What’s an affordable way to generate new leads, improve customer satisfaction, and boost employee productivity? If you answered, “chatbots,” you get a gold star. You’re absolutely right. Chatbots have become the business answer to marketing, troubleshooting, and support all in one. And you can use chatbots to extend the reach of your sales and customer support teams.
In this guide, we’ll explore what chatbots are, why you need this technology, and how you can implement it into your organization.
What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot is a software application that mimics human conversation. With a chatbot, you can engage with your current or potential customers whenever they initiate a chat, whether it’s at 3 am in the morning, over the weekend, or on a holiday. Even when your team isn’t actually available, your chatbot is, and is always ready to interact with your customers whenever the need arises.
Chatbots these days are a lot more intelligent than the standard input/ output that you may expect from a basic computer program. To imitate human conversation, chatbot software uses artificial intelligence (AI), specifically natural language processing. This way, the software can understand humans and then respond in a way that sounds natural and human.
But don’t worry. Chatbots, while intelligent, are not part of the robot revolution that may one day take over the earth. But they have revolutionized the way that we do business, especially when it comes to customer service and support.
All chatbots are conversational, but the depth of the conversation depends on the type of chatbot. There are two basic types of chatbots: Scripted and smart.
Scripted chatbots can offer pre-scripted replies to specific questions. In this model, the user is given a multiple choice of questions to ask. The chatbot then responds with a pre-formulated response. This type of chatbot never deviates from the script, and if the user needs more, the chatbot can then transfer the communication to a live, human agent.
Scripted chatbots can use natural language processing to identify specific keywords from the user’s message. The chatbot can then provide a list of possible answers based on this limited usage of NLP.
As the name implies, smart chatbots are capable of intelligently understanding conversation and responding in a like manner. These chatbots can also learn from each interaction and get smarter over time.
And that actually sums up the future of chatbots as a whole. While chatbots can effectively communicate with humans now, we’re still in the beginning stages of what they will be capable of doing in the future.
Organizations are now implementing this technology at a record rate. Since 2019, chatbot usage has skyrocketed by 92%. And consumers actually like interacting with chatbots.Since 2019, chatbot usage has skyrocketed by 92%. And research shows that consumers actually like interacting with chatbots. Click To Tweet
Research shows that 87% of consumers reported having a neutral or positive experience with a chatbot. Also note that 68% of consumers prefer using chatbots because this software can offer quick answers on demand.
What are the Benefits of Using Chatbots?
There are a lot of great benefits to using chatbots in an organization. Perhaps the most ironic benefit is that a chatbot can humanize your brand with your customers. Let’s look at how your business and your customers will benefit from the introduction of chatbots.
How Chatbots Benefit Your Business
Reduce the Demand on Your Human Teams
You can increase productivity with a chatbot. Even if you offer live chat support, using a chatbot as a front-line communicator can ease the burden for your live agents. Instead of answering the same basic questions over and over again, they’re freed up to tackle more complex user queries.
Chatbots work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and take no vacations or off days. Chatbot software usually starts at $50 a month and can go up from there, depending on the size and needs of your business. But, in general, chatbot software costs a lot less than hiring human resources to accomplish the same task. Not only does it work around the clock, but chatbot software can also chat with more than one person at a time. A single human agent may be able to juggle multiple conversations, but usually not gracefully and definitely not simultaneously. With a chatbot, communication is instant and effortless.
When a prospective customer lands on your website, you want them to see your product as the solution to their needs. But sometimes, prospects may not understand how your product works or how it will benefit them. This is where a chatbot comes in. In addition to acting as a support solution, a chatbot can also be a 24/7 sales personality. It can proactively reach out to your website visitors and offer a more customized shopping experience.
Chatbots keep a record of interactions with your customers. This means that you have access to a wealth of data about your customers, including what they’re asking about, which queries are most popular, and when (during the day or during their lifecycle) they’re most likely to reach out with questions. This information can help you better customize the user experience for your customers. If you anticipate what your customers will ask, you can program your chatbots to better serve your customers.
Chatbots aren’t human so they’re not likely to make careless mistakes. Unlike humans, chatbots don’t get tired or stressed out, so they’re incapable of making careless mistakes. This is not to suggest that chatbot technology is infallible. However, chatbots are systematic and are programmed to respond accurately and consistently to a customer’s query.
Speak Different Languages
If you serve a global audience, English may not be their preferred method of communication. Finding an agent who is bilingual can be difficult and costly. However, chatbots can be programmed to communicate in different languages.
The presence of chatbots has been proven to increase customer engagement on your website. Customers are more likely to activate a chatbot than they are to initiate a call or an email for support. When they encounter a problem or have a question, customers want answers now. Chatbots can provide that real-time interaction that customers crave while also pointing them to the right answers for their needs.
How Chatbots Benefit Your Customers
But that’s just one side of the equation. Let’s also look at how chatbots can produce happy customers.
Provide 24/7 Access
if your business isn’t “open” 24 hours a day, you may inconvenience some of your customers. People are online at all times of the day or night, and they don’t want to wait until traditional business hours to get answers to their queries. By having a chatbot available at the click of a button, you can solve your customer’s problems on the spot without making them wait until human support clocks in.
Offer Immediate Responses
A chatbot can answer questions at the speed of light. Your customer doesn’t have to wait around for a human to process the query and provide a thoughtful answer.
Even the best agents will lose their patience from time to time, but a chatbot can never get annoyed by a customer. Chatbots are always able to deliver a consistent level of professionalism and brand excellence even if the customer is unreasonable, disrespectful, or annoying.
Personalize the Interaction
Chatbots don’t forget. And that’s great because chatbots can be programmed to ask for key information about the customer and then use that information to create a more personalized experience for them. For example, the chatbot can use the customer’s information to offer specific products or make relevant suggestions. Chatbots may even be able to look up the customer’s history to decide on the best course of action. Chatbots can also create detailed records for each interaction, which can then be referenced in future interactions with the customer.
4 Ways to Implement Chatbots in Your Organization
Let’s switch gears and discuss actual ideas on how you can use a chatbot to grow your business or strengthen your relationships with your customers.
1. Provide a Shortcut to an Answer
You may have an extensive knowledge base or FAQ on your site, but that may be overwhelming to a user who just wants a quick answer to their question. A chatbot can either guide the user to the exact answer or share it in the chat message.
2. Initiate Support Requests
Before escalating a support request to a live agent, a chatbot may be able to help a customer solve their problem. If it works, your customer will be thrilled and you’ll free up your human team. But, if necessary, the chatbot can also connect the customer to the right department or agent which can speed up the resolution process for your customer.
3. Make Recommendations
A chatbot can learn a lot about a person through monitoring their behavior (such as the pages they’ve visited) and asking clarifying questions. The chatbot can analyze the data to then make personalized product recommendations.
4. Close the sale
Chatbots can be programmed to offer help for visitors who are lingering on a product page. Lingering likely indicates that the browser is debating on whether or not to purchase an item. So, you can strategically program your chatbot with an inviting question like, “Would you like to see a demo of this product in action?” This allows you to engage a customer when they’re in the middle of the consideration stage.
Chatbots allow an organization to provide immediate service and support to their customers. In many ways, a chatbot can function as a live, human agent. Use this technology to personalize your customer interactions and grow your business.
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