Many businesses are turning to digital tools to modernize their customer service and other internal processes. As social media and instant messaging platforms are getting more users by the day, chatbots have become a norm, even for small businesses. It is expected that by 2021, more than 80 percent of businesses will implement chatbot usage in their processes.
Chatbots are not new, especially for techie customers who can send their requests and complaints via social media. These bots have been around for some time, but their functionalities have changed over the years. Small business owners who want to streamline their marketing and customer service tasks can significantly benefit from implementing chatbots.
What Are Chatbots?
Chatbots are AI-powered technologies that help businesses engage with customers at any time of day. This can help improve their experience with your brand. They offer instant responses (i.e., for frequently asked questions), so your team members would not have to answer the easy ones one by one. These typically operate with template replies. Therefore, it boosts customer satisfaction, especially for customers needing timely responses.
Chatbots are based on machine learning. They gather conversational codes that allow them to copy human responses. They can react to certain keywords to address the concern of the client. They also comprehend texts and not just commands. More advanced chatbots are intelligent and can even answer complicated questions.
Chatbots are useful for customers because there is a lesser wait time. With a simple message, they can receive replies to complicated queries in an instant. Another main advantage of chatbots is that customers can book orders without having to wait for a customer service representative to go online. If you are a customer, you can buy gifts produced locally or book a service at any time of day. This is convenient for online shops with no physical stores.
Advantages of Chatbots
Timely responses brought by chatbots can increase customer satisfaction. However, these are not the only benefits of chatbots. Some bots offer advanced features that can help smaller businesses have a wider customer reach.
1. Improves customer engagement
It is crucial for businesses, especially the smaller ones, to keep customers engaged. Brands that post frequent updates on social media can increase their sales over time. It also stirs brand loyalty. While social media can help boost content on platforms, you can use chatbots to improve customer engagement by sending proactive messages. Do it with a bit of humor to keep your audience engaged.
2. Monitors consumer insights
Chatbots can collect feedback through simple questions. Reports can help company leaders assess their marketing and communication strategies. Chatbots also help brands make improvements in their products and services. These bots can also track customer purchasing patterns and behavior by monitoring data. It allows companies to decide which products to market more and which ones to redevelop.
3. Widens customer reach
Whether your company is building a reputation locally or has an international following, chatbots can help widen your reach. They can respond to customer concerns in different languages and time zones. This allows businesses to open or extend operations in different markets.
4. Improves brand credibility
Brands that have chatbots integrated into their messaging platforms have better credibility. This is because these new customer service models can increase brand face value. Bots are approachable and accommodating, unlike having to wait for hours on the phone line waiting for an agent to answer a simple question.
5. Increases employee productivity
Businesses with live agent support might struggle to manage too many people doing a single task. This could result in bigger infrastructure and training costs.
Chatbots help the team to become more productive because critical processes are already automated. If a question is too simple, there is no need for them to respond to it personally. Staff members will only need to attend to more complex inquiries. This gives the employees more time and effort for more important tasks.
6. Reduces human error
Human error cannot be avoided. Yet, some mistakes can be costly, like collecting customer information or product rates. Chatbots can reduce human error and avoid complications. Since these are powered by AI, accuracy is a guarantee.
Disadvantages of Chatbots
While chatbots deliver many advantages, some parts of the bot need to be fine-tuned for the best experience. Of course, bots cannot match the human mind. They learn through AI, but they are not as flexible as a human being communicating with another human.
These also require further development. Whenever your company implements changes, these have to be learned by the bot so that they can communicate these to your audience. Chatbots also have limited intelligence as they are fed information to function better.
Nothing can match a human customer service agent, but a chatbot can get you ahead of your competition. It is convenient, cost-effective, and can encourage productivity among your staff members. It offers opportunities for growth and expansion. By utilizing these tools, your company can thrive even in an unlikely situation.