Advancements in artificial intelligence have exploded in the last decade, and have created some truly awe-inspiring technologies. While humanity hasn’t yet succeeded in making Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) or Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI), their forerunners do exist in many forms and can be used to aid your business and manage relationships between your business and your customers.
Early chatbots were clunky, frequently gave strange and cryptic responses, and weren’t very useful. My, how the times have changed. Today’s chatbots are so sophisticated and humanized. Many users don’t even understand they’re not chatting to a live person. If you haven’t implemented chatbot solutions on your website yet, I fear you’re falling behind the curve.
Chatbots can help your business in a variety of ways, as we’ll soon see, though I would argue their primary benefit is automation. Instead of personally needing to (or hiring staff to) constantly field tedious and repetitive customer inquiries, a chatbot solution can assist website visitors.
Let’s take a closer look at how chatbots can benefit your business.
Uniform Customer Service
Poor customer service is a significant reason consumers choose to not make a purchase or abandon online shopping carts. Humans are curious by nature, and it’s only natural to expect an influx of questions when selling products and services to hundreds and thousands of people. Unfortunately, sometimes customers receive conflicting responses as they bounce around among varying customer service departments.
According to Forbes, as many as seventy-six percent of customers get different answers when asking the exact same question to different support agents. This massive problem could stem from a lot of different sources, such as staff not being fully trained, confusion and poor communication between departments, and plain ol’ human error. Chatbots, on the other hand, will unify customer support and respond consistently.
Constant and Unyielding Support
Another great benefit of chatbots is that they can offer support 24/7/365. Computers, and by extension chatbots, don’t get tired, never ask for time off during the holidays, request time off for sick days, or take breaks. They’re available 99.999% of the time (barring technical difficulties), and can even answer customer inquiries in the dead of night.
Plus, chatbots can hold multiple conversations simultaneously without making mistakes as common as human error. Just one chatbot can virtually fulfill the role of an entire customer service department – to an extent. I’m not claiming chatbots are the end-all-be-all customer service solution; for basic repetitive tasks, however, a single chatbot can offer better service than a traditionally staffed customer service roles.
Increased Engagement and Lower Bounce Rates
Chatbots can also improve SEO, albeit in a roundabout way, by increasing engagement. You see, chatbot systems are almost always pop-up chat windows hosted on the bottom (usually bottom-right) of a web page. When a user starts chatting with a bot, they are still technically parked on your web page, which increases time spent on page.
In turn, this can have some nominal effect on decreasing bounce rate, and thus improve SEO endeavors. However, be aware that the true value chatbots provide in this context is increased engagement. Not only is there back and forth conversing between the chatbot and the user, the user’s questions are being answered and needs being met.
Who doesn’t like saving money? While it is true that chatbots are not a free service, they can save significant amounts of money – both in the short term and in the long term. Over the past decade, technology has been disrupting traditional employment opportunities by replacing jobs previously performed by humans with robots and AI, not unlike machinery during the industrial revolution. Chatbots cut down on staffing costs by reducing or completely eliminating the need to hire human beings.
In addition to helping your business save money, chatbots can also help you save time, especially if you run a small business. Small business owners typically have a million and one things to do at any given time, and need to make every waking minute count. Fielding mundane questions or engaging with customers by answering tedious inquiries probably isn’t the best use of a leader’s time. Chatbots offload trivial inquiries so you can focus on running your business.
Do you remember the old days of calling into a customer service department, waiting for hours on end while listening to bad music (and maybe putting your land line on speakerphone) as you slowly trudged through the support queue? Sadly, I have even had similar experiences within the last few years. If you’re like me, just thinking about this archaic experience makes you hot under the collar.
Customers absolutely detest waiting in phone queues, and angry customers are not primed to have a positive experience with your business. Fortunately, chatbots solve this problem by providing answers instantaneously. Modern customers are used to getting answers at a moments notice thanks to extremely fast web pages when browsing the Internet, and they demand the same speed when asking a simple question about a product or service.
Customer Insight and Pain Points
Chatbots also have the ability to collect data from your customers. As a small business owner, it simply isn’t feasible to interview every customer and lead who interacts with your business. Excepting online review portals like Yelp!, it can feel frustrating and challenging trying to uncover your customers’ pain points. But chatbots record detailed information to help spot trends among customer complaints.
If you don’t know how to build, maintain, grow, and update your digital presence, you’re crippling your businesses future growth. Furthermore, if you already have a website and don’t know how to implement a chatbot solution, you’re failing to fully provide for your customers. Instead of lagging behind the technology curve, reach out for the help of a qualified professional to take full advantage of digital marketing.