As you look over your business strategy and marketing tools, chatbots should definitely be taken into consideration.
If you are unfamiliar with the term, it may sound only fitting for someone who is tech-savvy — but chatbots aren’t that difficult to use. Plus, they can be crucial when it comes to your customer service plan.
From SocialMediaToday, “Chatbots are essentially computer programs that are designed to simulate human conversation through a messaging app. In the retail market and service industries, chatbots frequently assume the roles assigned to low-level customer support operatives.”
The truth is, artificial intelligence won’t replace human customer service agents. Even though there’s a lot of hype around the subject, people will always search for a human response when big issues arise. AI will, however, help streamline the customer service process and eliminate wasted time on simple answers a customer could get from an FAQ page.
If you’re on the fence and not sure you are ready to incorporate chatbots into your business’s website and social platforms, here’s a list of key benefits to consider:
Chatbots provide immediate customer service
Even if you have a customer service call center, as a small business you probably have a limited number of agents who can answer a call. Even large corporations such as Disney don’t have enough agents to immediately pick up customer phone calls, so they use chatbots to filter through who actually needs to speak with an agent or who just needs an answer from the FAQ.
If you don’t have any customer service agents, this makes a chatbot even more crucial for your business. You have a lot of other things going on during the day, and you most likely don’t have the time or resources to respond immediately to customers. That will escalate into problems because a huge factor into good customer service practices includes quick responses to customer inquiries and complaints.
Which leads to the next point …
Chatbots offer service after hours
You aren’t working 24-hour days, nor should you be. So even when your office is closed, chatbots offer 24/7 customer service. When you think about the customer journey and acquisition, customers will be more satisfied if you can give them support beyond your office hours.
Let’s say you run an e-commerce shop and you have a potential customer visiting your site from another country with a huge time zone difference. You’re less likely to be able to respond to that customer immediately and chat when it’s convenient for them, which is where the chatbot excels. While you’re off work (and maybe even fast asleep), your chatbot can answer any immediate questions or concerns that the customer may have.
Chatbots appeal to customers more than phone calls
In the modern day, most people enjoy the ease of texting rather than making a phone call. They prefer a quick and easy response, and if they have to wait, they don’t want to be stuck on a live call. It’s more helpful and productive for someone to speak with a chatbot that can answer them quickly.
Even if the chatbot can’t answer a person’s specific question, a chatbot can at least offer an estimate of how long it would take to chat with a live agent.
When you consider the convenience of using a chatbot, it shows your customers you care about making their experience more seamless and enjoyable — and that you realize how valuable their time is.
Chatbots boost trust
Two of the most important qualities a business can have are reliability and trustworthiness. According to data from Facebook, having the option to message a business “helps [customers] feel more confident about the brand.”
When you think about the brand you are trying to build, even if it’s just within your local community, you want to treat it like the whole world is watching you. This is your business — your pride and joy — and your success is determined by how much thought and care you put into it. Being innovative and up-to-date with the latest trends in technology helps you to achieve that and attract customers.
Graphic from Facebook
One thing that customers pick up on is how soon you respond to their inquiries, and if you respond at all. People want to trust that your business is legitimate before investing, and they judge your business on if you have customer service. It’s also not just about if you have it, but how fast you respond (and if you respond). Having a chatbot ensures that no matter what, your customers are getting an immediate response and proving that your business is legit.
Graphic from Drift
One of the biggest pain points for customers navigating a business’s website is finding answers to simple questions. I can vouch for that frustration, as there have been many times when I’m looking for the answer to a simple question and I can’t find it on a website — including the FAQ page.
This is another opportunity to let a chatbot boost your business, as you can program it to have the answer to every single question you need it to know. So, for example, say a customer is looking for your service requirements on a very basic level, but the information isn’t easily available on the website. If you set up your chatbot correctly, you save everyone time because that customer only needs to ask the chatbot one (or a few) question(s) to get the answer immediately.
Chatbots can assist in gathering customer info
Surveys and forms are an obvious way to get information about customers, but a more natural and less-forced way to do it is with chatbots. You can gather customer data by initiating conversations with your customers through chatbots, making it a more seamless experience that feels like a natural text chat.
This also can be a way to generate sales and identify leads. You can have your chatbot gather contact information such as email so you can put together a targeted marketing campaign, i.e. a discount program for people on your email list. Whatever it is, chatbots can save you time and gather important information you need to increase sales.
Chatbots help you engage on social media
You may have someone (and that someone could be you) who is dedicated to running your business’s social media accounts. While you obviously need them to be running your social media accounts, chatbots provide additional support.
A lot of social media accounts provide DMs (direct messaging), and it can be tricky to keep up with them if you have a lot of social platforms and apps. Chatbots can intervene and help mitigate the customer interaction on multiple platforms so that you can focus on other things.
Good customer engagement on social media also heavily ties into customer retention, so it behooves you to look into using chatbots on your social platforms, whether you have someone running your social media accounts or not.
At the end of the day, if you make any strides to show your customers you are willing to make their interaction with your business easier, you’re going to help yourself succeed. Chatbots are a fantastic way to show that you’re not only innovative as a business but also innovative in caring for your customers’ needs.
When she’s not writing for SB, Pauline runs an intuitive healing business... and is still writing as she types up psychic readings! As she was raised by entrepreneurs, she knows what it takes to be a small business owner.
Pauline writes on a number of topics such as small business owner resources, marketing, and customer service and retention.
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