Chatbots in Business: Could Virtual Assistants Replace Human Being? Chatbots in Business: Could Virtual Assistants Replace Human Being?

Use of chatbots in business allows bringing the process of communication with customers to a new level and automating routine tasks. They can easily replace a big team of the call center operators by taking on the majority of their functions. Which tasks do chatbots solve? What are their advantages and disadvantages? Why may businesses find the use of robotized assistants useful? Read about all of it further in the article.

Chatbots in business: why to use them?

A chatbot is the software that allows businesses to communicate with customers through the chat interface without human interference.

Statista forecasts that the global market of chatbots will grow to $994.5 million by 2024 (for a comparison, $113 million in 2015). Companies will use them in the fields of medicine, e-commerce, insurance, financing, tourism, retail, entertainment, and mass media. The popularity of automated assistants is growing because they are intended to simplify the interaction between companies and customers.

There are two types of virtual assistants:

  1. Chatbots that fulfil a number of preprogrammed functions. They respond only to commands preset by developers and do not recognize other queries. To start a dialogue, the user has to mention one of the keywords. In business, they are usually used to inform users regarding typical queries;
  2. Advanced chatbots. They are designed using artificial intelligence technologies and can self-learn. They get smarter in the process of communication with different users.

Chatbots function on official websites of companies, in messengers (Telegram, Viber, Facebook,WhatsApp), social networks (Vkontakte, Instagram, Twitter), Skype, and other platforms.

Chatbots help to solve the following tasks in business:

  • provide technical support. They help to track parcels, edit customer personal data, inform users about services, goods, prices, payment and delivery methods;
  • answer frequently asked questions;
  • sell products. Virtual assistant not only can consult a potential customer but can also choose certain products for him, handle payments, send a notification about the order status;
  • process payments for services;
  • inform users about special offers, updates of assortment, send advertising offers;
  • fulfil an interactive function (send recommendations, life hacks, etc.);
  • conduct surveys and questionnaires;
  • register customers (for example, to attend a beauty salon or a doctor);
  • register in the loyalty program, etc.

AI Conference Kyiv: Chatbots in Business: Could Virtual Assistants Replace Human Being?  - 1

Advantages and disadvantages of chatbots

By fulfilling a great number of functions, chatbots relieve employees from routine and allow spending less funds on customer support service.

Key advantages of virtual assistants:

  • function24/7;
  • talk to customers without human assistance. As a result, companies can reduce expenditures;
  • reduce load on employees that provide consultancy services on hot lines and in chats;
  • can communicate with several users simultaneously;
  • respond to all incoming queries in a timely manner;
  • can speak several languages;
  • help to find a personalized approach to customers thanks to the chat history, etc.

A chatbot is a program andtoday it cannot handle all tasks that a person can do. Chatbots have the following disadvantages:

They do not always understand what a person wants from them. Chatbots give answers only to simple and clearly formulated questions.

Lack of emotions. Some customers prefer a “live” conversation, where the operator supports, shows empathy or sympathy. A chatbot cannot offer these things.

If a user makes orthographic or stylistic mistakes, the system may interpret the text incorrectly and consequently incorrectly respond to the query.

A user can block the chatbot in case it regularly sends different content.

automated assistants can take on some of the functions of HR specialists, managers, consultants, sellers, bank employees, and other specialists. However, they cannot fully replace a human.

How to launch your own chatbot? Expenses

There are two ways to build a virtual assistant. Simple chatbots that answer a restricted number of questions are generated by special websites-constructors. No programming skills are needed. Such services charge from $10per month for using them.

To build an intelligent chatbot, one needs to write a program. Besides, you will need content to train the chatbot. It can be articles from the Internet or chat histories. Development of virtual assistants with elements of artificial intelligence is the job of IT specialists. They can ask several tens of thousands of dollars for their work.

Despite the initial investment in the development of a bot, the businessperson will benefit in the end. One chatbot can take on responsibilities of several people. Therefore, its implementation can allow reducing the number of employees.

Chatbots in Ukrainian business

Different Ukrainian companies use virtual assistants including PrivatBank, Nova Poshta, Ukrposhta, WOG, Donor.ua, Vodafone,Alfa Bank Ukraine, Varus store chain, Rabota.ua.

One of the successful chatbot use cases in business isKyivstar’s Zoriana. It helps subscribers to choose an appropriate tariff plan, informs about communication services, available offers. Besides, it fulfils the entertainment function by talking to users on unrelated themes and even cites poems of Lina Kostenko or Taras Shevchenko.

Zoriana has a base of 12,000 standardized answers to questions. The chatbot answers up to 70% of all queries. Around 25% of all incoming calls are transferred from the Interactive Voice Response service to the virtual assistant. 10% of those users consequently call back to the call center.

The Ukrainian PrivatBank has been implementing chatbots since 2005. The financial institution has virtual assistants designed to search for personnel, for money transfers, credit arrangements, to provide information about special offers, balance, etc. They process up to 85%of queries. Thanks to this, the bank has reduced the number of operators and annually saves around $2.2million.

Kyiv-based Art Zavod Platforma launched a chatbot in 2018. It took 3 months to develop with the cost of up to $10,000.The chatbot helps customers to check out rental terms and conditions, find out contact details of specialists, familiarize with the schedule of exhibitions, and buy tickets to events.

Conclusion

Today chatbots are an efficient tool for interaction with consumers. They enable 24\7 connection with customers, attract their attention to the brand, and fulfil many routine tasks. By spending a certain sum to develop a virtual assistant, the businessperson can ultimately reduce expenses and optimize communication processes.

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