06 June 2019

Why you should care about chatbots

Chatbots. AI. Conversational marketing. Machine learning. Neural networks. If you're keeping an eye on the latest marketing or sales evolutions, you'll have noticed these words pop up increasingly often. Curious about what chatbots are, or what AI means for your business?

First things first: what exactly is a chatbot? If you're thinking of those friendly-looking Japanese butler-robots, think again. Simply put, a chatbot is an automated version of a live chat: instead of talking to a real-life service person, you're talking to a programmed bot.

The use of chatbots is one of the main tools in conversational marketing. The idea is to talk to your customers using targeted messages and bots, rather than traditional marketing and sales tools and forms. This makes the experience feel more personal and actionable, which can move people through a sales funnel faster and with less friction.

Now you know what a bot is - but what can it do?

Ways chatbots can help your company

Bots can scale your customer service

The use cases for bots are endless, from Facebook Messenger bots allowing you to catch an uber to the most basic FAQ bot. Let's have a look at an area where bots are very quickly gaining ground: customer service.

Customers today want to be heard; when they have a problem with a product or service, they want an answer and a solution, fast. But support is difficult and expensive to scale: it's often just not feasible to respond within minutes to every question, and certainly not 24/7.

This is where a bot can shine.

Bots don’t mind doing the grunt work

A bot is cheap and always on; it can respond instantly to any question. And there are answers a bot can provide just as well as any person, because the answers can be found on the website, in the FAQs, or in the customer’s own data. Look at Mastercard’s bot, which can inform people about their expenses -- how much they spent last week, or how much money goes to dining out. Some research indicates that bots could handle as much as 80% of routine customer questions!

But often, the bot won't know the answer. In those cases, they still improve the overall user experience for your customer. The bot can ask the user for some basic information — the same question your support humans always have to ask first — and then tell the customer when they can expect a human to get in touch. Meanwhile, the bot can forward the question to the most appropriate support person, with the information attached.

Bots make customers happier

The result? Your support team no longer has to answer basic questions, over and over. Instead, they can focus their attention on the customers that actually need their problem-solving skills. They can also handle these issues more efficiently, because they already have some information to work with.

Meanwhile, a large batch of customers has their questions answered almost immediately, no matter the time. The others are acknowledged, and know when they can expect their reply, removing the uncertainty that comes with sending an email and hoping for a reply.

Have you experimented with chatbots in your company?