Why use Chatbots?
Chatbots are a relatively new system that can help to manage your brand over time and help foster consumer loyalty. Many businesses have adopted the use of chat bot systems for their basic customer service and management inquiries. Companies like Apple (Siri), Amazon (Alexa) and Google (Google Assistant) all use forms of AI / Chatbot technology everyday.
The chatbot – or chat robot – revolution, if you will, does not arrive without potential pitfalls. Poor technology or response errors if left unchecked could lead to unintended alienation of customers. But there’s nothing more annoying to many customers than the dreaded: Your call is important to us. Please hold… message. And that is where Chatbots can corner and vastly upgrade the customer experience.
How Chatbots Work
The basic idea behind a chat bot is a computer program with a series of pre programmed common responses through chat interface that will open up on a website. Think of your FAQ page but automated! As users type in various prompts the chatbot can understand what’s spoken in the text, interpret the meaning of the request and then send a response based from scripted results. Now that’s AI in action!
A number of today’s smart phone applications and websites all integrate chatbot technology into their customer service responses. In many cases the chat bot can be used to handle most frequently asked responses or customer initiatives. It can also be used to forward customers through to the department where their customer service inquiry can be heard.
Benefits of Introducing Chatbots into your business:
They can handle specialized customer service tasks:
Chatbots can handle tasks quickly and extremely efficiently. Such tasks could include automating inventory re-ordering (no more out of stock). Alerting management when a series of orders need to be processed. Providing a concierge type of service to valued hotel guests.
It offers better response for mobile:
Chat bot technology can be integrated into applications as one of the best solutions for customer service inquiries. When customers don’t have a full PC keyboard in front of them or a large interface for speaking to a customer service representative, having a small chat window can be super helpful. For small inquiries inside of an app, responses can also be heavily streamlined.
Improving responses & response times:
Chatbots can free up your customer service department so that you can insure fast response times. With a scripted chatbot you could make sure that there is always a representative available and ready to respond to your customers instantaneously. If there is a high demand from customers you may force them to wait minutes for any response.
Chatbots can be available as attentive staff members that will improve the presence of your brand. A chatbot could be pre programmed to send an alert to a customer when they have been searching around for an item on your page or when they leave products in their abandoned shopping cart. This automatic response can help to make sure you can improve conversions and prevent customers from leaving your website without explanation.
Chatbots are a secret to scaling:
If you run a small business, a chatbot could be the secret to scaling your business over time. With the assistance of a chat bot in place for your website, you can work at scaling up your business without having to hire new employees. The low investment of developing a chatbot could be the help you need to handle customer service moving forward.
Common Chatbot Concerns
An Impersonal approach?
Granted, the likes of Chat Bots and AI in general are not super personal. They are not the same as getting on the phone with a customer service rep. A chat bot will never laugh with you about the score from last nights game (yet anyway…). But their job is to help shorten your to-do list and free up some of those day-to-day time drain.
I am a Robot!
As with any form of AI, Chat Bots need to be programmed with responses. But that’s also the beauty of the interface. If you enter “canned” or robot like responses then yes, your chat bot will likely suck. However, taking the time to add a little humour or even personal flair into the responses you might surprise you at how successful they can be. Maybe consider giving your chat bot a mascot-like name – have fun with it!
An effective means to an end
Sure there’s some out there totally opposed to using any form of AI with their customers. We get it! But we’ll also wager that 99% gets at least 3-4 identical questions every single day, multiple times per day on the same types of orders. What about email? Where’s my Order? Do you have product ABC in stock? When is your XYZ store open until today? Email is slow and very quickly becomes a manpower time-drain. Not so with a chat bot. Properly programmed, they are streamlined, efficient and more effective at many repetitive tasks.
Do you fear change in business or maybe you think these chat bots will never catch on? Well, that’s what Blockbuster thought about Netflix. You don’t want to be blockbuster in this scenario. Truth be told, if you shop online or use social media, odds are extremely high that you have already encountered chat bot technology.
Keep in mind that chat bot tech is quickly becoming the new standard for business operations. We’ll be running some more articles on chatbots in the coming months, including rating some of the most popular ones out there. The technology has come a long way since robby the robot days. Keep some of these points in mind if you are considering using a chat bot for your business.
We hope this post has provided some background on chat bot technology. If you found it helpful, that’s awesome, why not consider sharing it along to someone you know?
Thanks for reading!