Chatbot uptake to remain robust as firms seek competitive edge in Nigeria

By Olajide Osho-Thomas at Infobip Nigeria

Nigerian firms that offer extensive customer support on their platforms are eagerly snapping up chatbot solutions to improve Customer Experience (CX) and drive down costs. This technology is becoming simpler, cheaper to deploy, and can be integrated across various chat channels.

Chatbots are rapidly changing the game for many businesses, as Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven bots start to understand human intent and communicate more efficiently and effectively with end users, while giving organisations a better insight into their customers.

What’s more, this technology provides organisations with cost optimisation by decreasing operating expenses, in addition to offering scalability without impacting quality. As a result, this frees up resources for the organisation in order to pursue other opportunities.

Uptake has been strong in the financial services sector, with many banks, fintech start-ups and insurance companies deploying chatbots not just for customer service, but for other functions too. These include the processing of loan applications and the provision of basic banking services.

Companies in other industry sectors have also started to dip their toes in bot waters, including some in the recruitment, Human Resources (HR) and logistics industries. Even the public sector is seeing the benefits of this technology, with a significant amount of e-governance now being handled by chatbots.

Attracting investors

The Nigerian government is using bots to disseminate key information not only to the country’s vast population, but also to potential foreign investors. To attract investors, the government is using bots to provide information about the ease of doing business, tax regulations and potential locations to set up businesses in the country, among others.

It is, therefore, not difficult to see that the growth potential for chatbot adoption remains extremely robust in Nigeria. Continued interest from financial services companies is expected to make this technology a top trending digital solution and could well spur adoption in other sectors.

Traditionally, sectors such as retail have been wary of chatbots, but the technology has matured in recent years. Now that bots are being deployed over trusted and official communication channels, with added security interactivity and the fact that they are extremely customisable, they are seen as increasingly useful to an industry that previously struggled with precise customer engagement.

From a customer engagement perspective, bots are driving a highly evolving market, and no one wants to be left behind. In addition, the availability of proper metrics and a tangible return on investment are making chatbot technology a compelling value proposition.

Beyond just chatting

The evolution of bots means that this is no longer just mundane technology that only provides end users with pre-set information. Chatbots are built on intents, dialogues, and settings that are governed by machine learning and natural language processing which enable the desired dynamic interactions.

AI technologies enable bots to analyse the intent behind a customer’s interaction with an organisation, so engagement can be tailored to enhance CX. Once intent is analysed and inputs are processed, this information is used in conjunction with data the organisation has in order to provide a custom experience. This in addition to further enriching and finetuning the customer’s profile for the next interaction.

Bot solutions are increasingly dynamic, so an engagement with a customer can either trigger a dialogue – in multiple languages or even in vernacular – or, depending on the query, the customer can be handed off to a live agent, along with a record of all previous communication.

Intelligent features like sentiment analyses inform agents whether they are dealing with a customer who is agitated, or in a hurry, for example. Companies thus gain a deeper understanding of the preferences and needs of their market, while also providing better customer care and richer engagement.

The possibilities are endless, and businesses looking to better serve their customers and staying ahead of the competition should be taking advantage of this technology’s huge potential.

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