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7 real-life chatbot use cases across different industries

Grace Lau

Director of Growth Content

Chatbot use cases header

When you hear the word “chatbot”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Like many of us, pain and frustration could be your initial associations. But chatbots have actually come a long way—and I’ve pulled some of the best chatbot use cases to show just how varied and, dare I say, smart they can be.

In fact, as you’ll see from the examples below, chatbots have become an integral part of the customer journey. More importantly, they can help take a lot of the burdens of repetitive questions, straightforward requests, and other low-value tasks from agents’ plates—while helping a contact center hit its customer service objectives.

Chatbots: An overview

The chatbot has evolved a lot since its inception. Its humble beginnings stem from an attempt to satisfy the criterion of the Turing Test and prove the existence of artificial intelligence.

💡 Fun fact:

In 1966, Joseph Weizenbaum’s ELIZA program was able to fool users into believing they were having a text-based conversation with real human beings. This first application of machines impersonating the real thing was just the beginning as Weizenbaum’s key operating method would be copied and built upon even to this day.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is essentially a computer program or script that can interact and respond to humans in a real-time “conversation.” Depending on the technology used, the chatbot can answer with canned responses, handle different degrees of basic requests (sometimes referred to as second and third tier issues), and/or direct a customer or caller to the best live agent for the job.

Today, chatbots are used in a wide variety of industries and for diverse purposes. Many businesses use chatbots and AI in customer service for routing contacts or gathering information. Other revenue-focused teams use chatbots to more efficiently qualify leads and drive large sales pipelines.

A quick history of chatbot use cases

Chatbots have been around in some form for more than 50 years. Originally, it was more to serve as the vehicle for the debate of machinery and artificial intelligence.

In 1988, Rollo Carpenter created Jaberwacky, a British chatterbot that was built to "simulate natural human chat in an interesting, entertaining, and humorous [sic] manner". This application was one of the first capable of learning new responses instead of being driven by canned dialog from a database.

Soon, chatbots would be evolving way past pattern matching techniques with capabilities like real-time learning through evolutionary algorithms. Facebook opened its developer platform in 2016, espousing the capabilities of its Messenger chatbot. By this time, organizations around the world were adopting chatbots for a variety of business-focused use cases.

How do chatbots work?

Many chatbot systems’ AI works by taking basic inputs (like an answer to a yes/no question that you might click on a website’s chat box) or by simply scanning for identified general keywords. These words will trigger the bot to produce a response.

However! It’s becoming more common for organizations to use chatbots with more complex processes such as natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning. These modern chatbots provide more functionality, a better user experience, and an overall more lifelike conversation that can drive customer engagement.

The benefits of using chatbots

There are many benefits for businesses from deploying chatbots.

Better customer service

Customers today expect a more rapid and easy resolution of their issues than ever before. A recent study by HubSpot found that 90% of customers expect an immediate response when dealing with customer service. This is why many customers prefer live chat over channels like email, phone, and social media.

Chatbots give your business a 24/7 channel to handle onboarding, support, and more (since they don’t need to sleep or eat), and give your customers (or potential customers) the immediate answers they desire.

🧠 Fun fact:

Most chatbots that we’re familiar with can search a knowledge base or FAQ page to pull answers automatically. But did you know that Dialpad Self-Service (basically a really smart chatbot) can even pull information from unstructured knowledge sources like PDFs and even past conversations on similar topics?

Boost sales

Chatbots can also help you qualify leads in real-time. Anonymous visitors to your website have all come from different sources, but they have one thing in common; they’re interested in your business and its products or services. Chatbots can help guide prospective customers to find the information or products they’re looking for more easily.

This type of guidance in real-time can help personalize the shopping experience and lead to more conversions too. For example, your chatbot could point out promotions and discount codes that someone window shopping virtually on your website may miss, which increases the likelihood of purchase. Alternatively, you could place a chatbot in the check-out page of your site to answer questions and alleviate cart abandonment.

Save money

Of course, the overall benefit of deploying chatbots is that they help you provide service and sales support for your customers around the clock more cost-effectively.

Because they can handle simple and repetitive tasks, that spares your agents (whose time is much more valuable) for more complex chats and service escalations.

For example: Is your small HR team bogged down by the same questions about holidays or benefits? You might consider an HR chatbot deployment that can answer 90% of these questions to lighten the load on your HR team.

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In fact, a survey by Oracle found that chatbot usage could lead to annual savings of more than half of the upfront costs for businesses. Depending on business needs, developing and implementing chatbots may require a significant upfront investment, but the cost savings you’ll see from things such as training, staff equipment, and wages will likely far outweigh that initial spend.

The limitations of chatbots: Using bots the “right way”

Yes, chatbots can’t be expected to do everything—nor do we believe they should. They have a very unique skill set, but the goal isn’t to have bots replace humans.

It’s to use bots to help humans focus their time on the work that requires a human. That said, here are a few situations where you shouldn’t use a bot (at least, not yet).

Not providing an option to reach a human

This is one of the biggest mistakes that companies make when deploying chatbots.

