Chatbots were “born” when famous mathematician, Alan Turing, suggested that one day we’d be able to converse with a machine as if it were human. Fast forward 50+ years, through innovations like Eliza, Parry, Jabberwacky, Dr. Sbaitso, Alice, Smaterchild, IBM’s Watson, Siri, Google Now, Alexa, Cortana, Bots for Messenger, and Microsoft’s Tay, and we’ve arrived at the chatbot, where tomorrow’s cutting-edge tech begins. Read on to learn more about chatbots for business, why they’re important, and how they’ll heighten your level of service.
If you’ve seen the little pop up chatbot boxes that appear in the corner of websites, and you’ve had a conversation using one of them, chances are you’ve already experienced the online chatbot.
A chatbot simulates the kind of conversation one might have with a customer service representative via a chat interface on a website.
Basically, it’s a machine that functions like a human so that users who need help or have a question can get the answers they need without having to interact with a human. For businesses, the chatbot offers a way to reduce labor costs while maximizing service.
Chatbots use AI and machine learning to simulate conversations.
All the time humans interact with them, they’re gathering conversational cadences which they then use to simulate life-like conversations that involve reacting to written or spoken requests to deliver information.
What makes chatbots remarkable is the fact that they’re understanding and reacting to language not just commands. So, the more users interact with them, the more intelligent they get.
This is great news for business because every time a potential customer interacts with a chatbot, the chatbot is learning to do more, and thus increasing its value.
But, that’s only one reason why the chatbot is valuable.
Chatbot tech may have just arrived on the scene, but chatbots for customer service are the future for any organization that wants to take their brand to the next level. Here’s why:
Data shows that consumers now prefer to interact with brands through messaging platforms.1
So, online chatbots, which are essentially platforms for messaging back and forth, are the perfect way to respond to consumer preferences.
Additionally, most consumers already have the apps they use regularly downloaded on their phone. They don’t want to download more apps just to interact with brands. It’s easier and more preferable to interact with brands using chat mechanisms on their websites.
Chatbots make it possible for companies to provide 24/7 support without having to pay online customer service reps around the clock. So, not surprisingly, most companies find a lot of value in a chatbot service.
But, with 83% of online shoppers requiring support while they shop2, the constant availability of the human-like chatbot offers immense value for e-commerce companies in particular.
Consumers like to ask a lot of questions before they purchase. This can be incredibly time consuming for your customer service reps, sales reps, and phone support. Chatbots for customer service can answer the most commonly asked questions, point consumers in the right direction while they navigate your website, and more. In essence, the customer service chatbot frees your team up to focus on more complex cases and high-reward activities.
The majority of companies apply what is called “passive interaction” on their website. They don’t initiate conversations with every visitor that drops by. Instead, they engage only when prompted by the customer—either because the customer asks a question or acts in a way that necessitates attention.
However, the tech savviness of younger consumers has led businesses to fear that their passive interaction approach may result in a drop in customer engagement, and eventually sales.
The customer service chatbot offers a solution for businesses.
Using chatbots, brands can initiate conversation with every visitor, randomly, and they can do so one question at a time.
Ideally, this leads to high customer engagement levels, better lead nurturing, and more sales.
Furthermore, because chatbots are powered by AI, they can predict what visitors will ask or do, and based upon these predictions, they can gently encourage them down the most desirable path.
So, the more the chatbot engages with visitors, the more your business gains.
Because chatbots talk to your visitors like a human, companies can use them to add another dimension to their brand.
Give your chatbot a personality.
Teach it to respond in ways that your customers would find funny or amusing. Show it how to speak like a member of your audience.
Let it become the charismatic brand ambassador you’ve always wanted—let your chatbot become the third-dimension of your brand—the human-like personality that’s always available and fun to talk to on your website when you’re not around.
Companies can put their chatbots to work for them as market researchers.
Chatbots can speak directly to site visitors or ask them to take a survey. For example, they could ask visitors why they’re leaving the page, why they’re not making a purchase on a particular visit, and if they’ll take a short survey.
The data that’s gained can birth better marketing decisions, better ways to launch products and services, and better ways to relaunch failed products or services.
Chatbots aren’t ubiquitous yet. So, sites that have them have the advantage. Putting a chatbot on your site now is a great way to increase customer engagement. And, because chatbots catapult the level of service you’re able to offer (at an affordable cost), they’ll increase your brand loyalty too. Remember, so many consumers make choices about which brands they buy from based on the customer experience. So, get ahead of the curve. Get a chatbot.
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