SMS chatbots are becoming the front line of Customer Engagement Platforms

More than ever, the role of the service employee has been elevated as the front line of every customer engagement. Facing a sharply different environment defined by shifting business models, distributed workplaces, and evolving customer needs, service teams are facing new standards of engagement.

A software tool that developed an interactive marketing channel by automatically responding via text messages to users who communicate with the bot known as SMS chatbots has gained immense popularity among people. As AI-powered computer programs, chatbots are capable of conducting human-like conversations via text and audio platforms and have proven to significantly improve engagement and allow businesses to provide a consistent customer experience across platforms by striking the right balance between being conversational, friendly, and helpful. A text bot can improve customer communication, send mass text messages, improve customer conversion rate, and more. 

A few leading brands implementing this effectively are Duolingo, Starbucks, and Domino’s.

Duolingo, a language-learning platform, introduced a chatbot to tackle a major premise, to help with the thorough practice required to learn a new language, which the bot provides cheerfully with topical and seasonal conversations to help the process seem responsive and human-like. According to Duolingo’s Co-Founder, Luis von Ahn, one of the major impediments to learning a new language is that people don’t want to sound stupid and this new chatbot could change all that. Starbucks has also introduced a chatbot via its MyBarista app where one can order by voice through Amazon Alexa or message to make the process of ordering effortless and to stand out from the crowd. The bot informs the user regarding the pickup timing, payment, tipping and even enables them to create orders based on their previous order patterns. Domino's also took customer service one step further by introducing Dom, a pizza ordering bot that allows customers to order directly through Facebook Messenger so they don’t have to create an account or profile, without even leaving the comfort of their favorite app. This unchains the phone lines and keeps their website running smoothly during their busiest days.

According to the fourth edition of Salesforce’s State of Service report, 75% of service professionals say that managing case volume has become more challenging during the pandemic. It’s not just the volume of service cases that are rising, so too are their complexity.

"Chatbots are becoming an essential lifeline for companies and organisations that need new, scalable solutions to support countless sales, service, and marketing needs. While chatbots were once a tool to help service customer requests with scripted answers, today they are sophisticated, powered by AI, and create personalised customer experiences. Automation is helping teams to find relief from increased demands of customer service - transforming how companies gather basic information and customer feedback. In addition to chatbots, service agents are also being empowered with voice technology, which maximises time and recommends actions in real-time. 77% of agents say that automating routine tasks allows them to focus on more complex work", says Mr. Raj Ravuri, SVP and Managing Director at Salesforce, India.

Why SMS chatbots are finding a fast-paced growth

Customer engagement is a major driving force behind successful businesses as it helps with customer loyalty and sales for which the chatbots provide a modern solution. An SMS chatbot takes the human factor out of the equation as it can respond to multiple customers simultaneously as opposed to humans who can handle only a single customer at a time. It is both cost and time-effective and moreover simpler to mold into the desired structure. The bot helps maintain consistency while providing solutions to all issues raised by the consumers whether it's regarding payment, delivery, return, or queries regarding the product or service.  

The simplicity behind the mechanism of developing as well as implementing SMS chatbots is also a huge factor leading to its grand success. There are numerous free software available online to create a chatbot and this accessibility leads many startups to create one to increase engagement with their consumers., ManyChat, Freshchat, Drift are some software that helps you build chatbots not only for websites but also for apps like Whatsapp and Facebook messenger. To begin the process one needs to decide how one wants to integrate chatbots into their customer experience which will help guide the paths you create. Next, write down a conversation and construct a flowchart for clarified and accurate questions and answers. Once the plans are laid out you can use the software to execute them and build your own chatbot.  

SMS chatbots are likely to face evolution rather than competition as they are constantly evolving and helping brands provide the best customer service by connecting with customers in real-time. Approximately 47% of organizations are expected to implement chatbots for customer support services, and 40% are expected to adopt virtual assistants and with this, it is safe to say that by the end of 2021, chatbots will help the business to capture the market and will be a major investment in customer experience in the coming years.

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