Customer service is an essential element in any business. And, the more you engage your customers, the more they will feel valued and understood. In providing them this engaging experience, you also on the other hand will get the data and information that you need to improve your products and develop new ones, to know what sparks the interest of your customers and other customer demographics to help you steer your business to the direction you visualize it will take.
In this time of digital transformation, the eCommerce industry also modernized the customer service processes and activities particularly communication with customers. Adopting a digital-first strategy, most eCommerce businesses are integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their processes. Thus, the rise of the Chatbots.
What is a Chatbot?
You don’t need a complex etymology of the word chatbot to understand what it means. Break down the word into two and you’ll get chat and bot that means, quite roughly, a chatting robot. It simulates human conversation through voice, chat message or even both. You might even have been talking to a chatbot without knowing it.
Think of Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft Cortana and other chatbots. A chatbot acts like a virtual assistant that can answer your queries, provide information and get you some leads to address your demands. Developers have consistently upgraded this conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI)I application. And as it is powered by natural language processing (NLP), it can be trained to answer questions from users.
Other chatbots go with sentiment analysis capabilities – has the ability to discern whether a certain question that was asked carries a positive or negative tone. Based on the sentiment that was determined, the chatbot can then respond appropriately.
Benefits of using chatbots in business
Knowing how the chatbots work, you may have extracted some ideas or maybe more, on how you can maximize the use of chatbots to scale your business. The benefits are not confined to you as the company. Your customers can also benefit from using chatbots.
We will present below some of the benefits of using chatbots to your business.
Here are some of the benefits of using chatbots, to the customers that use them:
1. Available 24/7.
Chatbots don’t recognize timezones, wherever you are and whenever you need them, they heed your call.
2. Immediate return of answers
Your questions can be answered in just a matter of seconds, no need to wait for an agent who will sometimes only tell you “I’ll get back to you on that.”
3. Unlimited patience
As a customer trying to resolve an issue, your questions can seem endless. You or the customer representative can get impatient and may end up putting down the phone with an unresolved concern. Chatbots however can go on until you say okay.
4. Always in a good mood
You may have encountered customer reps who seem to have woken up at the wrong side of the bed and turn you away with a demeaning attitude when you get all chatty and full of questions. Chatbots however are not capable of doing that. They are sometimes programmed to have a good sense of humor or funny expressions making your conversations more human-like.
5. Sometimes programmed to go the extra mile
Aside from the usual responding to questions, other chatbots can go the extra mile like arranging meetings or provide a more complex search functionality.
The chatbots are of great help to companies as well. Here are some of the benefits that companies can gain out of using a chatbot in business:
1. Excellent Customer Service
Chatbots will allow you, as the company, to be always there for your customers whenever they need you.
2. Improve Customer Satisfaction
With all the benefits to your customers as listed previously, you will be assured somehow, that your customers will be satisfied with the service being provided to them.
3. Save you on cost
The cost of building a chatbot can go upwards to even $10K, depending on the capabilities and functionalities that you want your chatbot to have. But you wouldn’t have to pay your chatbot the benefits you pay your employees. They also don’t get sick or need medical attention that you have to cover. In the long run, building a chatbot can afford you greater savings.
4. Improve customer engagement
Your chatbots provide another avenue for you to reach your customers, whenever and wherever they are. You will also be able to reach new customers especially if you take advantage of its usability in many different applications. Also, it has the ability to handle multiple customers all at the same time.
5. Minimize errors
Human error is what sometimes breaks your customer service. Customer reps may forget details, mix-up information, transpose numbers and other types of mistakes. This is not so with chatbots since they have already been programmed with the correct answers to the questions.
6. Provide a channel to upsell and market
Because of its programmability, you can “train” your chatbots to become marketing agents too. Say for example, if your customer asks about a certain shirt that you are selling and ends up adding that to their cart, your chatbot then offers a pair of pants that can perfectly match the shirt. You will have a greater chance of increasing your sales.
7. Have a deeper understanding of your customers’ needs
Your chatbot can provide you with a detailed record of your customers’ feedback and other concerns that you can take action on. In this way, you can improve your products and your services. You can have a clearer picture of your customer demographics and thus, can get to know the demands of your customers very well and how to address them.
Maximize the potential of your chatbot
A chatbot is not an off-the-shelf solution that you can just acquire and immediately incorporate on your website and other sales channel. It’s more complicated than that since your chatbot should be programmed and configured to match your unique business needs. You have to ascertain that all your bases are covered – industry, products, target market, area of operations and so on.
It is not a guarantee that once you use a chatbot in your business, you can already scale and grow. It still depends on how you use and programmed it. Did you program it to do upselling or cross selling? Or, if your chatbot returns with a record of your customers’ feedback and concerns, what do you do with it?
If you maximize the potential of your chatbot, only then can it help you grow your business. They just provide a channel, another avenue or sales platform but it is still your call on how you can use it to your advantage. Just, give it a try.