Chatbots are not a one-size-fits-all technology, and the differences between them are more nuanced that one might assume. Yes, older chatbots (“legacy”) and conversational artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots (“next gen”) can both help your business achieve always-on support coverage and deliver faster responses to customer questions. But that’s where the similarities between chatbots end.
In fact, there are many stark and important contrasts between the two models. If your organization already uses chatbots for customer support, or is considering doing so, it’s important to understand the differences between these technologies and how they may impact you.
1. Channel Support and Routing
Legacy chatbots offered really cutting-edge technology when they were first invented, but tech has moved fast ever since and these older bots haven’t kept up. Case in point: legacy models are able to be used in a single channel only and essentially direct all incoming traffic the same way. You can imagine how frustrating this can be to customers.
Next-gen chatbots are leagues ahead. Not only can they be used across an array of channels at the same time, but they can also intelligently route customers to the right resources and/or subject matter experts, based on their queries. This saves customers time, and also helps decrease aggravation since they’re being directed to the right information or person to help them the first time around.
2. Quality of Answers
One objection to chatbots historically has been that they just don’t understand customers’ questions, so they fail to give adequate answers. Again, this was a problem with legacy technology since it was all rules-based. The bots would be programmed to respond to “Question A” from a customer with “Answer A.” It was all very transactional, and also highly inflexible.
Fast-forward to today, and next-gen chatbots are powered by conversational AI, which Deloitte defines as “a programmatic and intelligent way of offering a conversational experience to mimic conversations with real people, through digital and telecommunication technologies.” In other words, the bots use AI and natural language processing to understand the intent behind a customer’s question and to get to the heart of the answer adeptly. They can provide specific snippets from help articles, rather than links like legacy bots would send, so the customer doesn’t have to sift through articles themselves and can quickly resolve their issue.
3. Personalized Customer Experiences
Speed and answer quality are two key aspects of a winning customer experience online, but there’s still more that goes into it. Customers want to be treated as individuals, and be given relevant information that’s customized to them and their needs. Legacy bots provide a one-size-fits-all approach, which flies in the face of such customer expectations, while next-gen technology is actually centered on creating personalized experiences. Conversational AI bots can be programmed and customized based on personas, and can go even further and deliver on-brand experiences. Customers feel the difference when their needs are met, often proactively, and it makes their interactions with a brand smooth and satisfying.
4. Useful Analytics
As with most older technology, legacy chatbot analytics leave a lot to be desired. They typically provide high-level metrics that don’t really give an organization useful information they can act upon. This was passable when it was the only technology available, but with wildly more comprehensive options on the market today, there’s no reason to settle for this anymore.
Next-gen technology, for example, is designed to provide actionable insights to businesses. Let’s say customers keep coming to your website and asking the same question, but your bots don’t have a good resource to pull from to answer it. You would be alerted to this content gap, and have an opportunity to fill it so the next time a customer asks the same question, they’ll be served the right information. Next-gen chatbots can also give you a window into your help center performance and other analytics that will help you identify what’s going right in your program, and where you can improve.
5. Low Risk, High Return
Finally, what about a return on your investment? No one wants to invest in a piece of technology that doesn’t help them achieve higher profitability and, fortunately, next-gen bots play a role in this too. With a low cost of ownership and fast time to ROI, organizations can see a significant impact quickly on their bottom line that wasn’t there with legacy bots. Furthermore, since next-gen bots improve customer satisfaction, they can also help boost your customer retention which leads to even greater ROI over time.
Legacy models are still stuck in the past, with limited possibilities, a lack of flexibility and poor returns. But next-gen conversational AI chatbots are one of the keys to an effective customer support program, a better customer experience and elevated all-around success. If you’re searching for the right chatbots for you, it’s time to step into the modern world with next-gen technology.
Interested in seeing what a next-gen chatbot can do? Visit Solvvy.com to check it out or schedule an introductory demo.