They cannot solve every single problem! And when that happens, your customer or prospect should be able to easily escalate that conversation to a voice or video call with a live agent. It’s a must-have for a good digital customer experience.

Not doing your customer research

Regardless of whether a bot is scanning customer queries for keywords or using machine learning, it needs to know what to look for.

In other words, when you’re doing that workflow orchestration and planning those scripts, you need to know what they need to address first.

For example, your chatbot project is much more likely to be successful if you start with the most common questions or the most time-consuming questions from customers. From there, you can consider whether those can or should become self-service chatbot journeys—or whether they’re so complicated that leaving them as is would be better for customer satisfaction. Without this research, you're flying blind.

Not integrating your tools

A chatbot on its own is an island.

A chatbot that’s integrated, or better yet, built right into your contact center platform, is much more helpful for your agents and supervisors. For example, it can pull information from more sources instantly, escalate to a live agent with all the contextual information intact.

And instead of having to log into different apps and dig through multiple tools for information, an agent who’s taken over a chatbot conversation can easily pull up relevant historical information or helpful answers in conversations with past customers.

7 use cases for chatbot technology in different industries

So, how exactly are businesses today using chatbots? Here are seven of the best chatbot use cases for improving sales and customer service techniques and outcomes.

Chatbot use case #1: A global logistics firm

Like those that came before them, the customers of the 21st century want the answer to one simple question: “Where’s my stuff?”

The difference now is that accurate tracking information is widely available in real-time. You can actually see "where your stuff is" at any moment. Unfortunately, the problem is that in logistics, there are many variables and it can be difficult to get it right every time on a global scale.

Whether for impatience, anxiety, or actual issues, this leads to calls and messaging through digital channels at high volumes. At peak times (especially unexpected ones), these surges can quickly overwhelm even the best-prepared companies. All those simple yet still important calls take up your agent’s time and divert them away from resolving more complex tickets. And ultimately, that stretching out of your resources negatively impacts your service levels—and your bottom line.

Quick shameless plug: Did you know that Dialpad Ai Contact Center has built-in heat maps that show you your call volumes and even your average speed to answer?

Heat map average speed to answer in dialpad contact center

How you could fix this problem with a chatbot approach:

You could deflect calls away from your contact center (perhaps via a recorded message when callers are on hold) to chatbots on your website, social media, and other platforms. The chatbots can give customers 24/7 access to track orders and package information. This lowers the strain on your customer support team and gives them back time to focus on more complicated questions.

Chatbot use case #2: A public energy utility

The past few years have seen pandemic-lead disruption and uncertainty become all too frequent. With maintenance works and upgrades being implemented, temporary shut-offs can affect a large number of people’s daily lives—especially with the increased amount of people working from home these days.

Not only that, energy costs are soaring to new highs every quarter. The end result is that your utility's contact center team is flooded with calls when people’s Internet or electricity stops working, or when rates have gone up but their payment hasn’t been properly updated.

How you could fix this problem with a chatbot approach:

First, automate maintenance notifications to keep affected customers in the know. Secondly, you can also automate reminders to customers through SMS to collect payments and set up revised payment plans.

Next, do a chatbot deployment on your website to provide an extra customer engagement channel there.

With Dialpad Ai Contact Center, for example. you can easily create new questions and responses to address common issues:

Creating a new response to customer queries in dialpad self service

Combine this with FAQs about any adjustments or service changes for a multi-pronged approach. And as always, guide customers to live agents when it's needed.

Chatbot use case #3: A property management or real estate company

You might be a successful business that manages a mix of commercial and residential properties. As the business grows and your portfolio diversifies, you notice an increasing amount of customer calls covering a widening range of questions.

These questions are about things like rent/billing, service/maintenance, renovations, and more. This also includes inquiries from potential customers about viewings and property details. Many of these questions could be answered by directing customers to online information or application forms. But alas, they can take up the bulk of your contact center resources.

How you could fix this problem with a chatbot approach:

Use chatbots to answer routine questions from tenants. The chatbots will guide them to self-service solutions or direct them to submit service tickets and permission requests. If it’s a more complex question, the chatbot can also collect relevant and categorical information before directing them to the best agent for the job.

By using chatbots to deflect high call volumes, your service levels will improve. Plus, your tenants will be happier because they can submit tickets 24/7—not just during business hours—and get automatic notifications when there are updates to their submissions. And now, thanks to automated rent reminders sent via two-way SMS and the ability to pay rent online, you're also seeing more on-time payments. It’s a win for their user experience and a win for your bottom line.

Chatbot use case #4: An educational institution or private school

For educational institutions, managing call volumes can be challenging. This is even more true during the busy times in the school year as resources are increasingly stretched thin. With large volumes of students and parents reaching out via phone and email with basic questions, it can be easy to find your teams overwhelmed.

How you could fix this problem with a chatbot approach:

Placing a chatbot on your website can help students and parents who are looking for basic information about payments and registration. You can also direct inbound callers to that chatbot for faster service and to free up your phone lines.

