Bots Will Save Your Customers from Waiting
Customers hate waiting. Most of us feel that familiar annoyance every time after “Please, wait. The page is loading”, “Please, hold the line, your call is very important to us” or “Please, leave your message and we will reply as soon as possible.” We try to be patient and understanding. We brace ourselves when we see a long queue to check-out. But we hate it.
Honestly, I do not believe that my call, message or visit is truly important if I have to wait.
You hardly make someone feel appreciated by wasting their time. After all, “time is money”, right? I could be working, or spending some quality time with my neglected family. So waiting means paying extra. I have to pay with my time because the company doesn’t want to employ more people in customer support team or because the huge store has only one cashier working.
Sometimes waiting is fine but only in two cases:
1) Fair Deal
If there is a 20-minutes line in Primark…Well, what else one can expect when those jeans cost only 10 pounds. I’d come again anyway. Customers accept waiting if they feel it’s a fair deal.
It might also be okay when there is no better option. If all tables at good restaurants are busy on St. Valentine’s, it doesn’t really matter where you go. You’ll have to wait anyway, and therefore it wouldn’t be a major factor in your choice.
However, in many cases customers won’t forgive companies for waiting.
After five hours on the phone to fix a minor problem with a bank, my friend swore never to use them again. And it doesn’t necessarily take five hours. When a website takes three seconds or more to load, 57% of customers are likely to abandon it without making a purchase. When it doesn’t feel like a fair deal, or there is a faster option of the same quality, your customer won’t wait for you. Why should they? If your competitor doesn’t keep customers waiting, and you do, guess where they would go.
Thus, competitive businesses must remain efficient.
And that’s just what chatbots promise — instant replies to all queries and messages. This quality of a bot must not be underestimated. Recent research found that the average attention span has decreased to eight seconds (yep, less than a goldfish).
If you reply to your customers after an hour, they may not care or simply don’t remember why they contacted you. An hour offers plenty of time to go shopping or having fun somewhere else.
Some may argue that bots are just another way to keep customers waiting. Imagine that you have to write your question five times phrasing it differently just to get “Sorry, I didn’t get you. Please, try…” every time. Stupid bots are no better than holding the line — this is the impression many customers have after unfortunate experiences.
The thing is that bots do not have to be stupid anymore. They can be trained, just like shy interns coming for their first day.
Now bots can develop and get smarter as they learn to understand your business and your customers.
You do not have to unleash zombie replies on your customers and piss them off. Just a bit of patience and training will make your bot intelligent enough to save at least some of your customers from waiting.
I believe this is the most important reason why a company should get a bot now. Simply because nobody wants to wait when given a choice. Bots will surely offer this choice to many customers soon enough. So the only question is who will get a bot first — you or your competitor.