A popular buzzword in the e-commerce community is “chatbot,” but what is this technology, and is it relevant to your small to mid-size business?
The chatbot evolution exploded a few years ago. In 2016, only about 5% of companies used them, but by 2017 another 32% of companies were beginning to plan for implementation. These companies find value in providing a conversational interface for their customers that can be accessed via website chat software, messaging platforms, and social media networks. Simply put, the software communicates as if it is a person to create a customized P2P conversation in which the customer may not even realize he or she is chatting with a computer.
Industry analyzer, Gartner, believes this technology is the next big thing for companies to optimize efficiencies and maximize customer service. According to their studies, 68% of service leaders believe bots and virtual customer assistants will grow in importance in the next few years.
What can chatbots do?
Depending on the amount of financial resources available to an organization for development, these software solutions can handle answering the most commonly asked questions for customers or be “smart enough” to problem solve very complex issues. Here are a few examples of what this technology can do:
- Help site visitors find the information they need. Customers visit your website for a variety of purposes—from finding the nearest location to downloading the instruction manual for a specific product. A chatbot can converse with the customer to determine what he needs, and then direct him to the information quickly.
- Sell products and services. The technology behind many of these software solutions provides the capacity for the computer to learn from the conversation and make relevant product and service recommendations. Automated processes further enhance the technology’s ability to process the transaction online, including taking payment and providing confirmations. Chatbots can even qualify leads automatically and book meetings based on your criteria.
- Resolve customer problems. Some software solutions connect directly with customer account information allowing the computer to research complaints and resolve issues on the spot. This service is invaluable for customers needing assistance during non-traditional hours.
What benefits do companies realize from using chatbots?
- Putting your technology to work in this manner allows the computer to handle tasks that formerly human employees were required to do. This technology can get employees off the phone and instead put them to work on other duties that add revenue to the bottom line.
- Customers receive faster service. There’s no need for customers to wait in a queue to be helped and computers can review electronic data at lightning speed.
- Services are available 24/7/365. Using computer technology to serve your customers means your business can operate effectively during all hours of every day.
- Chatbots collect and report information about customers. As it becomes more difficult to get visitor information from cookies, having other forms of technology that will provide you information about your site visitors, why they are there, and what needs they have is more important than ever.
- Technology can detect and block other technology. Unfortunately, sites are often visited and hacked by other bots. Using a chatbot to manage transactions can screen and block other types of bots from your site.
Interested in learning more about how we can help you grow your business?
Connect with us at Paradux Media Group. We can help your business discover new technologies to expand your online and e-commerce presence. Our team is equipped to help you and your leaders build business plans, rework branding, evaluate e-channels, and provide other support to help you achieve your goals and reach success. Call us today to learn more about the benefits of joining our flock.