How does business use chats and chatbots? 6 inspiring examples
Consumers love chats for their responsiveness and casual nature. Especially young generation, raised among smartphones, Facebook and WhatsApp, prefer this form of communication.
In the eDigital's Customer Service Benchmark survey, as many as 73% of respondents said they were satisfied with chat customer service. This is higher than other communication channels, such as email or phone, have achieved.
The growing popularity of chats is also confirmed by our survey of bank portals: 46.7% of Polish banks use chats on their websites - this is slightly more than in the case of European banking websites - the chat can be found on 33.3% of them.
Chat vs. chatbot: definitions
Although chats and chatbots respond to the same need and sometimes cannot be distinguished from the customer's perspective, they are different technologies.
Chat is a constantly available functionality, enabling contact with a consultant - a living person. Chatbot, on the other hand, is a set of algorithms responsible for conducting conversations using natural language or a text interface.
These solutions are not separate - actually, it is worth combining them. In the hybrid model, the bot talks to the user until it exhausts its capabilities, and then human consultant takes over the conversation. Some companies also allow users to choose whether they want to talk to a bot or a live consultant.
Advantages of chatbots
Chats have many advantages: first of all, this channel is less official and requires less attention. While chatting, the consumer can do other things, take time to think freely about the answer, interrupt the conversation at anytime. As a result, the whole process is less stressful than a traditional telephone contact, and feedback is received very quickly.
Chatbots allow businesses to multiply these benefits and offer customers an even better experience. When compared to applications, they're faster, lighter and do not need to be installed separately. They are available 24/7, 365 days a year. They respond instantly - no waiting on the hotline! Let's add that, from a business perspective, a machine instead of a human consultant means lower costs and higher productivity. Bots handle routine, monotonous, repetitive calls effortlessly: they efficiently perform tasks that would feel mechanical, boring and, as a result, very frustrating to a human consultant. Ideally, bots can handle simple, repetitive queries, and pass more complex problems to human consultants who find such tasks challenging.
Applications of chats and chatbots
Due to their advantages, these technologies are used in many areas of business. Let us look at just a few of them:
- Sales: chat/chatbot can support consumers in the buying process when they need advice. Chatbot can use the knowledge about the consumer from other sources during the conversation, e.g. the history of their purchases or the products they were looking for. It can then make an offer tailored to the consumer's preferences and help them quickly find a product in the catalogue that matches their previously viewed and purchased products.
- Customer support: the chat can be a very useful communication channel for people who want to report a problem or difficulty. Chatbot will also help with filling in the forms.
- E-learning: A human chat operator or a chatbot can be an assistant during a virtual training course. They will answer questions, help to find a particular part of material, or will provide extra information.
- Organization: ordering taxis, food or organizing meetings can be made much easier with the use of chatbots.
- Data searching: a machine will search the knowledge base faster than any human being, to find specific information. In this way, it can support the human operator - while they chat to someone and maintain a natural, emphatic conversation, the bot provides them with the information they need (e.g. about the customer's history or technical details of the product).
- Specialised consultation: a few years ago, we could not have imagined that a doctor doesn't have to physically see us to give a diagnosis and issue a prescription. Today, we can talk to the doctor on a chat, attach photos and test results, and schedule a visit... using a chatbot.
So the scale of possible applications for chats and chatbots is huge. Let us now look at concrete examples: how the business puts them into practice?
1. ING Bank Śląski
On the bank's website, the chat is started from the Contact page - it does not appear on the home page right away. After clicking "Let's talk in chat" a window appears with a named consultant, which gives the interaction a personal character. It is indeed a living person, not a programme. We can ask the consultant about the offer, bank branches or solve another problem.
After the conversation, the system will ask for our opinion, and whether our issue has been resolved.
The company provides Live Chat, Video Chat and Voice Call software, so it also uses it on its own website. It offers a pop-up chat where one chooses between Video chat, Audio chat or Text chat.
The program recognizes which page the user is on and refers to it in a conversation, e.g. after entering the Pricing page, the following question appears: "How can I help you with price information?".
User can also give feedback after the chat by clicking the icon, or leave an optional comment.
The chat can be started from the Contact page. Interestingly, Orange offers a wide range of contact options in addition to the chat: Ask the Our Orange community, Connect to My Orange app, Visit Orange salon and call center phone numbers separately for individual and business customers.
After clicking on "Start" in the "Talk to an Advisor in a Chat" section, the window with the choice "I need help" or "I want to buy" appears, which allows to narrow down the consultant's area of work.
Chats in the medical industry are becoming more and more popular.
Medicover used the chatting capabilities not only to offer a virtual advisor, but also introduced an additional service in the form of a chat with a doctor. Another form of remote patient service is booking a call from a doctor at a scheduled time. This option is available both in the call center and via Medicover online as a telephone consultation.
According to Medicover, during chats patients can receive medical advice in case of certain diseases such as cold, abdominal pain, rash. During the chat, the doctor may also arrange an examination, discuss the results of previous examinations or the rules of taking medicines.
The chat is available from 7.00 to 24.00 on weekdays and from 16.00 to 24.00 on weekends.
This is a very convenient form of quick consultation of uncomplicated ailments, a way to ask for a medical referral, etc.
In addition to offering the possibility of contacting a doctor, Medicover has made available in Medicover Online a live chat that serves as a standard virtual assistant. The chat prompts ready-made questions and knows on which page the user is located (on the login page it asks: "How can I help you solve the problem related to logging in?"
5. American Eagle Outfitters
The mobile chat is a small widget on the right side. The conversation must be initiated by the user, it is not an intrusive pop-up that appears after a few seconds on the site. The conversation starts with the sentence "Have questions? We have answers", and then the user is asked to provide their name and (optionally) an e-mail address. The conversation is given a reference number, the consultant's name is also displayed, but in fact it is a bot based on the Pandorabots solution, which is considered to be one of the leaders in the industry. Their services are used by Walmart, Coca Cola, Tata, Toyota and others.
The chat answers various questions about the assortment, including the size (pastes the link to the shop's size-table), models, colour. When the user is inactive for a longer time, the conversation is automatically terminated - in my opinion, a little too fast. This is an interesting example of the use of chatbot in e-commerce: it works like a brick-and-mortar shop assistant who assists with the purchase - it helps to find a product or choose a size.
6. Virtual Civil Servant (Wirtualny Urzędnik)
A very interesting and inspiring solution is the one prepared by Inteliwise for e-offices, which allows - with the use of AI - to remotely serve residents 24 hours a day with the minimum involvement of human civil servants.
The system has its avatar, guides the user "by the hand" in the next stages of the procedure, suggests related topics, and also has a version for the deaf. It directs to relevant pages, provides e-mail addresses and telephone numbers, answers questions such as: "Is my new ID card ready?".
This system has already been implemented in several Polish cities, including Gdynia, Łomża, Olsztyn, Grudziądz and Chorzów.
Chats are becoming a key element of communication with customers. It is important that they are part of the customer journey and take into account the comprehensive experience of the user. Hybrid models work best, where automation and artificial intelligence (chatbots) mechanisms support human consultants.