Adopting chatbots and live chat technology can deliver a range of benefits for your business and your customers alike. Businesses enjoy increased productivity, reduced costs, greater scalability, and improved customer loyalty. Customers, meanwhile, enjoy faster interactions with your brand, more accurate solutions to their problems, after-hours service, curated tips or recommendations, and answers to their most frequently asked questions.
More than ever before, customers today expect rapid, responsive customer service. When customers have questions, problems, or concerns, they want answers and solutions as quickly as your business can muster it. Leaving customers on hold or taking hours to respond to their emails are things that are no longer options in most industries. If your business wants customer loyalty and good word of mouth, it needs to take its customer service to the next level. Artificial intelligence—and specifically, chatbot technology—can enable you to deliver the fast service that your customers are seeking and it can be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
What Is a Chatbot?
A chatbot or a chatbot app is a computer program designed to engage your customers by having meaningful two-way conversations. Most businesses enable chatbots on their website first. Then, some have chatbots that customers can communicate with via Facebook Messenger or other social networks and messaging platforms. Others harness chatbots to talk to customers on mobile apps or via text message. Regardless of the variation, all chatbots are designed with the same goal in mind: automated customer services.
Chatbots can be configured to answer common customer questions, to do things such as checking the status of an order or referring a customer to a human representative. Chatbots are also a key component of “conversational commerce,” a concept initially coined by technology evangelist (and the inventor of the hashtag) Chris Messina. Messina defined conversational commerce as being “about delivering convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the go, with only partial attention to spare.” Messina maintained that customers weren't just seeking answers or troubleshooting from chatbots. On the contrary, Messina believed that customers wanted to get personalized recommendations and even finalize purchases or service bookings, all from within a chatbot or chat app.
The Benefits of Chatbot Technology
As you can see, chatbots already have a long list of potential uses in the business world. Here are a few of the primary benefits that your business can gain from adopting a chatbot today:
- Eliminating reliance on a call center: Having customer service representatives on-hand to answer the phone at all hours of the day is expensive and inefficient. Some businesses outsource these needs to call centers, but such services aren’t cheap and usually, do not do an adequate job either. Finally, most modern customers don’t enjoy talking on the phone with customer service representatives. They might be making contact from the office and therefore be unable to talk on the phone, or they might prefer a text-based interaction with a log record or transcript of the conversation. Millennial customers, especially, prefer live chats over phone calls. Regardless, chatbots can streamline communication, make things more convenient for customers, and reduce call center labor costs.
- Speeding up response time: The thing with human customer service reps is that they can only handle one customer matter at a time. Chatbots have no such limitations. They can respond to and work with many customers simultaneously. As a result, chatbots can respond to an unlimited number of questions instantaneously, regardless of whether it’s 2 pm on a Monday or 2 am on a Sunday. Customers appreciate these speedy response times and like being able to resolve their questions or complaints at any time of day.
- Enabling scalability: When your business is small, it might be perfectly reasonable for your office manager to take customer service calls. As your company grows, though, the volume of calls, messages, or emails is going to increase. Chatbots help you scale your customer service operations without significant increases in cost, lapses in efficiency, or growing pains of training new customer service reps.
- Handling repetitive questions or issues: A considerable percentage of customer service calls or messages have to do with similar or identical issues or questions. Dealing with these issues repeatedly wastes the time that your employees could be devoted to more important tasks. Chatbots can handle these repetitious tasks just as well as any human, without feeling the strain of such menial responsibilities.
- Reducing errors: When a customer service representative gets a question they don’t know the answer to, they need to look it up. Not only does this process add time to the customer service process, but it also increases the risk of human error. What if the rep misinterprets the customer’s question and offers an incorrect solution? Customers don’t take kindly to customer service people who don’t know their stuff and can’t provide workable solutions. Chatbots can be configured with a lot of information and capability, which means they can source answers to different questions or problems instantaneously. In addition to the quicker processing time, chatbots also reduce the risk of misinterpretation and eliminate human error from the equation.
- Getting proactive: When we think of customer service, we tend to think of it as a one-way communication relationship. The customer calls for answers or assistance, and the service representative helps them. Chatbots, though, have the capability of taking communication in the other direction. When a customer visits your website or looks at a particular product, you can set up the chatbot to greet them and inform them about sales, promotions, new products, or the like. Chatbots can even present “customers also bought” listings or other recommendations, to upsell people shopping on your website. Making your customer service more proactive in this way can help drive sales and revenue growth.
The delightful thing about chatbots is that they provide very significant benefits for both businesses and customers. Companies can develop chatbots to suit their specific needs and address the pain points or limitations of their customer service process. Implementing chatbot technology allows businesses to achieve new levels of productivity, efficiency, accuracy, and overall customer service. Customers, on the other hand, enjoy more responsive service, faster results, and assistance at all hours of the day. The average customer nowadays doesn’t mind chatting with a chatbot and many have reported that they prefer it over alternatives. Plus, since chatbots can easily switch a customer over to a human representative if doing so is necessary, customers effectively enjoy the best of both worlds. Bring these benefits to your business and your customers by exploring chatbots and artificial intelligence today.
TruCHAT's Natural Language Processing powered Chatbot + Live Chat platform lets you build multichannel conversational commerce chatbot solutions for any industry or business to upgrade their customer service offerings. Please check out https://truchat.io/ to learn more about chatbots and their Ready-To-Go Chatbots that can be live on your website in minutes.
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