What are Chatbots?
Simply put, chatbots are computer programs or apps that can have or at least mimic a real conversation. They are used in chat interfaces in various platforms such as company websites and social media pages.
Their function is to converse with contacts and they can be used with almost all of the popular messaging apps today. Chatbots are also given specific personalities that represent the image or persona that your company wants to embody to your customers or clients.
These apps or programs are smart enough to understand both text and spoken messages. Of course, they can’t have a regular human conversation but they can interpret specific categories of messages.
The conversations that chatbots can hold with a customer or contact will be about company related information. They can discuss the company’s services, products, customer information, and other bits of info that is relevant to the contact.
Chatbots are fairly common today. In fact, most people have encountered them one way or another. For example, there are smartphone apps that rely on chatbot technology to provide a fluid user experience.
Big Businesses Use Them
One of the important points that we want to put across here is that big businesses use chatbots. If large corporations like Facebook, WeChat, and others use them, then that should be reason enough to use them as well.
Note that chatbot technology is absolutely scalable. They can be applied at the enterprise level and they can also be applied to the advantage of small and medium enterprises.
The power and ultimately the cost of setting up a chatbot will depend on the technology it uses. There are two types of chatbot software, which are the following:
• Command based
Command Based Bots: These chatbots reply based on heuristics. They are simpler by design and they usually are powered by algorithms that analyze and make use of the responses from the contacts. That being said, these chatbots are more affordable.
They can only answer a limited amount of questions. They also cannot perform outside of the code that they were programmed with. You can think of these chatbots like Google’s search engines where they systematically use the terms that clients input and the chatbot searches for the closest possible answers from a knowledge base.
AI-Based Chatbots: Chatbots that fall into this category are definitely more costly. But they have features that trump those of their command based counterparts. They have the capacity to answer even ambiguous questions.
These bots make use of natural language processing and they eventually get smarter in time. That means the more they interact with users the more they understand them well enough to interact even better.
Why are Chatbots Necessary for Businesses?
Here are some of the biggest reasons why your business should use chatbots when you have an ongoing online presence:
- They answer customer queries
- They scale up operations
- They improve organizational efficiency
- They provide an interactive marketing platform
- These bots also serve as another kind of online marketing platform
- Bots can assist customers to find exactly the product or service that they need.
- They scale up operations
Drive Organizational Efficiency: a lot of businesses today are using up a lot of resources on backend support. In fact, there are ways in order to automate a huge portion of the said resources.
Chatbots often provide that cost-saving solution. Remember that by making backend support more efficient, you tend to save on costs. For instance, you don’t need to hire more support staff to do the same old repetitive tasks.
For instance, answers to product inquiries can be programmed into a chatbot and it can provide solutions and answers automatically. They can also address the common technical issues that may arise. Of course, chatbots can also transfer the customer to a specialist if the concern needs to be escalated or is outside of the scope of support that it has been programmed with.
Interactive Marketing Platform: Chatbots are the next step up from websites and apps. Note that these contact channels are static or if not, their level of interactivity isn’t that high enough.
Chatbots, on the other hand, are highly interactive. At times, it will be as if your customers are actually talking to a human representative or staff member.
A good example of this is the chatbot that is used in Facebook Messenger. That chatbot can interact very well with clients. It can be programmed to answer a lot of inquiries, promote certain products or services, and on top of that, it can also reach out to more people at the same time.
They Serve as Another Online Marketing Channel: Here’s a rule of thumb—the more you positively interact with your clients the more businesses that interaction will generate. Chatbots can provide that positive interaction. While doing that, they also simplify tasks as well.
You are Reaching Out to Tech Savvy Customers: tech-savvy customers will appreciate working and interactive with new technology. In fact, one customer segment (i.e. the millennials) prefer to chat with representatives rather than have phone calls.
That means if your products appeal to tech-savvy clientele then using chatbots to interact with them is the next logical choice. This definitely represents a truly prudent investment.
They Can Be Extremely Helpful to Customers to Narrow Down Product/Service Choice: If you have a lot of products and many of them are almost identical, it will be a bit difficult to narrow down choices based on a person’s product knowledge.
Chatbots have an advantage in this regard since they can access a database of products with all the necessary information about them. They can easily narrow down products according to the customer’s needs.
They Take a Huge Load Off Your Customer Support Team: A huge bulk of customer calls, chats, and emails are often repetitive and could have been handled automatically through software. These bots can reduce a significant amount of customer inquiries and put your support team to the best use.
Scale Up Operations: As stated earlier, chatbots can handle multiple client inquiries at a time. That means they can supplement the number of support staff you have on hand.
These are the reasons why chatbots are necessary and why we need them today. They can be a tremendous help to boost your business in many ways.