Chatbots are intended to replace employees in service. What are chatbots? How can they be used in practice? What areas of application and experiences are there? The article illuminates the topic and gives answers.
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Chatbots as digital service employees
Chatbots are emerging as a serious competitor for apps right now. They are independent of operating systems such as iOS or Android and can be operated via their conversational interface by voice or text. They can be used on the most popular messaging channels such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram and web messaging. If these tools are used in social networks, they are called social bots.
Social bots act as profile users and like, comment and share posts. However, companies can also use them as a communication tool with customers. With the digital helpers, you simulate real communication partners. This means that it is pretended that there is a real person or a real employee behind the profile. Renowned studies predict that in 2020, 85% of all customer interactions will be controlled by artificial intelligence and bots and that no human interaction will be required for this. (Gartner, 2017).
Chatbots can be created on websites. The programs can be selected according to the intended use or created yourself. The real effectiveness of the digital communication partner can only be seen in practical use. Numerous bots can influence the opinion-forming of consumers. For example, Oxford University found that during the first television debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, more than every third pro-Trump tweet was posted by a digital helper. Large and well-known companies have already started to develop chatbots and see the integration of a bot as an absolute necessity for the digital evolution of companies.
Chatbots As Insurance Advisors
The insurance group ARAG uses chatbots. Mobile customer advice is provided via Facebook Messenger with the help of a chatbot. This enables users to obtain information on insurance benefits. The following example is about travel assistance advice.
By using the messenger and the emojis available there, conversations with the chatbot get a relaxed atmosphere. The chatbot allows the company to react to inquiries in the shortest possible time and present the appropriate services.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Chatbots
The digital communication partners offer companies numerous advantages:
- Automatic interaction: The interaction with consumers can be carried out automatically via messaging platforms.
- Resource conservation: Chatbots can be used as personal assistants and automated live agents, especially in customer service, and can save companies up to 80 per cent of support costs.
- Easy integration: Chatbots can be easily integrated into the infrastructure.
- Shorter distances: From the customer’s point of view, there is faster access to information and simplified interaction with the company, which is possible around the clock.
But there are also disadvantages:
- Manipulation: The use of chatbots enables public opinion to be manipulated, e.g. US election campaigns.
- Communication with a program: The use of programs can be perceived as impersonal from the customer’s point of view.
- Programming: To be accepted by customers, a chatbot must be programmed for error-free communication. He must not just answer questions but must be modelled on natural language dialogues.
- Data control: The transfer of customer data to chatbots must be compatible with data protection.