A few years ago, artificially intelligent chatbots seemed like nothing more than a futuristic notion. In 2018, however, more and more businesses are adopting this technology to support and scale customer communication, saving money and time in the process.
However, the ability to save on labor costs is just one reason why chatbots are so often used by modern businesses. Chatbots can also engage customers in highly personal ways, while also boosting lead generation.
Chatbots engage customers through social platforms
Most of us now use messaging apps to talk to friends, family, and colleagues. In fact, according to Global Web Index statistics, more than 75% of Internet users communicate via one or more messenger platforms a day. Therefore, the fact that these bots can be used in platforms like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and SMS gives businesses the potential to reach a much wider audience.
Chatbots work 24/7
Gone are the days of waiting in a queue for a telephone operative; bots are now replacing the roles of customer service agents and online operatives. Now customers can engage with businesses 24 hours a day without waiting around. This means your company reaps the benefits of being open 24 hours a day without the labor costs or overheads.
Unlike human workers, chatbots don’t get tired, sick, or make mistakes. They will continue to operate every day of the year without taking a break, and will always obey your command. Not only does using a chatbot improve customer satisfaction when a query gets resolved, but it also helps you rank higher in your sector.
Of course, this doesn’t mean chatbots should replace human workers – not yet, anyway! However, the integration of humans and technology can help businesses communicate with customers and respond to queries faster than ever before.
Chatbots are more efficient than human workers
For all the skills and empathy we bring to various sectors, humans are restricted by the number of things we can do at the same time. A study suggests that humans can only concentrate on 3–4 things at the same time without making errors. In business, errors cost money and sometimes even customers. Chatbots, on the other hand, can have conversations with thousands of different people (in various languages) at the same time without making mistakes.
How do chatbots convert leads to customers?
Chatbots convert leads by creating a much more positive customer experience, with no wait times or unresolved queries. No matter the time of day, customers can engage with a chatbot online and get the answers they need.
Say you own a restaurant. A lead that you sent a promotional email to is thinking about coming for a breakfast meeting. The only problem is, it’s 11:30 pm and your restaurant is closed. Your website gives the option to book online, but this particular patron has questions. They want to know if you can cater to the dietary requirements of their boss, and whether or not you have Wi-Fi so they can share documents and pull up emails in their meeting.
In this instance, the customer is unlikely to take a risk if they can’t find the information they need on your website. So, they book with your competitor across the street instead – a restaurant they know has Wi-Fi and gluten-free menu options.
Here, you have lost a lead that would have been easy to convert if you had a chatbot on your website. The customer could have asked your bot for the answers to their questions, then booked their breakfast meeting (and possibly their next five breakfast meetings) at your restaurant.
Chatbots improve the customer experience
While humans respond to others based on their mood and emotions, chatbots are bound by programming rules.
Automation also has a huge part to play. We cannot ignore that repetitive work makes human workers stressed and miserable. No matter how professional an employee is, no one is exempt from losing their temper of having a “bad day at the office.” Except – of course – the chatbot.
A bot will always treat customers in the most polite and professional manner because they are programmed to do so. This is good news for humans, as it frees us up to focus on more skills-based tasks or deal with more complex customer complaints. For simple matters such as answering questions, a chatbot can work alongside your business to increase your conversions and improve communication with your customers.
How AI is changing business
Chatbots are just the beginning. Artificial intelligence (in all its forms) is changing the way we do business. Retailers have been some of the most active adopters of AI, using a concept called deep learning. San Francisco-based Stitch Fix, for example, provides personalized clothing recommendations based on shopper preferences. Online supermarket Jet.com has also developed algorithms that deliver the best pricing for a basket of products in a shopper’s cart. Olay has an app that helps people find the right skin care products.
AI is even changing sports, helping coaches plan their next strategy and providing insights that improve player performance. Even more impressively, the potential for AI in healthcare is awe-inspiring. Within years, artificial intelligence promises to predict disease in time to prevent it, speed drug development, and help doctors diagnose and treat cancer.
How to use chatbots in your business
If you want to bring a chatbot to your website, app, or landing page, you either need to hire a software developer to create a bot that’s fully compliant with your needs, or use a chatbot builder platform. Some popular platforms for building chatbots include:
- Beep Boop
Online chatbots save time and effort by automating customer support. As a result, technology experts forecast that by 2020, over 85% of customer interactions will be handled by chatbots instead of humans.
However, the opportunities provided by chatbot systems go far beyond responding to customer inquiries. AI is also used for other business tasks, such as mining user data, organizing meetings, and reducing overhead costs. The chatbot market is growing exponentially, and with good reason.
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