Technological advancements have changed the way businesses function and the way consumers engage and interact with a business as well. Businesses now put out all kinds of relevant information on their site and social media networks to keep customers informed. Very rarely do customers visit a physical store and stand in line at a customer service desk to get answers to their queries. And since most of us do our shopping online, it is only but expected that customer service should be available there too. To stand out among the crowd on the Internet, it is of absolute importance to build a voice for your brand. And it is through AI-driven conversational robots integrated into websites and social media accounts that companies can develop a voice that reflects their brand well and provide genuine value to the end user.
Novelty Of Chatbots
Artificial intelligence is the future. It will double annual economic growth rates by 2035 and research from Digitas LBi shows that one in three Americans are not averse to making a purchase from a chatbot. More than half the people think that a business needs to be accessible at all times and 49.4% would rather use messaging than a phone call. So businesses simply cannot afford to ignore chatbots and not offer an automated branded experience to their customers. Chatbots aren’t just a marketing gimmick, when used correctly they can really help build rapport with the customer and take customer support to another level.
What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot is a computer program designed to automate simple tasks and interact with real people in the form of a conversation, based on their questions and comments. Think of it as a robot employee. There are chatbots that can only function based on simple program rules and is limited in terms of what functions they can perform. Then there are chatbots that are designed using artificial intelligence and machine learning. They can understand language and not just programmed commands and are therefore adept at performing versatile functions. Such a chatbot can be programmed to do almost anything, including answering customer questions, showing available products, providing news and updates, subscribing new customers to the company newsletter, sending personalized offers and content, etc. There are four basic types of chatbots such as Utility chatbots, Marketing chatbots, Communication chatbots and finally Entertainment chatbots.
What Makes Chatbots Such a Big Opportunity For Businesses?
Global mobile web browsing is on the rise and in this mobile-first world, people prefer to turn to Facebook Messenger and other chat-based interfaces to report customer service problems they face or reach out for information about products and resources. And companies that are slow to address these issues are quick to experience a backlash. According to Social Media Today, nearly 70% of consumers have reported customer service issues on social media and 60% expect a response within an hour. It is therefore hardly surprising that hundreds of chatbots are now deployed across various platforms on the web as a means to improve customer support (feedback capture, NPS and complaint management). Chatbots are real helpful for content distribution, drip campaigns and broadcasts.
The excitement surrounding chatbots seem justified when you take into account how it has improved the communication aspect for businesses. It has become easier for businesses to talk to individual consumers in real time, engage them in automated two-way conversations at a larger scale and all within a budget. Chatbots also provide businesses with a minefield of data to track and measure interactions with consumers, in order to better optimize customer experiences.
A chatbot can also be programmed to work as a 24-hour sales assistant, for lead generation through data capture and nurturing and as a conversion agent. Most customers prefer having some guidance when using a website and they might prefer asking a question to get an answer rather than navigating a menu to search for something. A chatbot can assist with sales by taking customer specifications into account to show them a carousel of product choices or help narrow products down by price, size etc. A chatbot can also provide a link to the customer to make purchasing that much easier. These small steps can turn a casual browser to a paying customer in just a few minutes.
So are you still wondering whether your business needs a chatbot or not?
The simple answer is if you have a budget for it, then you really should not have a second thought about deploying it. While there are some start-up costs involved, know that a single customer support chatbot alone has the functionality of dozens of customer support staff members. You can keep customer service representatives only to address complex queries but the rest of the customer service jobs can be taken care of by bots.
A chatbot can, for instance, greet a visitor as they enter your homepage, answer questions about products or price, give information to customers about store hours and provide location details and even record customer complaints that need to be followed up on. Chatbots are also significantly cheaper to design and build than full applications. Try your hand at building your own bot using Chatfuel, Manychat, Dexter, Botkit.ai and other tools
Chatbots are worth the investment because they have a huge payoff in increased sales and customer satisfaction. Businesses should not miss this chance to automate with chatbot solutions. After all they are better, faster and always at the service of your customers.