Whether someone is buying a product, attending a concert or renting a truck to move furniture, there’s some level of customer service involved. It’s the one major thread running through nearly every business.
Over the past few decades, we’ve seen some form of chatbots being used by businesses to better enhance the customer service experience. Today, through the use of smart devices and interactive chatbots, businesses are able to gather deeper insight into consumer details at the micro level to provide a higher level of personalized service offerings.
Now while Facebook initially launched its Messenger chat service in 2011, it wasn’t a major hit right away and the social media giant continued to refine its offering. As recently as earlier this month, we reported on the possibility of Facebook’s Messenger losing steam due to fuzzy listed new features and business departures.
Like all new technologies, chatbots are facing challenges. It wasn’t until 2016 that we saw the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI)–enabled chatbots bring about a necessary aspect of the technology via a conversational interface. Through both AI and natural-language processing, computer engineers now have the capability to develop chatbots built directly into the Facebook Messenger chatbot to bring a new level of customer service convenience to their nearly 2 billion active monthly users.
Rather than jumping on the custom app development bandwagon that often performs poorly due to lack of consumer downloads, businesses have been increasingly making the move to partner with Facebook’s Messenger chatbot. Earlier this year, we shared the news of Domino’s Pizza offering its full menu and ATB Financial making it easier to conduct bank transactions through integrating its services with the social media giant.
It seems businesses are being drawn to chatbots like Facebook’s Messenger as an easy way to directly communicate with their core target audiences. Likely, we’ll see more businesses choosing to partner with Facebook’s Messenger chatbot this year over developing their own app.
One surprising industry that’s entering this market is insurance. Once thought of as a stodgy industry that rarely sees innovation, there is a company that’s looking to change that perception.
Cambridge, Mass.–based virtual insurance agent company Insurify announced it’s leading the industry charge with its decision to embrace the chatbot trend. Through its $4.6 million round of funding led by MassMutual Ventures, it hopes to revolutionize the insurance shopping experience with the addition of AI capabilities. First up on the company’s growth plan is its U.S. car insurance comparison tool that’s now being made available via Facebook Messenger. Insurers can now compare insurance quotes and receive recommendations through messaging.
Insurify’s CEO and founder, Snejina Zacharia, shared how this partnership will benefit and evolve the insurance industry. She said, “Our Facebook Messenger virtual agent experience is faster than any website or mobile app and easier to use than any online form. It’s a powerful example of how our technology will work on all other messaging services. Our vision is to continue to enhance the artificial intelligence and data integrations behind our virtual agent and train the algorithms to pass the insurance licensing exam.”
Infusing chat into the customer experience aspect of businesses is likely to help elevate the quality of service provided.
Today’s always-on consumer wants the ability to have access to companies 24/7, whether it’s to share praise, complain or simply make a last-minute purchase. The way in which businesses chose to interact with consumers delegates how their reputation will be managed and whether consumers will remain loyal. Implementing a chatbot feature ensures that people are receiving a high-quality level of service that’s controlled by companies’ chatbot developers at a level that once was not possible.
Removing the shackles of the traditional 9-to-5 hours typical of a telecommunications customer service center, chatbots seem to be leading the charge for a business operations revolution.