Chatbot use has grown enormously in the past couple of years as brands explore how automation can help them to deliver a better customer experience (CX) to their customers. This has become possible because chatbots have come a long way from the first iteration, where they were little more than a visual search tool sitting on top of a FAQ database.
Today, chatbots allow brands to offer 24/7 help without the need for scaling up the number of people physically in a contact centre offering support. The systems are now able to understand basic conversations and so they are becoming very useful for those frequent, but simple to handle customer questions.
This works well when customers have a simple question, perhaps something like a password reset. It is something the customer wants to do quickly, but it is not a complex enquiry. In this case a chatbot is perfect because it is instantly available and capable of handling this type of problem.
Chatbots are less suited to emotional interactions or when the question is more complex, for instance if an insurance customer needs to report the death of a family member or a bank customer has a question about the interest on their mortgage. When the customer has a more complex question, they still expect service to be quickly available, but a human better serves them more effectively so the nuances of their question can be understood.
The real trick is getting the balance right, knowing how to allow the customer to switch between human and chat support and ensuring that the system itself knows when it is struggling and should call in human support.
There are several great examples of brands using chatbots in Indonesia at present. AirAsia now allows customers in Indonesia to book flights or make flight enquiries entirely using their chat system. Just a couple of months ago the Indonesian developed chatbot Ica Ica was awarded the grand prize at the Line Boot Awards in Japan.
In fact there is a strong alternative focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) startups in Indonesia, a market that already has 4 unicorns, and this is driving research and development in chatbots – several new companies are entirely focused on chatbot development for the local and global markets.
I believe that chatbots is evolving into one of the essential tools for executives planning a CX strategy. Some of the most interesting research in this area is coming from Indonesia. If you want to learn more about what is happening in this area then leave a comment here or get in touch with me directly via my LinkedIn.