In a recent publication by Publicis Media, global chatbot usage has reached over 50%. This is astounding in the fact that chatbots have always struggled to break out of their initial debut years ago, the stigma of rigid voice and minimal responses. As technology advances and artificial intelligence continues to get, well, more intelligent, these virtual assistants have become more communicative and human-like.
However, we have a long road to go. Building out a conversational interface that is truly human-like means teaching a computer program the entire dictionary, dialects, and other human nuances. Oh, and throw in an unpredictable and irrational human being to be on the other end. No big deal.
The friction that arises is our expectation of what a “conversation” is with a chatbot. Historically, our interaction has been one of clunky and pushy at best. The old saying “ask questions that the other person will enjoy answering” and “be a good listener” holds true to chatbots as well. Even though we are interacting with a software program, the subtle humanistic feeling of communicating with someone(thing) raises our expectations subconsciously.
We know that when this friction is truly removed, meaning chatbots conversations is one of ease and provide solutions, sales and satisfaction go up. Acobot, our AI-backed chatbot, has proven to drive sales by 30% or more for our partners. According to Publicis Media, there is an estimated 8% out there who would likely use a chatbot if the service was more frictionless.
“Humans want to be heard, plain and simple. Think of how we interact throughout our days, the conversations we have and the people we interact with”, says Acobot’s Chief Marketing Officer, Justin Wells. “This carries over when communicating over the internet and even though we may know on the other end that it is a robot, we have this subconscious expectation it will be human-like.”
So what do we do in the meantime? Technology can only be advanced so quickly, what does a brand do to capitalize on the current success of conversational AI but do so without impacting customer satisfaction. Publicis Media goes on to say this can be achieved by managing functionality expectations upfront with customers. This minimizes user frustration with a chatbot. Think of times that you had a great experience in a retail store, you raved about that brand and actually felt closer. Most likely this involved you returning more than once.
The same goes for our online interactions as well. When a chatbot works well, customers trust the brand more, not the chatbot. These “great” interactions can lift the emotional connection to brands by 19% according to Publicis Media. To put 19% into context, that is on par with a great mobile website (16%) and just behind a great app (30%). It would be dangerous and arrogant for us to say that natural language processing will be there in the coming years, but we know that the work being put into this development will yield amazing results. By utilizing other features to manage expectations, like a more robotic avatar, Acobot has made great strides in creating an environment that produces a great customer experience and high brand satisfaction.