Do you need a bot in your life?

Published: 18 Nov 2020
Last reviewed: 01 Mar 2021

CIMA were shortlisted at the memcom awards recently for the Best Use of AI. Anastasia Stefanidou shares some insight into their chatbot.

Artificial intelligence is everywhere now — in our phones, homes and cars. It makes our 24–7 global-life easier and frees us from routine jobs to concentrate on more complex tasks. The organisation I work for represents the rapidly modernising profession of accounting, and just as our members are using AI to make their lives easier, so are we.


Chatbots can transform your customer experience

Half of all consumers use social media to ask questions, complain or report satisfaction. A third of consumers prefer customer service via social media than telephone. This level of demand poses a significant challenge to companies who must establish cohesion throughout the customer-facing elements of their business.

Time-zone differences and staffing constraints are just two of the challenges faced by any global organisation seeking to provide best-in-class customer service with quick and thorough responses to queries — the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the combined power of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)  and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), is no exception.

When bots handle basic queries, the contact centre team is freed to handle the more complex queries, adding greater value to the business.


What is a chatbot, exactly?

A chatbot is a service, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that you interact with via a chat interface. The service could be any number of things, ranging from functional to fun, and it could live in any major chat product.

Eighty percent of customer’s queries have been resolved by chatbots without human supervision, as reported in this paper about chatbots being widely adopted by forwarding-thinking companies.

Chatbots are instant. They’re always on. They can communicate with any number of people simultaneously. And they’re cost-effective to implement.

Bots without human involvement can handle simple requests such as changing a password, requesting a balance, scheduling an appointment, etc.

Improved response times and consistency of responses lead to a better member experience. And a better experience leads to higher satisfaction and sentiment levels.  


Key chatbot stats

  • There were 300,000 chatbots on Facebook alone in 2019 (SocialMediaToday)
  • Over 50% of customers expect a business to be open 24/7 (Oracle)
  • 71% of people are willing to use messaging apps to get customer assistance; many do it because they want their problem solved, fast  (HubSpot)
  • Chatbots can answer 80% of standard questions (IBM)
  • Chatbots can save up to 30% in customer support costs (Invespcro)
  • Companies will save 2.5 billion customer service hours using chatbots by the end of 2023 (Juniper)
  • 64% of agents who use chatbots are free to spend their time solving more difficult and complex problems (SalesForce)


How can a personalised experience through a friendly, curious, well-rounded chatbot add value to the customer and the business?

Answering that question is how the idea of CIMA’s Facebook chatbot began.

At CIMA, we managed to improve response times of the Global Engagement Centre by decreasing the queries that the staff directly processed every month by 70%. Allowing bots to answer simple questions provided the team more time to quickly and thoroughly respond to customers’ requests, thereby increasing members’ view of our brand by 13.3%.


Could I use a chatbot?

That’s the million-dollar question in digital transformation today.

It may feel necessary to implement virtual agents for your business; however, it might not be right for your company. Does your company need a chatbot? Can your company safely handle implementing one? To help reach a decision, answer these questions:

  • Is your company able to have customer support agents present 24/7?
  • Is customer support needed across multiple channels, including social media?
  • Do you want to reduce customer service costs and find more efficient ways to increase the support you offer?

During the pandemic, demand for information via chatbots has increased by more than 150% — the highest demand times showed an increase of 300%. Chatbots are designed to answer the bulk of queries for which we already have responses, allowing human agents to devote themselves to solving complex issues or giving targeted information to more specific topics.

If you haven’t decided you are ready for your chatbot journey, here are my closing tips:

  • No bot is meant to do everything — the bot should do a single function incredibly well
  • Messages should always be an extension of a previous conversation or a response to a previous behaviour
  • Chatting with a bot should be like talking to a human that knows everything
  • A comprehensive conversational flow chart is the first thing you should create

AI will be a mainstream investment for promoting the customer experience in the next couple of years. Having a deep understanding of your business requirements to implement bots accordingly will greatly impact your customer journey and experience.

About the author: Anastasia Stefanidou is Associate Manager — Branded Content Strategy at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. Anastasia is passionate about AI and her latest (and proudest) achievement is creating an award-winning automated Facebook Messenger Chatbot, which is programmed to understand questions and provide answers to users.


About the memcom membership excellence awards

The memcom awards celebrate success in the fields of People & Leadership, Marketing & Communications, Digital, Engagement and Print. The 2021 awards are now open for nominations and more details can be found here.