A precipitous drop in business revenue continues to shake organizations around the world in the aftermath of COVID-19. As businesses find themselves in a deepening economic turmoil, they have been forced to lay off their workforce, with total claims of furloughed people reaching the 30 million mark in six weeks since 14th March. In the month succeeding March, the global economy is still in the process of recuperating from the dastardly effects of the pandemic as it is projected to take a US $2.7 trillion hit.
One of the foremost challenges for business executives in this regard is figuring out how to save business costs while maintaining their operations. With business owners scrambling to cut costs and reduce risk to preserve both inventory and profitability, it will be interesting to see the measures they develop and execute to weather the economic storm, while still optimizing operational efficiency and possibly peaking it.
The COVID-19's impact has been especially acute on small businesses as they account for a disproportionate share of most vulnerable jobs at 54%. This has shattered the small businesses sector and sent supply chains across the globe in disarray, forcing the hand of organizations to undertake economic triage to keep themselves afloat. While the overarching initiatives taken by companies to secure budgets and cut down on business costs might be unique, they all fall under the same three philosophical measures that are almost universal for businesses of all kinds:
Despite corporate adoption of chatbots having risen in popularity over the years, the move has never been as critical as it is today. In fact, an Outgrow survey reports that 80% of businesses will integrate some form of a chatbot system by the end of this year. As technologies like cognitive computing and robotic process automation (RPA) mature, businesses are increasingly turning over administrative work to AI bots, resulting in an overall reduction of customer service costs by 30%.
These advanced AI bots can do everything from easing a bulk of the service requests, handling a large volume of customer queries, and automating repetitive tasks, among others, to reduce costs significantly while maintaining business operations. This article explores the value that chatbots can create for businesses in the present climate and help them cut business costs while improving their efficiency as well.
Integrating a chatbot within your customer-facing team can help you make yourself available to your customer round-the-clock and also service them whenever they want to. This helps businesses capture better opportunities that they would have usually missed out on. By directly raising the benefits as a function of the number of opportunities it captures, a chatbot can help businesses save costs immensely.
According to a Business Insider survey, 44% of customers reportedly prefer chatbots over humans. This is because chatbots provide instant help to customers when it comes to simple requests that don't warrant waiting for a human agent to resolve.
Yet another survey revealed that 61% of consumers think having chatbots in customer service is the way of the future, while 70% of millennials report having positive experiences with them. These bots are customizable as well, providing businesses with the ability to program them according to their customer service strategy so as to directly enhance the productivity and efficacy of the customer service team by providing quick solutions to simple queries. As a result, they help decrease operational & manpower costs and time.
As per Juniper Research, businesses that face a large volume of service requests can benefit the most from chatbots. With advancements in machine learning growing at a breakneck pace, chatbots are increasingly producing human-like replies.
This allows them to understand and learn from the customer while interacting with them, thus effectively making the bots more intuitive and sympathetic to the customer's woes. The data they gather from the customer can then be used by the bots to provide personalized services to them. This leads to more sales and increases the customer lifetime value as a result of as many as 80% of customers choosing to shop repeatedly with businesses.
While chatbots are effective at providing instant replies to customers, they know where their limits lie and are quick to route more sophisticated requests to human agents. It boosts the customer self-service experience through the help of layered technology and consequently adds on to the business value. This increases the satisfaction rate of the customers and increases their satisfaction spontaneously.
Speaking about the benefits of chatbots for business, Norm Alegria, Director of Guest Care at The Dufresne Group, a premier Canadian home furnishing retailer, said that it helped them cut costs massively while engaging customers and driving sales conversations as well.
The chatbot capture they implemented helped them capture the contact information of potential customers at odd hours, thus increasing their revenue-generating opportunities even in the middle of a global health crisis.
The market is brimming with advanced AI solutions today, and businesses are getting wise of its immense benefits today. These bots are being used to engage customers, provide superior service, and automate tasks to directly reduce business costs and improve the customer experience simultaneously. As the crisis deepens, businesses would do good to adopt this approach to not only save business costs but also capture better opportunities and improve operations as a result.
Dhruv Mehta is a Digital Marketing Professional who works at Acquire and provides solutions in the digital era. In his free time, he loves to write on tech and marketing. He is a frequent contributor to Tweak Your Biz. Connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.