What are the benefits of using bots
The 10 advantages of chatbots for companies and customers
Are you still pondering whether to get a chatbot? Completely understandable, chatbots are expensive and mean a lot of work at first. But for many companies the investment is still worthwhile.
Chatbots and AI have gone through a huge change in the past few years. The once “futuristic-but-somehow-pointless” wizards are now fed with significantly more data. In this way, they help customers better and boost online sales.
Are they worth your time and money investing in this technology? It depends on your industry and your company's expectations. But today's advanced bot infrastructures have a lot to offer that almost any business can benefit from.
Let's take a closer look at that. Here are the key benefits of chatbots for you and your customers.
Giving companies a voice
If personal contacts with your customers are rare or even impossible, a chatbot can help you shape your brand image.
Some companies use their chatbot as a kind of corporate mascot. The online travel portal Hipmunk, for example, has converted its mascot into a Facebook bot that helps travelers book accommodation.
Hipmunk is a cute squirrel who sprinkles abbreviations and slang into conversation, creating a serene atmosphere.
You create a good balance between quick, precise results and a charming “conversation”.
Hipmunk's service doesn't necessarily need a chatbot to work. The company operates a website that customers can use to search for flights and hotels on their own. They still benefit from the chatbot, as the mascots are remembered and entertaining, which sets Hipmunk apart from its competitors.
Chatbots allow your company to get creative. When you recreate a smart bot, you have full control over the flow of the conversation, as well as the tone of the name, appearance and persona.
Developing and adapting these elements takes a considerable amount of time. But they have an even greater advantage for your company image.
Increase customer interaction
Chatbots respond instantly and hold conversations in real time. This puts them a big step ahead of automated telephone menus in which the caller has to choose through a branched catalog of questions that only offers a very limited selection of options.
This direct communication is the reason why bots attract more customer interaction to your side. Responsive chatbots, which have been fed with a large amount of information, are a valuable help for your customers - from product recommendations to supporting website navigation.
Customers appreciate the speed and convenience, especially when they need immediate support to get ahead. Studies show that customers are more likely to interact with a chatbot when it comes to emergencies or when they need a quick response.
If you put your chatbot in the right place at the right time, you can influence the customer journey to your advantage and increase sales.
Navigating through a new website can be overwhelming for customers. Time-consuming stumbling blocks create indecision. This is the best opportunity for the chatbot to send a proactive message to the customer and offer help.
This gives customers a better overview of your offer and the next steps.
Automate simple processes
Chatbots are not intended to replace your service staff. But they do particularly well as their assistants.
Automate simple tasks, such as making appointments or sending reminders, using a chatbot. Research by IBM found that chatbots help companies reduce service costs and response times by intercepting simple requests from the bot.
Chatbots are now able to do a lot more for you, such as sending or receiving e-mails, managing and confirming contracts, transmitting the delivery status or canceling orders.
An often overlooked benefit of chatbots is the ability to collect feedback. Unsatisfied customers will likely turn away from you without giving a reason, leaving you with no chance of making amends.
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Use the chatbot to ask customers after the conversation or order to rate your offer and write a review. This is handy for your customers and gives you instant results.
Supplement with live chat
Chatbots can assist chat agents by forwarding messages that arrive outside of service hours or by informing them of failed page views.
You can also use your chatbot to address your customers if they spend an unusually long time on your website. In this way, you not only promote customer engagement, but also ensure that your employees are only connected to really relevant leads.
Since the chatbot is interposed like a filter, your service staff have fewer distractions and can concentrate on more complex tasks and inquiries.
Chat providers like Userlike make it easy to link a bot to live chat. If you already have your own chatbot infrastructure up and running, you can add the chat with just one click.
The chatbot then behaves technically like an agent in your service team. You can name it, define behaviors, and add it to a specific group of operators.
Keep an eye on customer data
Chatbots are good at accurately monitoring data and drawing conclusions about your customers' behavior.
You can program your chatbot to summarize metrics such as search terms, customer interaction, user satisfaction and buying habits. This is much easier than manually sifting through chat histories and website data to generate meaningful reports.
Chatbots make it easier for you to collect data so that you can make faster and more precise decisions for the best possible user experience.
Everything happens instantly
Chatbots respond faster than an automated customer service email “We'll get back to you within 24 hours”.
Customers can count on quick results and responses with a chatbot. If you take the time to feed your chatbot with relevant data, your website becomes a self-service station for your customers.
In addition to answering standard questions, chatbots can help customers with issues that usually arise during the checkout process. For example, if a customer has concerns about delivery costs, the chatbot provides clarity. In the case of serious matters, such as the failure of a money transfer, the chatbot can forward the message to a human agent.
For undecided customers, chatbots can make product recommendations based on the customer's purchase history or by asking a few questions about the customer's needs.
Chatbots are masters at multitasking - they can easily serve several customers at the same time. This means that the customer does not have to wait long for answers and can speak to the chatbot immediately.
If your customers need help or are shopping on the go, the chatbot is their portable digital helper. Regardless of whether you are browsing your website or your app, chatbots are easily accessible everywhere.
This benefit makes it easier for customers to continue the conversation when it fits into their daily routine. And since chatbots are often available on mobile devices, they accompany the customer wherever they go.
Chatbots can also draw attention to themselves through SMS, updates or push messages. Capital Ones Bot “Eno” immediately informs the user about suspicious account movements or confirms transactions.
For example, if there is an emergency at night, customers can use Eno directly to clarify their concerns without having to wait or go to the local branch the next day.
Many people find it easier to talk to a chatbot than to a customer service representative. Not because they would be the better conversation partner, but because there is less pressure of expectation.
Customers can skip paperwork when talking to a bot and provide direct information instead. In other service channels this would be considered impolite, but for the bot, customers efficiently deliver the most important keywords it needs for successful processing.
If you can ignore greetings, farewell words and thank you notes, conversations are much faster and easier for your customers.
Another advantage: The chatbot exchange can be much more entertaining. When creating a persona for your bot, sprinkle a few humorous comments or jokes into the script here and there - only if it fits your corporate image, of course.
Direct and personal
Chatbots are not able to read between the lines or make out the subtleties, but they can still make the customer feel that they are well taken care of.
Just like live chat agents, chatbots can address customers by name, view their accounts and make personalized suggestions based on the customer profile or search history.
If your company has an app, you can configure the chatbot so that your customers receive personalized push notifications.
Proactive bots also help break the ice when your customer is browsing your site, much like a sales advisor in a store. This shows your customer that you are available and ready to give them a hand at any time. This can be very reassuring, especially during the check-out process or when looking at size charts.
Often customers do not ask directly or proactively seek customer service. Therefore, it helps to make your contact information as easy to see as possible.
UI designers have learned that visitors have trouble navigating a website that uses unclear marketing terms. You risk losing customers if it takes too long to find answers.
One more point for the chatbot. It lives on practically every page of your website, mostly waiting patiently in a corner. If the customer wants to speak to a service employee immediately, he will forward him immediately.
Reducing the steps the customer has to take to speak to you will motivate them to keep in touch.
Are these chatbot benefits relevant to my company?
Chatbots are a big investment, so it's understandable that you're unsure whether the benefits will pay off for your business. Check out our post "Does a Chatbot Make Sense for You?" to get an even better picture.
Service-heavy industries like travel, sales, and finance should give a serious thought to a chatbot. It will reduce the workload of your service staff and stimulate customer interaction.
To learn more about the setup of a chatbot, the following articles will give you a good orientation: “In 11 steps to a successful chatbot design” and “In 5 steps to the perfect name for your chatbot”.
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