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Considering that an improved customer experience (CX) is a top priority for every organization in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, “revolutionary” is proving to be the best word to describe an endlessly adaptable, scalable technology that can fundamentally change the face of customer engagement.
The concept of chatbots is nearly as old as modern computing and has long been a point of fascination for techies, going all the way back to famed computer scientist Alan Turing.
Two big developments in recent years have spurred the growth of chatbots in digital business.
The simplest bots were built on a set of rules that enables them to “converse” by recognizing keywords and drawing their responses from a database. In contrast, today’s advanced support chatbots use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to closely replicate conversation with a human, learning and growing “smarter” with each conversation and fully engaging with the customer to provide accurate and timely responses every time.
Secondly, the rules have changed in 2016, with the announcement by Facebook that it was turning Messenger, its messaging app with more than one billion users, into a platform that now allows businesses to communicate with their customers by way of chatbots. In short order, businesses climbed aboard Messenger and other messaging platforms, with the emergence of cutting-edge and fully integrated chatbot solutions for the new vehicles.
Chatbots and messaging platforms are a perfect marriage and it’s no wonder: smartphones and tablets are where people “live” online in our mobile society, so that’s where businesses need to be as well. Yet, for most companies, standalone apps haven’t turned out to be the most effective way to connect with customers. With millions of apps for consumers to choose from, it’s all too easy for any one company to get lost in the mix, especially when you consider the fact that the average person only uses a handful of apps on a regular basis.
Chatbots can provide customers with reliable, accurate service free from the foibles of actual employees. That ensures a customer experience that won’t be undermined by a headache or just a bad day at the office. And, of course, it means that offering exemplary customer service doesn’t have to mean high personnel costs.
There comes a point when a “trend” becomes something much more than that, and in the case of messaging platforms that point has arrived. Halfway through 2015, the number of monthly users of messaging apps surpassed the number of monthly social media app users, and that line on the graph is only continuing to rise.
At the same time, the sophistication of support chatbots has reached a level at which the bots are delivering top-quality customer experiences today while continuing to learn and improve, guaranteeing that the technology will have a permanent and prominent place in the world of digital marketing.
Put those two facts side by side and it’s not a trend you’re witnessing.
It is, in fact, nothing short of a revolution.