The global chatbot market was valued at over $190 million in 2016 and is only expected to grow in the coming years. Chatbots are here to stay, and it isn't hard to see why. According to a study by Aspect Software Research, 44% of consumers said they would prefer to interact with a chatbot over a human customer service representative. What may surprise you though is that baby boomers are playing a large role in the future of chatbot use.
Despite the stereotypes regarding age and technology, a joint research report between my company, MyClever, and Drift and SurveyMonkey Audience that surveyed over 1000 adults in the U.S. found that baby boomers were 24% more likely than millennials to see greater benefit from chatbots in five of the nine uses cases studied. Let's take a closer look at how this modern technology is affecting all generations.
Chatbots can provide instant responses
One of the main benefits of chatbots is their ability to provide instant responses to questions. This is great news for brands, suggesting that chatbots could have a serious impact on all customer service needs and open the doors to proactive new ways to service customers.
An easy deployment method for service chatbots is to deploy them automatically when a customer is showing signs of rage clicking, which is characterized by erratic clicking of the mouse on a screen when something isn't happening as the consumer wishes.
Modern chatbots can be triggered by this action and deployed in real time to propose a solution. Providing proactive, 24x7 service increases the value of the customer experience.
Chatbots can answer complex questions
In addition to simply servicing customers, baby boomers also see chatbot benefits when it comes to getting answers to complex questions, 38% of baby boomers and 33% of millennials feel that chatbots are good at answering complex questions.
Complex questions are a part of many customer experiences. In sales, for example, many questions must be asked to evaluate the buyer's situation before the correct solution can be provided: What other tools are you using? What versions of those tools? For what?
I spoke to Guillaume Cabane, former VP of growth at Segment, to learn more about how he used a chatbot to enable greater lead qualification and lead generation. The bot was combined with other technologies, allowing it to be deployed to specific customer segments with specific talk tracks. This automated complex lines of questions instantly. After three weeks of deployment, Chatbots became the number one source of leads for Segment, and year to date it is the largest single factor of Segments growth. Specifically, engagements have increased five-fold and conversions doubled. The best result, as Guillaume would say, "100% of my sales reps now love me."
All buyers and customers are using chatbots
Baby boomers see significant value from chatbots, and this may be because they have used one recently. Our study found that 15% of all consumers have engaged with a company via a chatbot in the past 12 months. To put that into perspective, 28% of consumers engaged with a brand via social media in the past 12 months, 30% via a mobile app and 60% via email. While 15% engagement may seem low, yet as a channel, it is beginning to hold its own against these more traditional channels.
Chatbots are only the tip of the iceberg for how consumers and businesses will engage in the future. As more consumers engage via chatbot, it will only be a matter of time before they expect voice assistance like Alexa. Capgemini predicts that in three years, 40% of consumers will use voice assistants instead of a company's website or mobile app. Consumers are demanding faster and better experiences, and chatbots fit that bill.
Chatbots are for more than just service
Chatbots are delivering results far beyond better service. In a recent conversation with customer service expert Jay Baer, he mentioned that he has begun utilizing chatbots as a way of engaging with his audience and distributing content. His initial findings were that chatbot usage leads to 10 times the open rate with content and five times the engagement with that content, over email. Chatbots aren't just for responding; they can be used for proactive content distribution as well.
As we continue to move into an increasingly technology-driven society, we must not let our old ideas of consumer behaviour stand in our way. All demographics are finding value with chatbots in many different ways. Moving forward, all brands, regardless of their target market, should look to identify places where chatbots can be deployed to drive their businesses forward.