Chatbots have become trendy. They are everywhere at the moment, from banks offering their customers a conversational bot to interact with for basic tasks, to the old and funny Cleverbot.

The question that remains, though, is whether or not chatbots are here to stay. Are they a fad, doomed to disappear shortly? Alternatively, are they an entirely new way of experiencing the world, beyond bank transactions and silly existential questions?

A recent study shed some light on what people want from businesses nowadays regarding availability, instantaneity, and help. These statistics show us that chatbots are very likely here to stay.

1.) 51 percent of people say a business needs to be available 24/7

This first statistic focuses on what consumers need.

It seems the consumer needs a business that is available to reply to questions and queries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This shows a need for instantaneity and availability. The consumer does not believe in opening hours anymore.

If you think about it, it makes sense. Anyone can purchase pretty much anything they want from the internet.

Want a new phone? Turn on the computer, navigate to the appropriate online store, and order it. You might even be able to pay a little extra to get it delivered to your doorstep the very next day.

Now compare this experience to having to wait for store opening hours to ask a few simple questions. Incredibly frustrating.

2.) 45.8 percent would rather contact a business through messaging than email

Although messaging apps are somewhat new, over 45 percent of consumers say they would choose them over email to get in touch with a business.

Emails have been around for decades, and yet close to half of the people surveyed would move away from them.

This, again, shows a need for instantaneity, but also personalization.

Messaging apps offer the consumer the pleasure of interacting with someone on a personal level. The consumer wants to move away from the cold, impersonal email sent to an “info@” mailbox.

It also shows the consumer would rather have a conversation than an exchange of emails. Emails can be slow. Think of all the times you have sent an email to a company’s email address (or through their online form) and received the “thank you for contacting us” email back, along with a note telling you it may take between 24 and 48 hours for them to respond.

Comparatively, messaging apps allow for instant two-way back and forth between consumer and business.

3.) 49.4 percent would rather contact a business through messaging than phone

This statistic, when compared to the previous one, is particularly interesting.

Since the last statistic showed that consumers want interactions with businesses rather than cold emails, one could expect phone calls to do much better in this matchup. After all, a phone call is an instant interaction between two humans.

Yet messaging apps hold just shy of 50 percent of the votes again. Why?

It may have something to do with the age-old answering machine (“To reach the marketing department, press 1…”). It may also have something to do with being put on hold for an indefinite amount of time (listening to Bach).

Whatever it is, the consumers are looking for a conversational alternative to phone calls, and that alternative might very well be messaging apps.

Where do chatbots stand in all of this?

You are probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned chatbots once since my introduction. Don’t worry, here I go.

Chatbots are an answer to each of the three statistics above.

  1. Chatbots allow a business to be available, contactable, and reachable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  2. Chatbots are delivered through messaging apps like Messenger, WeChat, or Kik.
  3. Chatbots allow consumers to contact a business without having to deal with a phone call, being put on hold, or having to push buttons to navigate from department to department.

The three statistics presented above show the consumer is ready to interact with chatbots. That is why everyone is raving about them, from the customer who’s happy to have an immediate way to interact with a business to the business owner who’s happy to have a robot take over when they cannot handle all the queries coming in.

As long as chatbots address each statistic above, they are not going anywhere.

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