While chatbots continue to have a growing impact in many areas of business, customer services is their primary testing ground and natural environment. All types of business should monitor this sector to see how chatbots could impact your business and will drive engagement in the future.

Ranked the No. 6 use case by popular chatbot service provider, SnatchBot, customer services is the front line of the chatbot world. From banks to hotels, retailers to airlines, they all increasingly rely on a chatbot as a front line point of contact. Primarily, chatbots handle the basic queries a customer may have, saving them searching a website, or calling the support line. That allows agents to work the more serious or complex cases or those that require a human touch.

Depending on which stats you believe, chatbots are now dealing with 10% to 15% of all customer service queries, and will save businesses around $8 billion by 2022. Consumers are getting the hint, with some 89% positive or neutral about their use, according to a recent survey.

As usage grows, all companies will need a chatbot on hand to help support their customers. Data and analytics can monitor satisfaction levels, but for overall effectiveness, any business needs a well thought out plan before adopting a bot. Check out this infographic to see how to measure the effectiveness of a chatbot how bots are helping customers.

All Businesses Can Save Time With A Chatbot

A chatbot can save large numbers of phone calls being made, emails that need to read and other correspondence being generated. Automating the customer service department is the key benefit of a chatbot, operating 24/7 and regularly updated to cover new products, features or services.

Along with dealing with queries, service bots can also perform sales functions, helping to sell everything from items on eBay thanks to ShopBot to pizzas from most popular chains. This fast-growing range of goods without users needing to wade through web stores or complex interfaces is key to demystifying the technology.

These popular use cases help expose users to chatbots and any initial fear will evaporate as they become part of everyone’s digital family alongside the smartphone, virtual assistant and smart home gadget. With a small development time, low-deployment cost and rapid return on investment, chatbots are an easy win for any business looking to cut costs or a startup looking to grow fast without the overheads.

Service Chatbots Into The Next Generation

Trends such as AI and natural language processing are also being demonstrated in the customer service arena. Any business can monitor their progress and judge when the time is right for them to roll out a suitable bot for more complex or detailed tasks.

Moving on from the script-based chatbots that dominate the market, increasingly, bots are using AI and being trained by watching actual human agents at work. Conversational intelligence will allow bots to understand us better and help the business by solving more tasks, and the bot teaching itself how to respond to new situations.

As more people move from using websites and apps or social media to Messenger-type apps, the chatbot will become the natural contact point for any business. Instantly available and the fount of all relevant knowledge, these bots will save people having to tweet a company or to compose a lengthy email.

As that customer engagement landscape changes and the bots get smarter, there is no future landscape where bots are not the dominant means of customer engagement and feedback. With that in mind, all businesses should be looking at bots to augment (not replace) their customer service facilities.

This isn’t bad news for customer service agents either. They get to deal with the more important calls, adding more value to their customers’ interactions and having a greater impact at work. With these benefits in mind, any business that is not investigating chatbots should be doing so soon, or face being left behind in their market.