Chatbots have become the buzzword du jour but brands with successful chatbots are rare. We are more likely to find pages full of chatbot failure stories. Here we outline the successful areas of chatbot application.
Starting from the use cases mentioned by potential users above on Drift’s 2018 State of Chatbots Report, we methodically analyzed potential areas of chatbot applications.
First of all, we are talking about chatbots in a platform-agnostic manner. Whether they are on your website, Facebook Messenger, email on some other platform, chatbots are essentially conversational interfaces. We can divide up use cases for conversational interfaces into two categories: reactive and proactive.
The first priority of any brand is to satisfy the customers that reach out them. Customer reaching your page, app or website have specific jobs to be done. Identifying this enables you to offer customers a personalized offering through a customized layout, offers on display, messages. The chat box is another medium for personalization allowing you to interact in a more fluid way. For example if you identify with 40% confidence that your customer had a problem with your product, it may not be wise to change your UX to address this issue.But a chat bubble asking if customer is having any issues with your product is helpful and non-intrusive. Major use cases in this category are:
Your customer may be browsing in a fast manner but not completing any actions. Or her online behavior may not fit patterns you observe with other customers. These are good clues that the customer may need support which can be offered by your chatbot
2- Suggest products
Search results, personalized merchandising, recommendations can help your customer find specific products. However, when your customers online activity indicates willingness to buy however customer is not buying, it may be a good time to probe what customer is exactly looking for. A conversational interface allows you to ask probing questions and understand your customers’ intent better.
3- Offer discounts
Your customer may be looking for a better price because she believes she qualifies for a discount. Understanding if she falls into one of your segments qualifying for a discount and offering that discount immediately can reduce friction in buying.
4- Prevent churn
Churn prediction is one of the most important use cases for subscription based industries. Understanding reasons for churn and making churn reducing offers are a good fit for conversational interfaces
Chatbots customized to serve specific industries
Some products are more prone to be converted into conversational interfaces while others aren’t. For example, text is not a good interface for displaying large amounts of data. However, if you offer these services, they can be completed in a conversational interface:
5- Qualifying leads: A significant portion of leads to car dealers come from online channels. Therefore conversion optimization is crucial for automotive companies. As a result, automotive companies are using chatbots like Kia’s Kian which can answer customers’ complex questions and dramatically increase conversions.
Chatbots can add a new layer of interactivity to e-commerce, allowing customers to interact beyond menus and buttons. Major use cases are:
- 6- Set price alerts
- 7- Order physical goods like clothes with conversational commerce unlock more options
- 8- Buy gifts
- 9- Reserve services
All the way from booking travel to solving travel related problems, chatbots have the potential to help. New ventures like Instalocate are already making money by solving people’s travel related problems.
10- Vacation planning: While most parts of travel bookings are already self-service, it is time consuming to plan a vacation. Travelers need to discover the sights and experiences they would be interested in, plan an itinerary, pick hotels to stay in based on numerous criteria from kid-friendliness to location. While these tasks are frustrating for travelers, clever chatbots can make them much more pleasant experiences.
11- Reservations: Text based reservation systems can be easier to use and can complement your online reservation systems. Mariott International’s chatbot is already a growing channel for reservations.
12- Queries & complaints: In the long run, it is not good for business to make complaints more difficult to make. It frustrates customers and deteriorates a company’s reputation. Chatbots can service most queries and complaints fast, improving satisfaction of your most dissatisfied customers.
13- Information service: Most banks chatbots are capable of informing users about their balances, recent transactions, credit card payment dates, limits and so on.
14- Investment management: Robo-advisors are getting smarter everyday and will soon serve as the first level of advisor for most non-affluent customers.
15- Credit applications: Just as robo-advisor chatbots are taking over investment advisors, chatbots are also capable of collecting necessary data for credit decisions
16- Money transfer
17- Bill payments
18- Therapy: Since therapy is almost completely text based, it is a great area for chatbots to work in. Woebot is one of the leading chatbots, providing cognitive-behavioral therapy in treatment of depression.
19- Handling healthcare & insurance coverage related inquiries: Applications such as HealthJoy, HealthTap and Your.MD help customers navigate the complex healthcare landscape in the US.
20- Reservations & handling menu related questions: Chatobook aims to become OpenTable of chatbots. Beyond reservations, it can share menus and promotions, collecting feedback.
21- Agent inquiry handling: Allstate developed Allstate Business Insurance expert (ABIe) to handle questions from 12K agents. Agents inquire ABIe about policy details sales quotes.
22- Customer inqury handling: Allstate’s Allstate Business Insurance expert (ABIe) was expanded to serve end users as well.
News is one of the few fields where speed is as important as quality. And while bots certainly outmatch us in speed, they are also catching up to us in quality. News organizations in the US and China are already using chat bots to prepare lightning fast news
23- News delivery: For example, chatbots can be built to deliver only summaries of news and sharing details as users ask about them. This can create an engaging news experience for busy individuals.
24- Run surveys to collect public opinion
25- Lead qualification: Qualifying leads take significant time in B2C businesses that rely on personal contact. Chatbots such as Apartment Ocean greet potential clients and understand their level of interest, helping human agents prioritize who they will serve.
- Information services:
- 26- Provide simple information services like weather
- 27- Give context-dependent advice on topics like what to wear, makeup
- 28- Schedule meetings
Proactive notifications allow your chatbot to interact with customers at criticial decision points in their customer journey to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and engagement. Most of the ideas here can be replicated by brands’ apps with notifications as well. However bots allow companies to go one step beyond notifications and have a conversation with the customer.
- 29- Product related reminders: From hospitals to SAAS companies, all products generate reminders. Chatbots gives you a new channel to reach your customers at the right time.
- 30- Feature notifications: Notifying customers of new features or UX changes your customer would be interested in. Especially if you have a customer driven feature development queue, this allows die-hard fans of certain features to immediately learn about them.
- 31- Updates: Depending on your industry, your customers may be looking at you as a source of news, sharing personalized news is a strong addition to your product portfolio. While your daily or weekly newsletter may be comprehensive it is definitely not timely. Chatbot reminders can alert users in a more timely manner.
- 32- Billing notifications: Helping resolve billing issues could be critical to your cash flow.
- 33- Activation offers: Some of your customers will leave and never return. Reaching out to them with enticing offers is one of the best tools to boost revenues
Customers do not have to be the only ones talking to your bots. Many companies use bots to understand their employees better. For example, employee satisfaction surveys delivered on collaboration platforms make survey filling much less painful.
If you still want to see more chatbot applications, We also have a guide for chatbot use cases categorized according to business functions.
Enabling these use cases require a chatbot that your users love and follow. To achieve that you can explore our suggestions for building your chatbot.