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Once upon a time, Chatbots sounded like something from a sci-fi novel. Now, computers can really talk to humans. Chatbots are a reality, and they're changing the way businesses interact with consumers, manage their marketing campaigns and manage payments. Sixty percent of consumers say they have used a chatbot to communicate with a business in the past 12 months.
Chatbots let businesses communicate with consumers at any time of the day. In short, these bots simulate human conversation and fix common customer service issues. It's no wonder, then, that 35 percent of consumers would use a chatbot to resolve a complaint or problem.
"A chatbot can have a conversation with a customer but isn't limited by technology because the AI technology is built into the software," says Forbes magazine. "In most cases, chatbots use messenger apps to communicate with customers. A person can type or ask a question and the bot responds with the right information."
Chatbots can automate simple payments over live chat and messenger apps. Not only will these bots save business owners time, but they can reduce human labor costs, too. Consumers will no longer have to call up a customer service department to pay for a service or settle a bill, so business owners won't need as many staff.
In 2016, MasterCard launched an AI-powered chatbot for customer payments. These bots can answer questions about a customer's account balance, set payment alerts and collect payments. Other companies have also incorporated chatbot technology into their business models. Experts predict that 25 percent of all customer service operations will utilize chatbots or virtual customer assistants by the year 2020.
Chatbots don't just communicate simple commands -- they are capable of having human-like conversations with consumers. Think of them as customer service agents and salespeople and marketers all rolled into one.
These bots improve user engagement through personalization:
Chatbots also increase user engagement on social media websites like Facebook and Instagram. These bots communicate with consumers through live chat platforms like Facebook Messenger and solve common problems normally handled by a customer service team.
"Chatbots are taking over social media marketing as they allow consumers to engage with them in terms of content consumption, customer service, and transactional engagements," says Chatbots Magazine.
"Shifting gears, it is now possible for consumers to read and receive information, ask queries and even purchase from one chatbot instead of using social media as a portal."
Chatbots are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated. These language learning tools can improve user retention by managing customer service issues in a timely, efficient manner and upselling and cross-selling relevant products and services.
Chatbots are a powerful retention channel for any business. One recent study revealed that average chatbot retention -- the number of consumers who returned to a company within 30 days after communicating with a bot -- is 34 percent.
Chatbots can't make someone breakfast or wash the dishes (yet), but they can automate many of the day-to-day tasks that business owners just don't have the time to complete themselves. Brands can use this technology to enhance their customer service and support processes, automate simple payments, increase user engagement and brand awareness, streamline social media activity and improve user retention.
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