Eleviant is to Elevate & Scale. Eleviant Tech symbolizes business transformation and reinforces our mission to help clients elevate and scale their business.
Chatbot Trends for SMBs: How to Stay Ahead of the Curve in 2023
The new year is the perfect time for businesses to take stock of accomplishments and plan ahead. Since the pandemic, many companies have turned to digitization to meet customers’ evolving needs and adapt to shifting markets. As a result, chatbots have become a vital customer-facing lifeline for many companies, including small and medium businesses (SMBs). In this blog, let’s dive into some competitive chatbot trends that SMBs should be aware of in 2023. But before we get into that, let’s look at some interesting chatbot statistics.
Key Chatbot Statistics
- Conversational AI will reduce customer service labor costs by $80 billion in 2026 (Gartner).
- According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the global chatbot market is projected to reach $1.25 billion by 2024, a CAGR of 24.3% from 2019 to 2024.
- According to a Gartner survey, 74% of respondents believe it is “important or very important” to create a seamless customer journey across assisted and self-service channels like chatbots.
- According to an MIT Technology Review survey, almost 90 percent of respondents claim to have observed measurable improvements in complaint resolution speed when using AI-powered chatbots.
Chatbots Trends that SMBs Should Look Out For in 2023
As the stats indicate, companies are widely adopting chatbots to improve customer experience and increase efficiency. By integrating a chatbot like vChat that understands user intent, SMBs can create a more personalized customer experience. Here are the chatbot trends that you need to be aware of if you are planning to integrate a chatbot into your website or social platforms this year:
1. Less Robotic & More Human Conversations
Chatbots that rely on a set of predefined rules will soon be a thing of the past. Rule-based chatbots that typically trigger responses based on keywords or phrases cannot strike natural conversations. Recent advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing technologies make chatbots sound more human. Chatbots are becoming emotionally intelligent through the use of sentiment analytics techniques. For instance, with the help of sentiment analytics, a chatbot can identify when a customer is happy, and cross-sell related products or understand a customer’s frustration and quickly transfer the customer to a live agent. SMBs can adopt these emerging technologies in 2023 to build a chatbot that:
- Gives customers a more personalized, tailored experience.
- Attracts more leads by providing a positive brand experience.
2. Customer Insights to Drive Chatbot Behavior
According to Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations. A chatbot helps you gain valuable business insights, such as customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors. In 2023, more companies are expected to use these insights to improve customer experience, increase brand loyalty, and drive business growth. You can use these customer insights to enhance customer offerings, and chatbots can use the insights to recommend products or services based on past purchases or interests.
3. Use of AI Chatbots in Contact Centers
For decades, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems have dominated the customer service space. But now, chatbots are giving IVR a stiff competition. Although chatbots may not replace IVR in the near future, Gartner predicts that they will become a primary customer service channel by 2027. Navigating a list of pre-recorded IVR options is a frustrating experience for any customer, and that is why more companies are choosing NLP chatbots as primary customer touchpoints. A bot can handle requests such as password change and appointment scheduling requests. For SMBs, a chatbot that answers FAQs can free up a customer agent’s time for more complex queries, saving the business time and money.
4. Voice Bots will Gain More Popularity
Research from Accenture shows that consumers prefer messaging platforms that offer both voice and text-based interfaces. This highlights the importance of providing multiple options for users. Voice bots offer several advantages for businesses and customers, and they can provide reliable data insights and real-time information. By using artificial intelligence to assist users through text and voice mediums, SMBs can offer customers a seamless and convenient experience.
5. AI Chatbots will Enhance Customer Experience (CX)
As small or medium businesses grow and the sales figures start to multiply, it can be challenging to keep up with customer requests on time. A chatbot that handles customer queries such as warranty information and product maintenance requests can help SMBs scale without compromising on customer service or incurring more operational costs. By leveraging chatbots, SMBs can provide a good customer experience even outside of business hours and address challenges such as staff shortages. For instance, during rapid expansion and significant staff shortages, American Leather, a Dallas-based furniture manufacturer, leveraged Eleviant’s chatbot vChat to manage customer inquiries efficiently.
6. Chatbot Integration in Messaging Platforms
One way SMBs can improve customer engagement and increase loyalty is to stay in touch with customers on messaging platforms such as WhatsApp or Facebook. Companies are using these platforms to generate leads and streamline the sales process. By providing quick and convenient support through chatbots, businesses can improve the overall customer experience and foster a sense of trust and reliability.
7. Chatbots that Accept Payments
Chatbots that allow users to make payments directly through live chat or messaging apps can help improve sales. As chatbot technology evolves, businesses will increasingly adopt these tools to automate simple payments and enhance customer experience. A chatbot can also provide pricing details or help customers get a quick overview of the cost of products or services without human intervention.
8. Bots for Internal Business Operations
The movements like “quiet quitting” and “great resignation” have brought attention to the importance of employee engagement and the need for employers to address their employees’ concerns swiftly. Chatbots can keep track of employee needs and concerns and answer HR-related questions. They can also assist with employee onboarding by conducting initial screening interviews and providing new hires with information about company policies.
Another area where chatbots can be helpful is in providing internal support through a help desk. By handling common queries and allowing IT service desk agents to focus on more complex issues, chatbots can improve response times and reduce the workload of human staff.
Chatbots can significantly improve business efficiency, and adopting these trends can give small and medium businesses a competitive edge. If you are considering implementing a chatbot in your business, get in touch with our experts to understand how we can help you make the most of these trends.