Ever imagine what it would be like to have an intelligent app? Like one from those Sci-fi films, we see on television? They can greet you in the morning. Ask you about your day. Understand every single word you say to them and even offer tips? Well, that fantasy make not be far from today with the rise of Artificial Intelligence and Neuro-Linguistic Programming, machines now are able to learn and adapt to whatever new skill you teach them. And with the development of Machine Learning, a future of smart computerised assistants is drawing nearer and nearer.
Now, we may not have the super fancy apps like the one we just imagined, but what we do have is close to it. Introducing Chatbots or Messaging Chatbots, these computer programs designed with artificial intelligence for the sole purpose of engaging you or anyone one of us in a conversation. Ever heard of SimSimi? That annoying bit kind of amusing chatbot created by ISMaker, who answers random questions via a user-taught answer bank? Now, chatbots used in E-commerce isn’t like Simsimi, your customers can’t teach it to say random things, but all its answers will come from you.
Before we even plunge into the benefits of Chatbots for your online business, it’s probably best if we talked a little more about what these chatbots are and then we’ll discuss what they can do for you.
Meet The Chatbot
Chatbot goes by many names like chatterbot or talkbot, IM bot or even an Artificial Conversational Entity. It’s an app designed to engage in a conversation with an end user, in this case, your customers. It does this via textual messages or auditory messages. You can think of it as the software talking to you with its built-in artificial intelligence.
So How’s It Used?
Chatbots have many uses from toys to company virtual assistants and even messaging apps. Remember the toys that talked, the ones we all wanted when we were kids? Chatbots are now being integrated into toys like Barbie and educational toys. These chatbots have dialogues restricted by whatever storyline or instructional materials that their company makers placed in them.
Companies use chatbots as virtual customer service agents. These agents usually answer simple questions asked by customers. Third are messaging apps like Facebook, WeChat, LiveChat, Slack, WhatsApp and Line. These chatbots can be used in customer service, or they can even be included in group chats.
Benefits of Using Chatbots
Well, not just any chatbots but the messaging ones built-in social media sites like Facebook. Incorporating these chatbots in your system can not only boost your sales but also your customer service as well.
1. Chatbots Offer Quick Response
Chatbots are fast in responding to customer queries. Though as simple as this one sounds, it’s not a benefit that can be taken for granted. How many of your staff are assigned to answer customer queries? How much money do you spend hiring people to answer simple questions from your customers and potential customers?
Think about this, twenty people decide to visit your site simultaneously or not, and each client requires an average of 3 mins each. Can your hired staff entertain or answer all queries at the same time? Chatbots can do simultaneous customer engagement without having to take water breaks or shift to panic mode.
It can save you time and money because you won’t need to hire so many people to answer simple queries about your product or service.
2. Chatbots Can Be Taught
If you’re worried about having a stupid app answer your customer’s enquiries don’t worry because chatbots in the market that designed for businesses are no Simsimi. You can teach your chatbots correct answers to simple questions about your product. And as the technology for making artificial intelligence improves you can end up with a chatbot that can answer reasoning types of problems.
But, that doesn’t mean that your bots are stupid. Chatbots today are equipped with the technology to answer even complex sentences provided that you gave them clear instructions. Remember that your chatbot will only be as good as the questions and answers you put into it, so if you wired your bot to answer even the trickiest questions then, you can expect intelligent answers to queries made even by the wackiest customer.
3. No Restrictions To Time Or Place
Your chatbot is like the internet; it’s everywhere. Your customers can access it anytime and anywhere as long as they have an internet connection. Of course, if they don’t have access to the internet, then they can’t possibly open your website and browse your goods, right?
Unlike regular employees who can’t be on the clock 24/7, chatbots can answer your customers’ complaints and enquiries even if you’re deep in Slumberland or its dusk. It doesn’t matter if they’re in Thailand or in Amsterdam, and it’s nine pm. If they ask a query, your chatbot will surely give them a swift response.
4. Wire It To do Follow-ups
You may not have all the time in the world to check all the left behind carts in your online store, that’s why having a chatbot can be very handy. Once your system detects a forgotten cart or an unbilled cart, it can send you chatbot to do a follow-up. Check on that customer, and remind him or her about the cart that he/she has abandoned. This would be a total hassle for your team if they had to go through all the follow-ups that need to be done.
Your customer service and marketing team should be focusing on high priority customers, like that lady who’s complaining about a product defect or that guy demanding a refund. You chatbots can do simple follow-ups for you, and if the customer becomes interested again, then that’s the time you can send your sales team to make a sure sale.
5. Convenient and Money Saving
With all the four benefits mentioned, you can see that chatbots provide you with the convenience of a virtual staff for less the price. You can cut down the cost of hiring lots of employees just for answering easy to answer customer queries. Instead, you can focus your resources into other worthwhile investments that can help your company grow.
Aside from answering queries you can program your chatbot to do cross-sell and upsell, there are many chatbots in the market that can help you achieve this. This frees up the time of some of your employees in the sales department as well.
Your chatbot’s efficiency and productivity depends on you, how you program it, the answers and possible questions you provide, and even the task you assign. With chatbots, you can save time, resources, effort and even work-force. At the same time, allow you to incorporate automation and new technologies into your team and your business.