For example, in Dialpad, you can create not only text-based responses, but also add images and video—you can even attach files, like, say a course registration form—if that would be a better response for your audience:

Adding links images and more to self service journey in dialpad

This lets users sort out simple issues like tuition payments painlessly and in no time. It also lets you save time and money for your busy team.

Chatbot use case #5: A regional airline

If you’re running a regional airline, you know the importance of keeping in touch with customers about flight changes or delays. You also know that travelers can have anxiety about even the little things. And they may need guidance or reassurance at any time.

Right now, your customers may be contacting you on messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Slack. However, these support channels aren’t connected to your contact center software. That means that all the real-time conversation data from this channel is siloed, and your agents can’t seamlessly access it from their main contact center screen or inbox.

Instead, they have to switch between applications. Conversation history and other important information slip easily between the cracks. Plus, managers have no way to connect the data from that channel or visualize its metrics.

How you could fix this problem with a chatbot approach:

Use AI chatbots as a first-line defense for as many incoming queries as possible. These virtual assistants can quickly update customers on flight information like boarding times and gate numbers. They can also handle cancellations and flight changes as well as process any payments for upgrades or transfer fees.

And when necessary, they can escalate any customer to live support. This means the agent will be able to jump on and have access to all of the important info from the get-go. Your customers will get an improved and more rapid level of services. And your team will be able to work more productively.

💡 Fun fact:

Dialpad's contact center AI is designed to make supervisors and support agents more efficient, with omnichannel and self-service functionality. The result? Happier agents—and a better customer experience.

Chatbot use case #6: Retail bank or credit union

As a retail bank, you and your team are likely used to fielding simple questions. But at the same time, many of your customers are coming to you in times of great vulnerability. The cost of living is on the rise and consumers are tracking their finances with more detail than ever.

They may have issues with payments, pending transactions, fraud, or other matters. And they can keep an eye on it all in real-time. In the grand scheme of things, this is a good problem for the consumer to have.

However, the case is not the same for your business. Due to a need for more control and more information, your banking clients are putting pressure on your call center. They are requesting better service across digital channels like chatbots, social media, and SMS messaging.

How you could fix this problem with a chatbot approach:

Use a banking chatbot with sentiment analysis to handle your text-based digital channels.

This includes online chat via your website and mobile apps and other social media channels. Use your chatbots as virtual assistants to handle first and second-tier queries like scheduling a credit card payment or checking an account balance. Sentiment analysis is important here because when customers are worried or upset, it’s best to get them to a real person as quickly as possible.

Besides directing chats to live agents, the chatbot can also guide customers to create and alter settings like balance alerts and SMS payment reminders, and much more. This ensures that not only can their present issue be sorted, but the likelihood they will need to get in touch for the same problem in the future will fall.

Chatbot use case #7: An international D2C retail store

As an online international retailer, you have a lot of plates to keep spinning. You need to juggle supply chain logistics like purchase orders and warehousing. And you also need to deal with couriers, dropshipping, and other types of order fulfillment. Oh, not to mention running your ecommerce site! There are so many steps where something can go wrong, but all with the same result: Unhappy customers.

You’ve recently received some bad news. The manufacturer is having difficulties with assembly for one of your new products. Your team is experiencing a high volume of calls and service tickets early in the post-sales lifecycle. The majority are only being resolved as refunds and returns.

On top of that, each model of that product has its unique features and a separate troubleshooting procedure. Since it’s the holiday season right now, it’s even harder for your contact center to meet demand.

How you could fix this problem with a chatbot approach:

Add an AI-powered chatbot with machine learning capabilities to your service provision. This can guide customers with troubleshooting and also direct them to instructional media like video tutorials or the self-service knowledge base on your website. Besides giving customers a full walk-through, the chatbot can collect customer feedback. Use this vital information to improve the service and optimize the flow even more.

The chatbot can also help streamline the returns process for customers without any involvement from your team. This includes booking in couriers or creating returns labels. A faster resolution means more satisfied customers and reduced churn.

Chatbots can help deflect most of your inbound calls to digital self-service and reduce call volumes and wait times. Equally as important, they decrease the overall cost of serving consumers.

They can also help generate leads and sales by helping customers find the right products. And AI chatbots can also boost upselling and cross-selling success through personalized recommendations to online customers.

Chatbot use cases: Gain a competitive advantage in every industry

We’ve gone over seven use cases for chatbots. But there are hundreds or even thousands of chatbot use cases for businesses like yours. The customers of today expect to get what they want and need as quickly as possible. And when it comes to customer needs, they’re more specific than ever before.

The possibilities of chatbot implementation with a solution like Dialpad are only limited by your imagination. But no matter how they fit your business functions, they will always have one thing in common; competitive advantage.

Chatbots help you and your team give higher levels of service that can instantaneously scale with your business. The benefits of chatbots are many, and all at an attractive price with regards to their ROI.

Need a chatbot for your website?

🤖 Could it be the smartest and most easily customizable chatbot in the world? Book a product tour of Dialpad Ai Contact Center to see for yourself.