Tomorrow’s Smart Company

Nehmé Lebbos

Expert in Digital Transformation, CEO of NELCOM Group.

“Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line, and one of our representatives will take your call as soon as possible. Thank you for waiting.” By the second time you hear this, you are ready to complain to someone about it but you know you’ll be put on hold if you try. And then the answer comes: “Sorry sir, we won’t be taking calls after 5 pm.” You called at 4:30, how is it 5 now!

They say that need is the mother of invention; well now we have the technology to build the 7 world wonders sevenfold and need is getting higher and more complex the more we are exposed to the potential of “what can be”, so what’s the holdup? Chatbots and machines now have the potential to save up to 80% of human labor, so what’s the holdup? We will all be able to spend more time with our family, go for longer holidays in the countryside and generally have more time for ourselves, for now, chatbots will be working for us. Those tireless workers who work 24/7, charging no overtime and working through all the holidays, are all we will need for the “next step” in human development.

The de facto playground for chatbots is, of course, the customer service sector. Customers are sick of being put on hold, they’re sick of waiting, and when they call the customer service, odds are they’re already in a bad mood. Customers have become less patient, the continued customer expectation for speed, or even immediacy, of contact and resolution, is the biggest challenge for this sector today and industry research tells us that the best customer service is still one that is fast, easy, and personalized.

Adweek’s Tomanchek wrote early last year. “Messaging apps are used almost nine times a day, five times the average for all mobile apps,” the site said. “A month after installation, messaging apps have nearly double the retention rate of the average for all apps, 68 percent versus 38 percent.” The company’s customers are already on there, already on the messaging app the same place your chatbot is; They can ask questions related to product details, delivery times, pricing, or to seek help; and the chatbot will decide whether it can help or if it needs to pass the customer over to a human.

Another one of the ways chatbots can revolutionize your company is in the IT support department. Big companies have started using chatbots in IT to reduce the costs and cut down on IT employees. Big companies with lots of employees needed a big IT department in the past, not anymore. IT Chatbots now can be fed data for them to be capable of solving almost 90% of IT related issues an average employee might face based on a database of questions asked by employees to IT workers. This means almost 90% of IT working hours saved

Making chatbots for IT support teams is an ideal opportunity to keep up with these ever-increasing employee expectations of speed and a better customer experience. IT support benefits through having this additional “team member.” One that doesn’t tire of the repetition and the same questions being asked over and over again, one that never sleeps and is ready to help 24/7 and one that will potentially reduce the cost while at the same time providing quicker support. Human IT support agents here are freed up to do more complex and interesting work, where they will be more productive and generally happier.

It is well known that much of the engagement technology used in IT service management first entered the business world via customer support teams – whether to improve the customer experience or to reduce the costs. All in all, to help win and retain customer relationships. So now, it is not surprising that customer support teams are leading the way in the use of chatbots and it’s something else that IT support professionals should add to their toolkit.

According to Forbes, “Chatbots can be programmed to track purchasing patterns and monitor data from consumers. This tells a company which products to market differently, which to market more and which to redevelop for a relaunch.” Here, chatbots utilized in marketing score another win.

The database collected from the customer service chatbot will show you exactly where your marketing strategy has done a good job and where it is lacking. Target marketing. A chatbot markets products by suggesting them to the users based on their preferences and explains, in a casual manner, why the user should buy this product. A chatbot’s suggestions march into the user’s attention spectrum without triggering all the walls of disbelief that classical advertising triggers.The user sub consciously perceives them as word of mouth.

Chatbots are the next evolution for native advertising. Today the preferred way of communication is chatting. A study shows that in 2016 more than 1.4 billion people used messaging apps and, according to the same study, 80 % of all respondents spend their time on the smartphone in messaging apps. Therefore chatting with a bot instead of doing phone calls seems much more natural to the user. This is where native advertising falls in. There is a huge potential for advertisers to use chatbots to drive value and make sales volume in advertising.

Last but not least, a chatbot in HR has proven to be a great asset. The bot is the best employee an HR manager has ever had, is an exemplary employee.The HR manager can ask the bot to filter out applications, to assess productivity levels and to calculate overtime. The chatbot can even suggest bonuses and promotions according to database assessments. The bot can even hold preliminary interviews with applicants wishing to work in the company prior to any real interview with real people.

Any company will do better with all 4 chatbots, 2 for internal use and 2 for external. The four bots are very different but all four should have a uniform character, uniform tone, and manner, and this will quickly become your brand’s character, language and tone. Vladimir Putin proclaims that whoever leads in AI will rule the world and when you see that a KFC branch in Hangzhou, China, now lets customers pay for orders with their faces, by facial recognition,  you start to believe that Putin actually makes a good point there.