Thinking about adding a chatbot to your business? You’re not alone.
In fact, 80 percent of businesses reported already incorporating or planning on adding chatbots by the year 2020. That’s according to a study pulled together by Oracle, surveying more than 800 decision makers at companies in France, the Netherlands, South Africa and the U.K. Most were in the C-suite — chief strategy officers and marketing officers; others were senior sales and marketing executives.
They were asked about emerging technologies and whether they’ve already employed them or are interested in moving in a certain direction. In general, the survey found that these leaders are turning to focus on automation-related technologies, specifically implementing chatbots to enhance or fix issues around sales, marketing and customer service.
Speaking of customer service, more than 40 percent of those executives said they think automation will improve that experience over the short and long haul. Chatbots can be tailored to fit a business, from its voice and personality — including making a humorous chatbot — to how the conversation can steer customers to finding answers and information, to making purchases.
Indeed, chatbots have potential, as some experts even argue that they may be so helpful for businesses that they may even kill apps entirely. But not every one agrees.
“Bots are best suited to a space in between apps and human support, to take care of routine processes — like paying bills or updating addresses — where the chances of a misunderstanding are low but the frequency of people doing this is also low, which means that the option might get buried in the menus of an app,” said Rurik Bradbury, global head of research at LivePerson. “Giving people a faster path to routine features, instead of searching through an app’s menus, is where bots can add value in the foreseeable future.”
Many experts agree that automation is helpful for slimming down labor costs, streamlining certain processes and saving nearly $25 billion for companies. Another study reported that just under one-third of customer service positions could be at risk for being turned over to chatbot technology.
All that said, there is a limit to what a chatbot can do (and even what to say to them). And, as a result, most companies will never be able to completely rely on chatbots for their customer service.
For weekly updates on chatbots, check out PYMNTS’ Chatbot Tracker.