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Meeting demands for information during a demand spike

Thinking

Aly McKenzie, Amido Senior Consultant, explores the role of chatbots in organisations and some of the technical and behavioural factors driving increased investment in them.

Hopefully even those who think that it’s a cliché to say that we live in an ever-changing world would admit that with each day that passes it’s more apparent that the pace of that change is increasing. In the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s an increasing need for organisations to quickly meet demands for information from both consumers and employees on a scale they’ve previously never had to deal with.

What makes a spike?

Spikes in demand for information can be generated by many scenarios – perhaps a marketing campaign goes viral, or a new product ‘goes global’ unexpectedly. Perhaps new legislation comes into place which means that all citizens in a country need immediate guidance on how to comply. During the current pandemic, one of our recent clients has experienced a sudden and pressing need to provide accurate healthcare information to the general public, for example. Other businesses may be faced with a similar challenge, or may be preparing for more of an increase in enquiries as we start to emerge from lockdown measures.

OK, we have a spike – now what?

Whatever the cause, it’s clear that in these scenarios having a person respond to every request for information simply isn’t viable. Organisations looking to take the pressure off their traditional channels (phone/email etc) are increasingly turning to informational chatbots to do the heavy lifting.
Chatbots can help protect workforces from overload and ensure that the information being distributed is consistently accurate and clear. Ensuring that information is accurate and up-to-date can often be a challenge for contact centres, especially in fluid situations where there may be a need to pivot or change available information at pace.

Why the increasing trend for chatbots?

There’s a number of factors at play here, but some key ones include:

  • As more and more companies adopt chat-based interactions, people are becoming more accustomed to digital interactions on devices and aided by the growing prevalence of home-based voice interfaces such as Siri or Google Assistant.
  • People have higher expectations regarding 24/7 coverage. They want to be able to ask basic questions out-of-hours. Search facilities on websites are functional, but provide poor user engagement when compared to a chat experience.
  • Chatbot technology is continually evolving and improving, increasing user satisfaction and improving the overall customer experience in many scenarios, as shown by the successes of many notable early adopters.

Despite tighter budgets, chatbot investment is continuing to rise as organisations seek to introduce self-serving technologies to ease the pressure on other customer facing channels. Gartner predicts that by 2022, 70% of customer interactions will involve emerging technologies such as machine learning applications, chatbots and mobile messaging, up from 15% in 2018.

If you need a hand assessing whether chatbots are right for your business, want support successfully implementing them or just to learn more, then get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

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