Customers care more about how a company treats their customer than how much the company charges. According to a recent study on shoppers in Europe and the US, 64% of customers actively avoided engaging with a brand in the last year because of a bad experience. Meanwhile, 77% of shoppers chose to purchase from a brand because of a good experience.
Those numbers are likely to go up in the next few years. In fact, a report released by Walker in 2013, Customers 2020: A Progress Report, found that customer experience will surpass price as a differentiating factor by 2020. In their race to the bottom on price, many brands have forgotten what it means to deliver a great experience. B2B prospects have noticed, and they have begun to shift their purchasing power toward brands that deeply understand their business and use that knowledge to optimize the sales process – even if those brands cost more.
No company can deliver a perfect experience through manpower alone, though. Employees get tired, take breaks, go on vacation and have bad days, any one of which could turn a neutral customer interaction into a bad experience. Businesses could hire more workers, but the more talented and able tend to require larger salaries.
Luckily, automation technology has produced an effective alternative in the form of botforces. By leveraging armies of conversation bots, companies can deliver the personalized and smart experiences that prospects crave.
Most online experiences fall short
Even though companies recognize the importance of a good experience, most still fail to fulfill customer expectations.
In the 2017 Global Customer Experience (CX) Benchmarking Report, Dimension Data discovered that 71% of companies believe customer experience is a competitive differentiator. But only 13% of the companies in the study rated their CX delivery as a nine out of 10 or higher. Customers want better experiences, but companies don’t deliver – and they know it.
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Businesses cannot idly sit by. According to Salesforce research, 57% of prospects will switch to a competitor if their first choice doesn’t provide a digital experience that is optimized based on a deep understanding of the customer’s business. More than ever before, customers are willing to take their business elsewhere. It’s up to brands to deliver experiences that encourage them to stay.
But customer retention isn’t the only reason brands should create better experiences. Research from UserReplay, a digital customer experience management software firm, found that bad experiences can also tank conversion rates and harm brand image. That’s not just on desktop screens. It’s on mobile, too, where 3% of surveyed decision-makers at businesses said bad mobile experiences have hurt their organizations.
Clearly, brands need to provide better customer experiences. But how? How about a botforce?
How botforces help humans create better experiences
Thanks to a culture that rewards immediate gratification, 64% of shoppers today expect companies to immediately respond to them. It doesn’t matter if it’s during lunch or in the middle of the night – people want delightful experiences; and they want them now.
Tragically, we as humans can’t be in more than one place at the same time – yet. However, botforces can. Let’s be clear: Conversation bots are a long way from replacing humans in the office. And the idea is not to replace people with technology. The goal is to supplement human workforces with conversation bot assistants to provide customers with a consistently positive experience.
This solution is especially helpful for companies in B2B industries where vendors tend to have long sales cycles. To guide a prospect from the first interaction to brand consideration, it often requires at least four touch points. That means that prospects have multiple opportunities to alter their perception of the brand. And it’s highly that they are shopping around, comparing potential business partners. When B2B sellers and marketers drop the ball (or when there simply aren’t enough of them to offer a quick response time), conversation bots can step in to deliver a positive, relevant experience every time.
With such high expectations to meet, conversation bots can be the teammates that employees at B2B companies never knew they needed. Conversation bots that intelligently interact with prospects will not only engage with people online to provide a great experience, they will also qualify those leads as they go. How great would your sales team feel if they came into the office, and logged into their computer where a full screen of qualified leads was waiting for them in the CRM, organized by likelihood to purchase?
Working alongside conversation bots, human sales teams win on all fronts. They receive better leads, expend less effort and spend less time recording information in spreadsheets – which means they can spend more time persuading people to prefer the brand they represent. Salespeople will have easier lives, companies make more money and customers enjoy better experiences. Everyone benefits.
Experience is already a major competitive differentiator. However, conversation bots will not be an unexpected perk for long. Within the next 10 years, people will engage with companies, expecting conversation bots to be there to answer their questions. Brands without bot-omations will find themselves staring at their analytics screens, wondering why their conversion rates are stagnant. If you could train a botforce, what would you have it do? This question is one that we should be answering not tomorrow, but today.