Communication between companies and their customers becomes more important

Even before the pandemic in 2020, ecommerce becomes more and more popular, and lots of people enjoy it in several categories such as groceries and daily commodities. In 2020, the pandemic makes our life more difficult to communicate each other lively so that a lot of people all over the world are urged to use ecommerce. As a result, not only large companies but also small and medium enterprises (SMEs) start to offer ecommerce to capture new customer needs. In addition to this, technological advancements allow us to enjoy platform services without coding and Shopify is the good example. In the past, SMEs faced challenges to hire software developers and enhanced their organizational capabilities. However, even though SMEs do not hire software engineers, they are able to create their own ecommerce service by making use of no code platforms. As a consequence, the more customers purchase products through their ecommerce page, the more possible they complain about the site and products.

After offering ecommerce service, the next important question is how to improve customer experience (CX), and one of the factors to do is the communication between companies and their customers. Of course, SMEs have less assets and options to enhance CX than large companies do, but the new technology, a chatbot, also might be one solution for this problem.

What is a chatbot?

Chatbot is relatively new concept so that let us define it based on Wikipedia in English.

A chatbot is a software application used to conduct an on-line chat conversation via text or text-to-speech, in lieu of providing direct contact with a live human agent. Designed to convincingly simulate the way a human would behave as a conversational partner, chatbot systems typically require continuous tuning and testing, and many in production remain unable to adequately converse or pass the industry standard Turing test. The term “ChatterBot” was originally coined by Michael Mauldin (creator of the first Verbot) in 1994 to describe these conversational programs.

Chatbots are used in dialog systems for various purposes including customer service, request routing, or for information gathering. While some chatbot applications use extensive word-classification processes, natural language processors, and sophisticated AI, others simply scan for general keywords and generate responses using common phrases obtained from an associated library or database.

Most chatbots are accessed on-line via website popups or through virtual assistants. They can be classified into usage categories that include: commerce (e-commerce via chat), education, entertainment, finance, health, news, and productivity

What is expected for a chatbot?

According to Gartner’s research and report, we can expect that a chatbot will be more popular in several industries.

Gartner predicts that by 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions globally will be handled completely by AI, an increase of 400% from 2017. But before then — by 2020 — 40% of the bot virtual assistant applications launched in 2018 will have been abandoned as technology adoption converges on fewer apps.

“Customer service is a hotbed for new technology and innovation,” said Jeff Schott, Director, Gartner. “However, in today’s ever-evolving technology landscape, innovations threaten to overwhelm even the most progressive service leaders. And shiny new objects quickly lose their luster without a coherent technology strategy — one that is grounded in realistic expectations and a long-term commitment.”

Can a chatbot solve all customer’s problems?

It is true that a chatbot improve customer service. For example, when we want to know updated information about our flights, many aviation companies offer their own chatbot service to improve our experience. Actually we enjoy each service and feel that it enhance CX. However, do you think a chatbot can solve all customer’s problems? In 2020, the answer would be NO. One reason is that good salespeople can convince us to buy new products and services more than a chatbot does. For example, if we consider purchasing a luxury car that costs more than 1 million USD, do you think that a chatbot can persuade us to do so? Another reason is that a chatbot will not react irregular situations as soon as it can. For instance, the pandemic makes most countries to change their foreign policies many times. Therefore, a chatbot has great potential and already helps many companies transform their businesses, but there are rooms to improve.