Chatbots & Millennials — Real Opportunity for Telcos or Just Buzzwords?
For telco companies, it’s no longer enough to compete on products and services. How a company delivers to its customers is as important as what it delivers. Operators are dealing with increasingly demanding and tech-savvy customers who require an unfragmented experience across channels and touchpoints. These touchpoints can be offline or online, from printed flyers/ catalogues, TV ads to Mobile Applications, Web sites, Social media, wearables and of course Chatbots.
Social media is a way of living for millennials, is a way of sharing experiences with others, but also, it’s a way of enjoying the experiences of their friends and creating their own based on those. Community is essential to them; thus, social media is one of the best touchpoints to engage millennials throughout their journey.
They are innovation-oriented and have innovation written down in their DNA, as depicted by Deloitte’s “The Millennial Survey”. By combining the power of innovation and social media, you get the Chatbots.
How can Telco brands engage Millennials with Chatbots?
My gut feeling is that 2018 will be the year of the Chatbot. More and more companies will implement bots in their Digital Customer Engagement strategies to deepen their customer’s engagement and increase their loyalty, nevertheless with an emphasis on operational efficiency and cost control.
See our Chatbot in action
Our Chabot, Saturn, shows a convenient way for your customers to be assisted in the pursue of resolving problems, issues, questions that they encounter during the journey with your brand; customers can immediately get answers to the frequently asked questions in a conversational manner and can easily raise a ticket or make an appointment to a nearby store. Not only it allows customers to check their usage status (no more USSD), but also enables telco brands to upsell based on customers’ usage by recommending a best deal add-on.
But enough talking, let’s see how it works:
However, this is not the end of the journey, it’s just another touchpoint that has enormous benefits. Imagine the different possibilities of journeys that can emerge from a single conversation. For marketers it would be just a matter of imagination, to come up with different strategies to attract millennials and offer them an incredible customer experience through Deeper Engagement and Stronger Customer Loyalty.
The more operators understand their customer’s profile, pain points and behavior, the more they will be able to better engage him/her. Telcos tend to be most successful when customers feel like their operator truly knows them and gives them control over their data plan. Feeling heard and valued is essential to develop a loyal customer.
Besides traditional customer engagement, the Chatbots give a personal touch to the customer journey. Bots will transform the engagement into a more intimate interaction with a brand, an interaction that is aware of the customer’s personality and needs, an interaction that totally addresses one’s sentiments; for example, there are bots that change the conversational strategy based on user’s personality.
They can also give users more time and attention than resource-constrained customer service representatives could. That’s why having a bot, as another way to engage your customer, is a big opportunity. The data that a brand can extract from a conversation between a bot and the customer is valuable and can be used to understand the end-user’s pains and needs. In the end, this data will be transformed by delivering personalised experiences that meet end-users’ constant changing expectations.
You may have already interacted with a Chatbot on Facebook Messenger for ordering food or searching for more info about a product. It was certainly fun, convenient and efficient, right?
Operational efficiency is another hot topic in the world of Telcos, and bots are here to save the day. Reduced Time and Cost to serve, in the era of constant changes, wrapped into a natural and fun customer experience, is the key essence of what Chatbots will bring to a brand. It’s a win-win situation, where the customer is happy of benefiting from a great experience, and the company is happy that they are reducing costs.
What makes Chatbots unique and what other advantages they bring to the telcos’ business ecosystem:
- Bots are available 24X7 and can be pressed into continuous service without any interference.
- They are inherently flexible, highly customizable, and can be developed at affordable costs.
- By automating tasks, bots handle basic customer interactions and free up valuable human resources without affecting productivity.
- Bots are virtual assistants with multi-tasking abilities, capable of revolutionizing customer interaction metrics. Most bots are integrated with machine learning algorithms to learn more about the audience and offer personalized content and experience.
- Bots transform a customer’s engagement with brands into a simple, natural, easy to understand and fun-filled activity.
- Bots are appealing mostly to the next generation of users like Millennials and Generation Z, as they are interacting directly with their brands through apps that the they are familiar with.
- Having a personal touch in the engagement will allow operators to build a stronger relationship with their customers. Improved customer service through a human-like interaction will also improve the churn rate.
Bots and messaging apps will transform communications and replace the most common interfaces that connect humans with connected devices.
“68% of 18–34 year-old consumers have stopped doing business with a brand due to a single poor customer service experience.” (Microsoft)
Ignoring social media inquiries increases churn
Looking from the customers’ perspective, telcos can use the bots in a way that serves their audience in the right place, at the right time, with the right information, in a cost-effective manner. The bots offer operators the possibility to interact with their audience without pushing things but instead by providing them exactly what they raise their hand and ask for.
“Failure to respond to customer complaints and questions on social media can lead to 15% increase in churn.” (Gartner)
Customer Experience is the next big battle ground for Telcos
Telcos are sitting on a mountain of data about their customers. Analysing that data gives telcos the unique opportunity to create highly personalised offers that address customers’ specific needs or solve individual challenges. Keep in mind that Chatbots are not useful in all scenarios and it’s important to know when you should use them. In some cases, it might bring customers to a frustrating dead end if the keywords don’t match the script. My recommendation would be to have an AI-powered chatbot that is able to offer suggestions based on what it knows about each customer.
Customers want a consistent experience
“61% of customers have not been able to easily switch from one channel to another when interacting with customer service.” (Aspect)
Time to think about Chatbots as disruptors in Customer Support
The technology has started to reach a usable level of maturity, and this is one of the main reasons why a lot of companies are investing now in Chatbots. Another good reason is the fact that messaging has grown beyond all predictions. Just imagine how easy the interaction could be if you could message a business in the same way you message a friend without installing fancy apps to do this.
The future looks promising, and it will bring a more conversational and natural range of interactions with machines. Be one step ahead and take a look at the smart voice speakers. In a world where mobile-first is quickly becoming mobile-only, chatbots are uniquely positioned to be embraced by developers, and through their apps, to deliver a wealth of insight through the consumers’ own words.
We talked a lot about Millennials, but what about their younger siblings, Generation Z? By 2020, they will account for 40% of the market.
Telcos can experience the messaging bots while looking ahead at smart voice speakers like Alexa, Echo, Cortana or Siri, but don’t forget the social media networks where you can find Gen Z (Snapchat, Instagram etc.). Many brands are already conducting studies to address Generation Z.
Has your company already thought about this?