These days, more and more services can be powered by AI. With automation, comes fewer costs and less hassle. In fact, by 2022, “companies are expected to have an average of 35 AI projects in place,” according to SEMrush. When it comes to customer service, AI chatbots are one of the emerging technologies that more and more companies are turning to. But what exactly is a chatbot?
Let’s talk about what chatbots are, how they work, and whether they’re a good option for your business.
What is a chatbot and how does it work?
A chatbot is a technology that allows your users and customers to “chat” with a robotic customer service agent in real-time.
The technology works based on a series of triggers and algorithms. Chatbots are able to interpret customer questions and follow a series of rules to give an appropriate, useful answer.
There are several types of chatbots that offer varying degrees of complexity and nuance.
- Rule-based chatbots are the most basic. These chatbots interpret questions and provide the most appropriate, pre-written reply. This can be useful if you want to offer your customers quick, simple answers to frequently asked questions.
- Intelligent chatbots learn from previous conversations. Over time, they become more and more intelligent and can deliver more nuanced replies.
- AI-powered chatbots are the most intelligent chatbots available as they can simulate a real human interaction. They can remember context and build a conversation up so that it is more than a series of questions and answers.
Does your business really need a chatbot?
A simulation of human customer service can be extremely useful for some businesses. Whether you run a business that receives a lot of repeat questions, or you can’t afford to maintain a customer service representative, a chatbot can be a good alternative.
Does a chatbot fit your business needs?
Begin by asking yourself: Does a chatbot suit my needs as a business? What are your customer service needs? How frequently do customers have complaints or questions?
It’s also important to ask yourself what kind of questions your customers tend to have. Some businesses may need a live customer service representative to deal with complex, specific issues that can’t be solved by a chatbot, while others may have more basic customer service needs.
Chatbots and customer relations
Even if you don’t think your business needs a chatbot, it can always be useful from a customer relationship standpoint. According to Forrester, 41% of customers expect a live chat option. So, even if the chatbot can’t always answer customer queries, they will be grateful to see that there is an option to speak with an automated customer service representative immediately, rather than waiting until office hours.
This type of immediate service will always put you in good standing with your customers and will help you rise above your competition.
Chatbots vs customer service associates
Of course, there are some aspects of chatbot customer service that can’t compete with chats with real people. Some customers have specific complaints that the chatbot won’t be able to comprehend. Plus, human representatives are able to empathize and reason with customers.
Many companies offer an initial chatbot service that can lead to conversation with a real customer service representative if needed. This way, your customers will always get the service they need, however, you won’t need to have as many employees in your customer service team.
There are a variety of chatbot software options on the market, and you’re likely able to find real chatbot examples on the homepages of many product websites, offering you assistance in finding what you’re looking for.
- ChatBot.com integrates with your WordPress website giving you a pop-up AI chatbot on your website.
- ManyChat uses Facebook Messenger as its platform. When users come across your brand on Facebook, they’ll be able to interact with the chatbot. Plus, the chatbot will automatically reach out to new users or users who need a nudge to return.
- Freshchat can build chatbot integrations using WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, and web using AI technology.
Incorporating a chatbot can have multiple benefits for your online business. Not only will a chatbot help you keep your customers satisfied, it can also help you cut down on employee costs. Plus, some chatbots will even help you gather crucial data about your customers so you can improve your digital marketing and outreach strategy.
Chatbots can be an efficient initial contact point for your customer service that can help to “triage” your customer needs to people in your company who can help them.
We hope this guide helps you in understand this technology and decide whether it’s a smart investment for your business. Remember, technology is making everything move much, much faster.