In the past, you may have found chatbots to be a frustrating experience that required intervention by a live employee. However, technology has vastly improved in recent years. Today’s chatbots are smarter, more reliable and more self-sufficient.
As hotel chatbots continue to improve, people will grow to expect them as a customer service option—and may even prefer them over human service. In fact, a Global Web Index survey last year found that nearly 4 out of 10 internet users prefer to use automated services rather than speak to a customer service representative.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversations with human users. A simple chatbot matches user questions with predefined answers, whereas an advanced chatbot uses artificial intelligence to expand its knowledge and capabilities over time as it interacts with users.
Chatbots use natural language processing, or NLP, to interpret human language and communicate in a conversational manner. Examples of NLP can be found in Google search and Google translate, voice assistants and SMS predictive text. ReviewPro clients will be familiar with semantic analysis, which uses NLP to interpret the meaning of guest comments in reviews and surveys.
Why are hotel chatbots relevant today?
Hotel chatbots are a product of the explosive growth of messaging in recent years, which has been driven by the ubiquity of smartphones. What started out as people texting with friends has expanded to dozens of messaging applications, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat.
Today, more businesses are using messaging to communicate with customers and prospects. This Facebook study revealed that each month over 20 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses on Messenger. The main reasons are convenience and speed. Unlike telephone calls, email and in-person service, responses by messaging tend to be quick —often sent in a matter of seconds or minutes.
Hotel chatbots as a customer service tool
To keep up with expectations, more companies are turning to chatbot technology. According to IBM, chatbots can help reduce customer service costs by 30%. At the same time, chatbots can improve customer service by providing instant answers to common questions, freeing up employees to handle more complex requests. And with 24/7 chatbot support and automated translation, customers can get answers to questions at any time of day in any language.
ReviewPro’s latest technology, Guest Experience Automation™ combines a ready-to-use chatbot with other supporting functionalities (guest messaging and automated cases) to reduce the noise for hotel staff by answering between 60-90% of repetitive guest questions.
Implementing chatbot and supporting structures relieves the load on call centers, while also relieving the burden on in-house staff (whether that by responding to online reviews and surveys, or answering the same set of questions at the front desk), so they can concentrate on attending guests face to face.
Does my hotel need a chatbot?
Some hotels worry that implementing a chatbot is equal to removing the human touch. In fact, it is quite the opposite: by taking away the need of tour staff to answer repetitive guest queries, your staff has more time to do what they do best – improve the guest experience.
If you’re contemplating a chatbot, consider these survey results from Business Insider:
- 45% of consumers don’t care who they interact with—live agent or chatbot—as long as the service is effective, accurate and handled quickly.
- 59% of consumers would rather go through additional channels to contact customer service than have to use their voice to communicate.
- 33% of all consumers and 52% of millennials would like to see all of their customer service needs serviced through automated channels.