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Key Chatbot Trends in 2022: How Chatbots can Transform Your Sales and Customer Service

Chatbots have been around now for several years, having made their way into the customer service strategies of larger organisations, becoming a fixture for consumers on websites. According to the Gartner Hype Cycle, they are only now at the Trough of Disillusionment, which may not sound good, but an examination of the curve reveals that it is after this point when a technology usually emerges to find a place of genuine productivity. This is backed up by Gartner’s own studies that indicate 47% of organisations will use chatbots for customer care and 40% will deploy virtual assistants.

With this in mind, read on to understand the features and use cases that will drive deeper value for chatbots and enable them to become an even more effective tool to deliver on your customer service goals in 2022 and beyond.

Sentiment Analytics

The technology and the desire to create chatbots that understand user intent is not new; however, up to now the focus for most chatbot development has been to answer simpler questions. For example, the kind of information for which customers might normally go to an FAQ or guide. In support, after finding out the answers to their questions, and they are still unsure, then there might be a button to press talk to a live agent or send an email. This is done in stages because of the complexity of discovering intent, and the importance of collecting data so that brands can ensure they can smoothly introduce intent without negatively impacting their customer experience.

However, for many larger brands, and for the chatbot platform providers who are also working to train the datasets in tandem, chatbots have been in the wild now for several years offering up many opportunities to learn and finetune. Because of this, in 2022, we will likely see the introduction of sentiment into more and more chatbots.

Being able to detect sentiment allows bots to more human and enhance the user experience. In real-time, they can work out the mood of the customer. For customer service, this can be beneficial because the bot can then modify how they talk to the customer to provide empathy, head off negative reviews and improve your business's Net Promoter Score. In the case, of sales, it can discover the possibility to upsell the product, and either do so itself or pass the call to the sales team to handle.

Voice

The focus of bots up to now has principally been on messaging channels; however, the success of digital assistants like Alexa and Siri has meant that consumers are now increasingly looking to get their answers through voice - According to Accenture, people prefer voice-over text messaging channels.

Voice can not only be used for inbound, but also for outbound campaigns to pre-qualify sales or carry out surveys or marketing promotions. It brings the added advantage of being able to reach people, if integration is done, who prefer to talk over telephony – rather than the Internet – and bring a level of efficiency but personalisation to campaigns previously not possible for this group. This has been particularly impactful because of COVID, where this group who were not Internet savvy are also most likely to have had to isolate for long periods, lonely and craving interaction.

In addition, voice will make its way into many more IVR systems, where it can offer a much easier way to interact and an alternative to the tree-like menu structures that are incredible sources of frustration for many users.

Internal Business Processes

Without trying to dwell on cliches about the world of work changing forever because of the pandemic, the simple fact is that it has - Governments are encouraging people to go back to the office, but a quick look at job ads will show levels of work from home or hybrid working offered, still noticeably higher compared to pre-pandemic. In other words, there is a new normal that businesses have to be aware of and plan for it they are going to attract the right personnel.

As part of that new normal, businesses have to think of ways to support their staff based on a hybrid working model. Businesses have speeded up digital transformation and many of those software platforms are already in place in terms of video conferencing, internal messaging, and collaborative platforms. However, businesses are always looking for ways to improve efficiency, and chatbots can play a part. For example, training, onboarding, ongoing administration issues and anything that might initially have been on the company Intranet can be moved to an internal bot to offer employees a convenient and fun way to get answers and standardise your internal brand.

Payments

The global transactional value of mobile payments is projected to cross $12,407.5 billion by the end of 2025 and chatbots have a role to play in that process. Already chatbots are being used by banks to look up bank balances and bots are used in the shopping process to give recommendations, compare prices, and add items to a cart. The next step for businesses, and especially those who are doing their sales through mobile, is to make the process of checking out simpler with voice. One way to do this is – and to further prompt a payment – would be for the bot to ask if someone wants to pay and take them through the process.

Different Personalities

One of the improvements from the additional data and the implementation of sentiment analytics will be the opportunity to develop different personalities to meet specific consumer groups and to show off different aspects of the brand.

Languages

Rather than just offering English, improvements in language processing mean that more businesses will be able to reply in the language of their customer and hopefully create better experiences.

Low Code Chatbots

While larger organisations will invest more into sophisticated chatbots, smaller businesses are still looking to introduce chatbots as cost-effectively as possible. Therefore, usage of low code platforms that enable businesses without large in-house technical expertise, or the budgets to outsource, to create a basic bot will continue to grow.

Recruitment

The initial processes of getting basic information and then qualifying a candidate can be very time-consuming for consultants when done manually. Already many other solutions, like video interview platforms, are available to help streamline the process, and a bot can be incredibly valuable to not just ask standard questions but to use sentiment analytics to ask follow-up questions.

Social Media

Businesses are already using social media bots to sell products, but we will more and more businesses moving to optimise for a range of social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

Omnichannel

We already know that consumers are approaching businesses across a multitude of channels and an omnichannel customer record is essential if we are to optimise engagement with that customer. One of the key parts of that is a consistent brand, but that can be problematic as you will have different agents interacting with a customer. A solution to this is to have your chatbot as the first interaction point for everyone so that your brand voice is standardised.

In conclusion, 2022 will be an important year for chatbot technology as it continues to mature and offer operational efficiency gains for businesses and customer experience benefits for their customers. As bots become more sophisticated, mostly driven by sentiment analytics and machine learning, it is incredibly important that businesses start to map out their strategy so as not to be left behind.

Want to learn more about the benefits and features of chatbots? Take a look at our chatbot services here: Chatbot Services



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