Chatbots – what are they and how can your business use them?

Nov 15, 2018

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Chatbots – what are they and how can your business use them? 

You may have experienced Chatbots as you browse the net, many websites now have them – they have had a wide adoption globally in quite a short space of time, with data from Google Trends showing that over the last five years search volume around “chatbots” grew 19x as organisations began to understand their value in business. 

They provide businesses with a new, innovative and cost-effective way to interact and communicate with people in this modern busy world. 

What are Chatbots?

Chatbots are programs built to make an initial contact then automatically engage with received messages. They can be programmed differently according to your business needs – they can either respond the same way each time, respond differently to messages containing certain keywords or some can even use machine learning to adapt their responses to fit the situation. 

A chatbot is powered by AI and stimulates a real-time interaction with users. It acts like a real person while having a conversation so that the user feels like they are being serviced immediately. 

Do they work in business?

Chatbots come in all forms - there are some fun and slightly off the wall chatbots that talk with real people and learns as they go allowing a free flow of conversation. But for a more professional approach you can use business bots.   

Data recently released from Facebook highlighted the value of bots for business:

*  2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses monthly

*  56% of people would rather message than call customer service

*  53% of people are more likely to shop with businesses they can message 

What are the benefits of Chatbots? 

Increased Engagement : Chatbots provide only relevant information in small chunks at a time to the user based on information given – therefore not boring customers with irrelevant and unnecessary information. This should enhance the user experience and create more engagement which drives more interaction, keeps your customer on your platform longer and maintain the conversation. 

Good customer service : Chatbots can provide real-time assistance as though the customer was in your store or on your premises - they offer interactive communication where they can ask questions to understand the real problem with no delay or waiting at the end of a phone line. Chatbots can be programmed to give automatic answers to repetitive questions immediately but then send the request to a real person when a more complicated action is needed. And with the nature of the service, the chatbots are available 24/7. 

Saves cost : By automating conversations that would otherwise require a member of your staff to answer, your business can save time and money. Your teams can spend less time answering simple and similar inbound questions, and re-focus on proactively finding relevant conversations to join where they can add more value with social listening tools. 

An effective approach to global markets : If you want your business to run and trade globally, chatbots can solve your customer service problems in multiple languages and 24/7, 365 days a year. 

Lead generation : In their initial interaction, Chatbots use direct messages to gather the information necessary that is needed to provide effective support. This data can be gathered to gain a good insight into your users and used for future follow up. 

Gain valuable insight : With the information chatbots collect through simple questions, you can make improvements to your services/products and even optimise your website by adjusting low conversion pages. As a business you can use Chatbots to track and understand buying patterns and consumer behaviour by monitoring user data. 

How can Chatbots be used in Business? 

The obvious answer to this based on the benefits above is for Customer Service. Chatbots can quickly provide answers and address customer complaints or track the status of an order. 

But there are many other business uses. 

You can make product suggestions – many of your users might know they need or want to buy something from your site but do not have a particular item in mind or need some help selecting the most suitable one. You can use chatbots to offer product suggestions based on what they want, their requirements or the use.

You can add weather Chatbots to your site – the consumer can use these to ask about the current conditions in your area and find out whether they will need an umbrella when they visit. Or if you are a travel company, the chatbot can advise on what to pack for certain destinations. 

Financial Service providers are now introducing Chatbots to trade, get notifications about stock market trends, track personal finances, or even get help finding a mortgage. 

The possibilities are nearly limitless for what can be done with chatbots. Don’t miss out on this huge opportunity to help, engage, or sell to your customers.

Category: social media tips

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