If you want to advance and develop your business, you always need to be on the lookout for the newest advances and innovations. Trying to improve every part of your customer’s user experience is just one part of this entire ethos. Chatbots are an excellent start.
Whether it’s boosting productivity or increasing customer engagement, chatbots are a necessary tool that more and more companies are using.
- What is a chatbot?
In the article below, we will be dealing with what Chatbots actually are, and, most importantly, how you can use them to your customers’ benefit.
Shorthand for chat robot, a chatbot is a piece of software that is supposed to simulate a human conversation. This can be presented through text, voice, or a combination of both.
Their core purpose is to make life easier. They let customers find answers to frequently asked questions quickly and efficiently.
Working round the clock, 24/7, chatbots give your customers instant answers, free up time and resources for your customer support department, and help you establish a stronger connection with your target audience.
- AIs and chatbot possibilities
The future is now. Before, chatbots responded to questions and queries based on a predetermined script. They provided answers to frequently asked, direct, and unambiguous questions.
Later advancements in chatbot systems allowed for the scanning of databases, which in turn allowed the bot to focus on specific words, phrases, and queries. Instead of a script, it observes the input (i.e., questions) provided by customers, then scans its own database, and provides a useful response.
Of course, the limitations in these systems completely hinge on the database they have been provided with. And since chatbots look up specific keywords and try to match an answer to them, people can’t really pose complex questions if they want to get a coherent answer. AI tech mixes things up a little.
Through machine learning and other advancements in AI tech, chatbots have become much more sophisticated. Using natural language processing and understanding, chatbots have become much better at figuring out what your customers want.
AI developments have given chatbots a better understanding of context and dialogue, giving them much more flexibility. They can even learn through their interactions with people.
On a pure, practical business level, AI usage is linked to higher-performing companies. If you are in a strong company, the odds of you utilizing an AI are 2.1 times higher compared to companies that are struggling. Want to know why? Then read on.
- Benefits of a chatbot
A big part of running a business is managing your time, and the time of your employees. A chatbot is here to relieve pressure from your customer support teams, and help your customers have a more pleasant shopping experience.
Even if you feel that implementing a chatbot is daunting, you can always delegate. Either direct your developers towards its implementation, or delegate this task to a professional web design and development company, and alleviate some of the pressure.
The cost-saving elements of a chatbot are significant. By covering some of the work done by your live agents, you:
- Save money on training and employee education
- Save time on the entire training process
- Reduce salary and benefits costs
Below we will delve into why getting one ASAP will work wonders for your bottom line and make life easier for your customers.
- 1. Better lead generation
When properly set up, a chatbot can be very effective at improving your lead generation process. You want that extra, personal touch that hooks customers, as well as gently pushing them into making an immediate decision.
There are two elements that make a chatbot good at generating leads:
The chatbot can provide personalized questions and recommendations that can get a customer to make a purchase. It can intercept your potential client’s needs, providing discounts, coupons, and recommendations that will constantly tempt them until they make a purchase.
Immediacy is there for customers who want to make a purchase right now, no matter if it’s with your company, or somebody else’s.
Chatbots generate leads that you may have lost because your customer support team wasn’t available.
A customer that was already on the cusp of making a purchase might change their mind and go to another company if there was some issue they were unsure of. Instead, they got their answer through your bot immediately, and continued to checkout.
- 2. Easier scalability
Scalability is a continual issue for any company, and chatbots, at least on one end, solve this problem elegantly. Here’s how they help:
- They can handle thousands of questions and queries at basically any point
- Chatbots are flexible, and can be scaled in the short term, and the long term, easily
Let’s imagine you are getting insane traffic during the holidays. Your customer support team simply can’t handle this kind of situation. Your bots, however, can respond at any time, and relieve a great deal of pressure by handling simpler tasks and queries.
Instead of investing extra money, paying for overtime, or hiring extra customer support people, your chatbots take up a big chunk of that work. This also includes costs associated with hiring remote workers in different time zones, or people doing the night shift.
If you’ve had the good fortune of having your company boom overnight, you don’t have to scramble and start widening your support team. Investing extra money into chatbots can lead to, at least, a 30% decrease in customer support costs.
- 3. Flexibility through automation and the human touch
Around 90% of people prefer talking to a customer service agent, not a bot. However, 53% of customers don’t make a purchase if they find its taking them too much time. And it’s not really realistic for your customer support team to be there all the time. Chatbots bridge this gap.
With chatbots you get to cater to both of the above seemingly contradictory needs by:
- Providing quick answers
- Create some room for your call agents
For those who want as much information as possible instantly, but who can’t or won’t sift through your website, a chatbot has all the basic answers. The customer starts speaking with the bot, provides clear queries, and gets clear answers.
On the other hand, the above group won’t create a queue, and will allow people to reach your agents much more quickly. This also means that customers who want speed, and a conversation with an actual person, won’t have to wait that long to reach an agent.
- 4. Easier customer onboarding
Have you heard of the ambiguity effect? It boils down to – if a customer isn’t sure what kind of outcome a specific action will lead to, he or she will most likely believe it’s going to be a negative outcome. They like things to stay simple, and direct.
You don’t want to make people work in order to make a purchase. They prefer you leading them, pampering them. A chatbot is just the thing you need.
A properly set up chatbot can guide your potential customers by:
- Gathering information
- Direct customers towards giving them useful information
- Pushing people through the conversation funnel.
First, your chatbot will ask your customer questions, and will take into account the answers it receives. Based on these answers, it can figure out how much a customer needs to know in order to make a purchase. Then, it will push them with some more questions and answers until a conversion happens.
An example here might be: the chatbots actually providing the potential customer with a set of questions he or she didn’t even think to ask.
A customer might be looking for a specific brand of running shoes, but a chatbot can recommend, or ask questions that lead to, a better brand he or she didn’t even know you had.
- 6. An extra source of customer data
Through their interactions, your chatbots gather information on your customers. By analyzing responses, you can figure out why, or why not, a customer made a purchase.
You can track the entire flow of their conversations and see where the breaking point happened. Maybe a specific question or recommendation convinced them. Or, perhaps you lost them because the bot was too pushy, or because you didn’t have a clear way of providing information on a specific product.
A chatbot can also gather information that helps you get to know your customers better. They can inquire about their age, gender, geographic location, and basically anything else you need (and believe is polite to ask).
If you want to develop your company, you need to continually innovate. A chatbot is a fantastic place to start.
Properly implemented, it can do wonders for lead generation and scalability. Your customers will certainly appreciate it, which will reflect positively on their engagements.
You will also save money on training, salaries, and logistical costs. A good bot can provide your customers with 24/7 support.
For anything, from streamlining onboarding, to just making things go much smoother, chatbots are the way to go.
- Author bio
Rick Seidl is a digital marketing specialist with a bachelor’s degree in Digital Media and Communications, based in Portland, Oregon. With a burning passion for digital marketing, social media, small business development and establishing its presence in a digital world, currently quenching his thirst through writing about digital marketing and business strategies for Find Digital Agency.