study indicating that their organization has measured improvements in customer service, 72% said that they have seen increased revenues, and 64% have experienced reduced churn.
Cost reduction was also on the minds of everyone who joined our study. 84% stated that bots had reduced back-end costs, and 72% felt that chat bots were cheaper and more effective than developing and distributing an app.
However, the use of bots is still largely initiated by the customer, meaning that brands and businesses need to work harder to make customers aware of the bot’s existence. But this is just a small challenge, and one that is unlikely to halt the relentless march of the bots.