According to recent research, over 67% of customers around the world have used a chatbot for customer support in the past year. These bots can speed up support response time by up to 80% and help businesses save up to 30% in customer service costs. With these significant benefits, it’s estimated that about 85% of all customer interactions won’t require a human agent by the end of 2020.
The future of chatbots has much more potential than simple customer service automation, though. One area that seems likely to benefit the most is bill pay, especially for Millennial and Gen Z consumers who prefer to self-serve rather than rely on live agents.
Let’s discuss what chatbot payment is, how it works and its benefits to your business.
What’s a Chatbot?
A chatbot is defined as “software designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.” These bots are popularly used on websites including Facebook Messenger, Telegram and WhatsApp business accounts.
Simple chatbots can ask customers a series of predetermined questions and allow customers to pick an answer, similar to how many IVR systems work. More sophisticated chatbots can effectively mimic a customer service agent by taking advantage of Natural Language Processing (NLP), deep learning, machine learning and other forms of AI that can understand customer intent.
Chatbots can be used to facilitate payments by helping customers access their account, understand their payment options, check balances and more.
Today most chatbot innovation is happening in e-commerce and at large enterprises, but the technology is beginning to make its way into bill pay as consumers continue to adopt chatbots as viable customer service channels.
Using Chatbots for Payments
Here are the top advantages of incorporating chatbots into your payment mix:
Always-On Customer Engagement
The obvious benefit of chatbots is how they enable customers to access information about their accounts at any day, time or place. Bots act as a support agent that can provide quick and detailed answers to queries as well as resolve complaints or issues regarding billing and payments.
Customers expect fast answers about their bills. If businesses fail to provide instant responses, they may miss out on the opportunity to collect a payment or satisfy a customer.
Smart chatbots that use advanced AI can also use context to detect certain emotions like frustration, allowing them to transfer queries or complaints to human agents. This is particularly helpful when addressing challenging situations during business hours.
Easier to Navigate
As with a lot of websites and apps, the user typically prefers to complete a payment in the least number of clicks, taps and swipes as possible. Chatbots allow users to get answers and make payments in a single chat window, allowing them to do more without leaving your site or getting lost.
By including chatbots on all your website pages and possibly on your social channels, you can create a predictable and intuitive payment channel for customers.
Cross- and Upsell Opportunities
Since bots can provide a real-time experience that customers are craving, they have proven their ability to integrate sales and marketing strategies into your messaging. For example, you could program your chatbot to identify cross-sell opportunities or introduce new products and services to customers after they complete a transaction.
Free Up Customer Service Rep Time
The use of chatbots is not only good for your customers. but can also increase productivity for your customer service agents. By offloading frontline service requests to chatbots, such as balance inquiries or payments, your agents will have more time to proactively spend on outbound collections activities or addressing customer service issues.
Some chatbots will even let agents see the chat history after a customer is transferred, allowing agents to quickly see a history of the support request instead of having the customer repeat it.
Fast Answers to Billing Questions
Chatbots can answer FAQs such as “When is my bill due?” or “What’s my account balance?” with just a touch of a button or a simple voice command. There’s no human intervention necessary. They also send reminders to customers about upcoming and due bill payments, making the process timely and more efficient. You can also collect valuable user feedback from the bots and send it to the relevant team in real time.
Be at the forefront of technology
Even though chatbot payments are more fiction than fact right now, it’s only a matter of time before a majority of billers incorporate them into the payments mix.
Want to learn more about using technology to improve customer communications? Talk to the PayNearMe team today.