Today’s consumers are confidently engaging with chatbots to undertake a host of routine tasks and get fast resolution to their queries. From live chat widgets on websites that assist and guide customers to messaging apps that make it easy to get recommendations on products and services, chatbots are dramatically changing the way customers interact with businesses.
As chat technology advances, a new generation of ecommerce chatbots are emerging that are capable of handling secure transactions on the go. In other words, there’s no more waiting around to be redirected to a customer service representative to complete whatever transaction they want to undertake.
Smoothing the Path to Purchase
Organisations that are making it easier for time-pressed shoppers to pay for goods and services without having to leave the chat are already achieving incredible success – and making money – using bots.
From generating leads to increasing conversion and purchasing rates, adding quick and easy integrated payment options to the chat experience appears to hold a strong appeal with consumers.
With 67% of millennials saying they’d happily make purchases from brands using a chatbot, the ability to sell products or services directly within an automated chatbot represents a cost-effective opportunity to serve customers in-the-moment and meet their need for speed.
Innovation in the chatbot payment arena looks set to be the next big trend on the horizon. Especially when you consider how a recent study of consumer customer service attitudes found that one-in-every five people would consider using a chatbot to pay their bills.
That represents a significant portion of your customer base that’s ready and willing to transition to a new and more convenient way of transacting with your brand.
Taking the Hassle Out of Bill Payment
Today’s consumers want to complete everyday transactions and payment tasks in the most streamlined way possible, and a bill payment bot can make it easier for them to undertake a range of activities. Customers are increasingly happy to share personal information that has been gathered in a secure manner, as it makes the reordering of products or renewing contracts easier.
For example, deploying a payment bot on a banking portal can help customers to pay their phone or utility bills. Today’s smart chatbots can do much more than action responses; banks are already using automated chatbots to provide customers with account updates or suggestions – and make payments upon request. All customers need to do is open a conversation, provide their payment details, confirm them, after which they automatically receive a notification about the payment status.
Similarly, help assistant bots can provide customers with an alert that their next bill payment is due, together with an option to quickly and simply settle on the spot or request a nudge in a few hours when it’s more convenient. In some instances, interacting with a chatbot is preferred over interacting with a human.
As chatbots make their way into our daily lives, companies working in a wide variety of industry sectors – including travel, hotels, and financial services – are exploring ways to automate customer service and move payment transactions to a lower cost base. With more and more people using chatbots for social interaction and basic tasks such as searches and fact checking, it’s a strategic move that capitalises on the growing propensity of consumers to view chatbots as an everyday communication channel when dealing with brands.
That should be a wake-up call for companies that still have to deal with the high volume of customers who have no other option but to pick up the phone to pay their bill or make a loan payment. All of which can typically cost organisations around $6 for each call.
Is Your Business Missing Out?
Businesses that aren’t leveraging chatbots for bill payment are potentially leaving money on the table and missing a big opportunity to reduce their operational costs.
Chatbots can transform everyday tasks like billing and payments into rich customer touchpoints that deliver frictionless, on-demand bill-ready and payment-related notifications and reminders. That’s good for customers and smooths the way to a more automated and predictable revenue collection.
With contact center capacity restricted by the number of representatives available on the phones to field calls or handle live webchats, accepting payments via bots can generate significant efficiencies. Eliminating the need for customer service representatives to undertake such a simple repetitive process, agents get time back to focus on more strategic tasks and complex, value-add calls. Meanwhile, customers are no longer obliged to wait their turn in call queues to pay their bills.
Payments Need to be Secure and Compliant
It’s only a matter of time before automated payments bots become a standard consumer interface. But if customers are to be confident about using these chatbots to pay bills, then security will be a top concern.
To placate any potential customer hesitation, organisations will need to invest in a scalable and PCI DSS compliant solution that ticks every box when it comes to generating secure payment links that are easy to initiate, monitor and manage. Ideally, one that empowers them to offer customers a choice of payment options and leaves them free to use the PSPs (payment service providers) of their choice.
For organisations that want to seize the AI-powered chatbot opportunity and serve customers better, getting the right payment solution in place will be the key to securing customer data and combating fraud.