A chatbot is a program that can have a conversation with a person using rules and AI to simulate a human-like interaction with users. Put simply a chatbot is a program that can have a conversation with you using certain rules earlier defined by the programmer. Chatbots have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years, already they are changing the way brands engage with customers. The combination of 24/7 availability and near real-time response makes Chatbots a powerful support tool. These are just one of the many ways your business will benefit from chatbots.
Implementing a chatbot has many benefits, they can help your business align with what your employees and customers want to experience. I will talk about 5 of these benefits in this post.
#1. A Positive Brand Image
Chatbots are already causing a mass disruption across various industries from banking to e-commerce and much more. Customers on an e-commerce website can now can instant feedback or ask questions regarding any products they are confused about by having an interaction with a chatbot. This allows the customers experience your business in a completely new way.
Already a lot of major companies across various industries have implemented chatbots for various functions. Implementing a chatbot for your business would position your brand ahead of competitors who are yet to do so. This also signals to customers that the brand moves with the trends or is at least keen on exploring innovative solutions to meet their needs.
#2. Improved Customer Service
Chatbots can be programmed to give quick responses to the frequently asked questions from your customers, or they can alert a human service rep if the question becomes complicated or requires more complicated actions that humans better understand. This ability frees up time for human agents to provide support to customers who have more complex issues, while the bots tackle basic queries from customers. An example of this is Sephora’s chatbot, which allows customers to book a makeover, share store feedback, or contact customer service.
Chatbots are available 24hours a day, they don’t need to sleep or rest, this means your business can provide continuous support to customers even after work hours. This leads to more productivity and gives your business the ability to handle even more customer requests. The payoff is an increase in the overall satisfaction of your customers.
#3. More Customer Insights
Your brand can use chatbots as a source of customer data. Information which customers key into the chatbot during interaction can be analyzed and used to improve product and service offerings. The best chatbot systems can also use this information to improve it’s efficiency and accuracy through machine learning.
A chatbot can help your brand understand what problems customers usually experience while they are on your website or using your mobile app from the questions they ask. These insights can be used to make business decisions that eliminate such issues and improve the customer experience.
#4. Better Customer Engagement
A good chatbot will have the ability to keep your customers engaged, well-programmed bots can respond to customer messages and even apply humor very similar to what a real human would say. Some chatbot systems are already so advanced that it would be difficult for customers to tell if they are chatting with a bot or a real human.
According to this research by Bain & Company, customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20% to 40% more money with those companies than other customers. This means that when chatbots are deployed in addition to social media to engage customers, spending is bound to increase which to even more revenue.
#5. Reduced Costs
According to this research by McKinsey & Company, 29% of customer service positions and 36% of sales rep positions in the US alone could be automated with chatbots and other techs. This means businesses get to save billions in annual salaries. The 2016 Business Intelligence Chatbot Explainer research estimates this savings to a tune of over $30 billion annually.
Chatbots can help your businesses significantly reduce labor costs. This doesn’t mean you’re going be replacing your customer service reps with bots anytime soon, it just means you might not need as many employees providing support to customers if you invest in a good Chatbot system. Check out this demo Customer Support Bot for E-commerce created by Maruti Techlabs.
While your business will benefit from chatbots, it is important to note that they cannot replace humans. Customer service and experience expert, Shep Hyken puts it this way –
A good chatbot technology makes recognizing the difference between a human and bot (computer) almost, if not completely, indistinguishable. Will it ever replace human interactions? I don’t think so, at least not completely. There always has to be a “fall back” plan that defaults to human interaction.
Chatbots cannot completely replace humans in customer service because the absence of emotion in the interactions would diminish the experience. No one wants to be treated like a task or another request to be handled, besides there also other things only a human would understand. Chatbots are a great way to support your service reps and boost the overall productivity of the team.
In today’s world where customers want their needs met instantly, chatbots are a handy tool for providing customer support on basic issues in a quick and interactive way. Businesses stand to benefit from chatbots in a way that enhances productivity & customer satisfaction while reducing costs when implemented correctly.
There are nearly limitless possibilities for what businesses can do with chatbots. Don’t miss out on using this technology to better engage, assist or cross-sell to your customers.