There are a wide range of uses for business chatbots, from handling customer service inquiries on eCommerce sites to streamlining the sales process for B2B organizations – and plenty in between. As an AI chatbot provider we already know plenty about what chatbot adopters are using their new business tool for, but we wanted to know more.
We wanted to find out:
• what the worldwide business community thinks of chatbots in 2022
• what stops people from implementing chatbots on their own websites
• what website owners think is coming next as far as the world of AI and non-AI chatbots is concerned
With that in mind, Instabot used an anonymous, unbiased survey of over 100 businesses around the world to create the first of our new annual reports. How many organizations think chatbots are a must-have tool, and how many still aren’t convinced? Keep reading to see what we learned.
Key business chatbot statistics
66% say chatbots are essential, or are becoming essential, for customer support and sales
The debate around whether chatbots are a must-have or a passing fad can still be found throughout the internet, but the respondents in our survey sat predominantly on the ‘must-have’ side of the fence.
In addition to the 35% who said that chatbots are already an essential business tool when it comes to customer support and sales functions, a further 31% of respondents said that they believe chatbots are becoming an essential business tool. That’s 66% – precisely two thirds of businesses – who see chatbots as more than just a ‘nice to have’.
30% stated that they are unsure whether chatbots are or will be an essential business tool, while just 4% stated that they thought this was unlikely. Nobody who took our anonymous survey stated that chatbots would never become essential.
52% of businesses with websites are using chatbots
And 23% say they are likely to adopt them in 2022.
Previous reports have shown huge growth in chatbot adoption each year, with 13% of brands using chatbots in 2019, 25% using them in 2020, and an estimated 58% of B2B sites and 42% of B2C sites using them in 2021.
Our findings support these claims, with 52% of businesses overall telling us that they are already using either AI or non-AI chatbots on their sites and a further 23% of respondents stating that their organization is likely to adopt chatbot use in 2022.
Gartner previously predicted that by 2022, 70% of all customer interactions would involve machine learning, chatbots and mobile messaging. With our survey finding that 75% of businesses are set to be using chatbots by the end of this year, it’s fair to say that Gartner’s prediction seems to be coming true.
Popular benefits of business chatbot use
There are plenty of reasons why businesses in a range of industries adopt chatbots for their websites – but what are the top five? Our survey found that the most popular reasons for considering or implementing chatbots were:
1. Enabling 24/7 customer/client support (81%)
2. Providing faster customer/client support (73%)
3. Reducing pressure on customer/client support teams (65%)
4. Reducing the cost of providing customer/client support (61%)
5. Being able to keep a clear log of customer/client pain points (57%)
Other commonly cited benefits include increased sales and improved conversion rates, alongside streamlining the sales process and gathering useful customer or client analytics. But the top choices make it clear that it’s the improved availability, increased speed and reduced cost of providing support that act as the biggest selling points for many businesses.
Improving employee experience, as well as customer satisfaction
It’s interesting to note that reducing pressure on customer/client support teams comes in just above reducing service costs in our survey’s top five. There’s plenty of talk among business owners about the cost savings that can come as a result of investing in chatbot use, but 65% of our respondents felt that reducing pressure on their teams was a key benefit to implementing a website chatbot.
Manageable workloads don’t just result in increased productivity, they also reduce employee stress and staff turnover to boot. Effective chatbot implementation allows many customer queries to be answered instantly without the need for emails, telephone calls or live chat, freeing up employee time to tackle other tasks.
What stops businesses from adopting chatbots?
We couldn’t look at the biggest selling points of chatbots without also looking at the perceived issues that stop people from adopting them, too. After all, there’s still a cross-section of business owners who aren’t yet sure if chatbots are for them, and who didn’t say they were considering implementing one this year.
Of those who said they hadn’t yet started to use chatbots, the top reasons were:
1. Concern around message interpretation accuracy (60%)
2. Worries about data security (38%)
3. Risk that customers/clients could find it impersonal (29%)
Outside of the set replies, we also saw numerous additional notes from businesspeople who feared that adding a chatbot to their website would slow down page loading speeds and impact overall site UX.
Conversing like a human helper
Though non-AI chatbots can sometimes have issues with message interpretation and forming truly human-like responses, technology has come a long way since the very first chatbot, ELIZA, was invented in 1966. Most of us have now encountered a chatbot online during everyday activities, and the differences between one chatbot and the next can be jarring. How is it that some chatbots are able to handle complex conversations, while others get stuck on simple questions?
The simple answer is AI. Not all chatbots use machine learning to constantly improve their output, meaning that some will only ever offer answers as good as those that were programmed in at the initial launch point. By opting for an AI chatbot rather than an old-style non-AI version, you can avoid the risk that your bot won’t understand what’s being asked of it.
Instabot’s AI chatbot uses natural language processing and machine learning to respond to site visitors organically, using intuitive understanding to hold sophisticated conversations, whatever the question.
Keeping site speed optimized
Some chatbots can slow your site down, due to their own script blocking other code on your website as each page loads, so this is a valid concern. When you’re searching for the best chatbot solution for your business, look for options that have a non-blocking script setup to avoid digital delays.
For example, Instabot’s script is engineered to load and start working after the page load event, rather than before. This means we can provide an effective chatbot tool that doesn’t impact your website speeds and page loading times.
Other popular digital business tools
To understand how chatbots fit into the wider landscape of digital business tools, we also sought insight into the other options respondent organizations use.
CRM systems, email marketing solutions and social media automation tools came out on top, with the majority of respondents stating that their business uses all three tools on a regular basis.
Chatbots come in at 4th position, with the 52% who use them divided almost evenly between AI (25%) and non-AI (27%) bots. Meanwhile, customer survey tools and cloud contact centers came in as the least popular picks.
What’s next for business chatbots?
With the majority of businesses now adopting and planning to adopt chatbot use, we expect that when we ask the same questions about chatbots in 2023 we’ll see an even greater shift with almost all online businesses using a chatbot of some kind.
That said, for chatbots to reach their predicted popularity and to continue to be a cost-saving, productive business tool, there has to be an emphasis on smart, AI-centric chatbot use. Old-style chatbot software with clunky responses and limited language processing capabilities is still abundant, but business fears around impersonal bots and unhelpful responses don’t have to be realized.
AI technology is now a ubiquitous part of modern life, found in everything from smart home devices to social media. If you’re thinking of adopting a chatbot for your business, take a look at how Instabot’s AI chatbot is the easiest, fastest way to build an artificial intelligence-powered bot.
Methodology and sources
Survey responses were gathered anonymously from 104 respondents worldwide who were screened to confirm that they work at businesses which have a website, from any industry, via SurveyMonkey during March 2022.