A 2021 eMarketer and Insider Intelligence survey found 72% of customer experience professionals said their companies use conversational AI-like chatbots, up from 69% in 2020.
Chatbots are increasingly critical in customer experience because they are an efficient way for customers to get information and resolve issues without the limitations of traditional contact methods like email and phone.
However, chatbots and AI assistants can also devalue a business if they do not give customers the necessary information. The same applies if you incorrectly use AI for PPC and SEO. When poorly utilised, it can drag you down.
This article explores how chatbots and AI assistants enhance customer engagement, with tips to deploy the technology properly.
The rise of the AI chatbot
The growing sophistication of AI has fuelled the rapid adoption of chatbots for customer engagement. Natural language processing enables these bots to understand text and voice commands, allowing for conversational interactions.
Brands eagerly embrace chatbots for automated customer service, product recommendations, and other functions. Adoption is skyrocketing as chatbots provide instantaneous responses and 24/7 availability at a fraction of the cost of human agents.
With conversational interfaces, chatbots deliver personalised and seamless interactions for customers. Their ability to handle common queries and escalate complex issues to humans creates meaningful customer-agent interactions.
However, some consumers still prefer human interactions over chatbots. The biggest complaint is that chatbot conversations often feel impersonal, robotic, and frustratingly limited. As advanced as technology has become, chatbots still cannot fully replicate human communication’s nuance, empathy, and complexity.
Key benefits of chatbots and AI assistants
Despite the emotional drawbacks of AI-powered chatbots, businesses are adopting them to solve customer problems and free up resources.
For these tasks, such as answering FAQs and providing technical support, chatbots are highly effective and, in some cases, better than humans.
Here are the key benefits of chatbots:
Instant response and issue resolution
Chatbots powered by natural language processing can understand text or voice input and immediately respond to customer inquiries without wait times. This results in faster issue resolution and improved customer satisfaction.
More personalised experiences
Some chatbots are programmable to deliver personalised content and recommendations based on individual user data and preferences. For example, chatbots can see account details to view recent orders and service requests.
Chatbots and AI assistants reduce the need for human agents for essential customer service functions. This decreases labour costs associated with staffing call centres or providing live chat support with a customer agent.
Improved data collection
Customer conversations with chatbots generate valuable data about customer needs, pain points, and interests. When fed into a suitable CRM platform, this data can inform marketing campaigns and product development.
Chatbots and AI voice assistants provide uninterrupted support outside regular business hours when human agents are unavailable, such as on Christmas day. This always-on service is convenient for customers.
The best AI-powered chatbots for customer experience
Five AI chatbots stand out from the crowd:
Ultimate offers an advanced no-code AI chatbot platform tailored to customer support needs, making it easy to build complex conversational flows for support.
Key features of Ultimate include 109 languages and accurate language detection, one-click deployment that integrates natively with major CRMs like Zendesk and Salesforce, custom API integrations, and email marketing integration.
Ultimate leverages your historical support data to build a custom AI model suited to your business needs. It is ideal for large enterprises looking to deliver excellent omnichannel customer experiences with robust customisation and integrations.
Writesonic (Botsonic + Chatsonic)
Chatsonic is like a supercharged version of ChatGPT – it can generate images, cite sources, and has different “personalities” for specialised tasks. Botsonic builds customised chatbots for your website using the latest AI.
The key features of Chatsonic are its internet search capabilities, AI art generation, personalised avatars, voice commands, and source citing. Botsonic leverages GPT-4 to create no-code chatbots with full customisation.
Writesonic’s chatbot tools are ideal if you need AI assistants and customer support chatbots to resolve customer queries. The free plan is quite generous too.
Chat by Copy.ai
Copy.ai’s Chat tool provides a versatile AI assistant to access live web data. It’s excellent at marketing and sales tasks but can help with writing or research.
Key features include web access, prebuilt prompts for consistency, and the ability to go from chat to long-form content creation.
Chat by Copy.ai is perfect for boosting productivity across sales and marketing teams. The AI assistant can personalise outreach and content and provide keyword ideas.
ChatBot by LiveChat
LiveChat’s ChatBot will help you build virtual customer service agents that integrate across communication channels.
It allows you to provide unified customer support via chatbots on your website, social media, SMS, and more. Key features include support ticket creation, lead gen product cards, and CRM integrations.
ChatBot is ideal for scaling customer support operations. It works seamlessly with LiveChat’s other products for full business coordination.
Tidio+ integrates advanced AI chatbots into the Tidio customer service platform. It enables automated customer support with human hand-off when needed.
Key features include unlimited chat interactions, a ticketing system, and omnichannel deployment across devices/apps.
Tidio+ is excellent for scaling chat support and sales teams with an FAQ wizard and customer intent feature to deliver deep, relevant support.
Check out our list of the best AI SEO tools for more ideas.
How to enhance your chatbot experience
Chatbots and AI assistants need careful design and training to deliver satisfactory customer experiences. Here are some best practices:
- Human-like conversations – Chatbots should engage users conversationally using casual language rather than robotic responses. AI assistants should understand and respond naturally to voice commands.
- Quick hand-offs – When a customer inquiry exceeds the chatbot’s capabilities, it should smoothly transition the user to a human agent. AI assistants should also know when to defer to humans.
- Ongoing improvement – Chatbot conversations and AI assistant interactions should be logged to identify areas for improving performance.
- Personalisation – Leverage data about individual customers to deliver personalised content and recommendations through chatbots and AI assistants.
- Proactive engagements – Program chatbots and AI assistants to proactively reach out to customers about purchases, renewals, or new offers rather than waiting for the customer to initiate.
While chatbots and AI assistants provide many benefits, brands must carefully evaluate use cases and challenges before implementation:
- Intended purpose – Define the goals and required capabilities before selecting a chatbot or AI assistant platform. Match the technology to business outcomes.
- Integration – Chatbots should integrate tightly with other systems like CRM platforms and backend databases to access necessary customer data.
- Compliance – Ensure chatbot and AI assistant deployments comply with privacy regulations when using personal data. Be transparent about data practices.
- Evaluation – Establish metrics to monitor chatbot and AI assistant performance, such as conversation rates, resolution rates, and customer satisfaction scores.
- Conversational design – Create intelligent and conversational dialogue flows that provide helpful information and resolve customer needs with minimal escalations.
When thoughtfully implemented, chatbots and AI assistants can transform digital customer engagements from frustrating experiences into satisfying ones.
Leveraging these technologies is vital for brands looking to enhance customer experience and loyalty and maximise ROI. However, AI chatbots are not perfect.
Chatbots can frustrate customers if conversations feel scripted or they fail to understand requests. You should test chatbots before launch and closely monitor performance to ensure they deliver a good user experience.
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