Why You Need a Chatbot in 2022, Even If You’ve Had Bad Experiences Before
Chatbots and virtual assistants are nothing new. These pieces of digital technology have been around for years, supporting — and sometimes infuriating — human users across a variety of different applications. We say “infuriating” because chatbots have not always been popular. In the early days of the tech, clumsy artificial intelligence and sub-standard responses left customers feeling alienated and wholly dissatisfied with virtual assistance. Humans and AI-based automated chat tools didn’t exactly get off on the right foot.
This means lots of early users and adopters of chatbots have had bad experiences with the solutions, and many organizations decided to terminate their chatbot projects and return to a more traditional way of doing things. However, it now appears those days of disillusionment and irritation are behind us — 2022 might just be the year that you and your organization welcome virtual assistants back with open arms
Why Now Is the Time to Get a Chatbot
So, what’s changed? Why do you need a chatbot right in 2022? Well, the entire chatbot landscape has shifted in recent years as automated technology becomes more powerful and capable, customer expectations become more urgent, and businesses gain an increasingly global outlook. While once upon a time chatbots were useful — if sometimes a little problematic — accessories for businesses, they are now becoming crucial tools for forward-thinking organizations.
Let’s take a look at this in more detail.
Chatbot Technology Has Come a Long, Long Way Since the Early Days
Cast your mind back to 2007 and the heady days just before the global financial crisis. What was your cellphone like back then? Perhaps you had a Sony Ericsson or a Motorola, maybe with a passable camera and WiFi integration. How does that model compare to the cell you have today? Mobile technology today is almost unrecognizable from what we knew 15, 10, or even just five years ago, and chatbot technology is no different.
Today, Natural Language Processing (NLP) allows virtual assistant applications to mimic the speech patterns and articulation of human speakers. This results in a far more organic and effective system of communication between humans and automated systems.
NLP is supported by powerful artificial intelligence (AI). While NLP is the point of connection between virtual assistants and human users, AI systems are the brains of the chatbot, providing valuable insight that is translated into coherent output. With AI-based systems, these bots are able to understand the requirements and, crucially, the objectives of the humans they interact with. From here, they can provide the swift answers that customers need.
Chatbots and virtual assistants can also actively learn, honing their capabilities over time. With cognitive technology, these solutions analyze previous encounters and interactions, growing their understanding of how better to serve human users in the future. To put it simply, this is a very, very different set of capabilities than those seen just a few years ago.
Attitudes Toward Chatbots Have Changed
It’s true, attitudes toward chatbots have changed in recent years. Customers — particularly millennials and younger customers — no longer feel like virtual assistants and similar tech solutions are a barrier to service objectives and are instead waking up to the benefits of improved convenience and accessibility. Perhaps this shift is in response to this increased capability — or maybe it comes from the changing pace of the modern market. Most likely, it is a mixture of both of these factors.
This gives business owners an enormous opportunity. With the right virtual assistant technology, there is no danger of driving customers away or souring the consumer experience. In other words, businesses can reduce costs and improve labour and resource deployment without harming the customer relationship.
Customer Needs Are Accelerating
To say that customers are warming to the idea of chatbots may be an understatement. Increasingly, it looks as if customers need chatbots and virtual tools just as much as business owners do. This is because customer requirements are accelerating, and waiting around for a response or a solution is simply not an option any longer.
The idea of a human callback within two or three working days is now outdated. While businesses can offer this kind of service to enhance the relationship between them and their customers, they must support this with something more immediately effective. Chatbots allow you to do both — meeting the needs of customers without delay and following this up with human interaction when required. Today’s virtual assistants are more than capable of handling simple user inquiries — ranging from quick questions with quantitative answers to basic to moderate technical support questions. This means a chatbot can take care of a large proportion of your interactions without delay, 24 hours a day.
A More Dynamic Landscape Demands Increased Flexibility
The modern business landscape has grown more dynamic in recent years. Remote working practices are leading to complex organizational structures, with disparate teams spread across multiple locations. Meanwhile, small and medium-sized businesses are operating in a growing number of international marketplaces.
This is pushing chatbots to the very frontline of business communication and interaction. We can expect to see more client-facing virtual assistants that can process user interactions across a variety of different languages and localizations in the near future, bringing previously remote markets together with powerful multi-language technology. In addition to this, internal chatbots are going to play a significant role in the future development of business, ensuring that remote teams and personnel receive the support they need as they use cloud-based tools. Chatbots and virtual assistants will be pivotal to the success of this new business normal.