Are chatbots relevant to my business?
What are chatbots?
Chatbots are software-based conversational artificial intelligence (AI) that businesses use to enhance customer experience. They interact by simulating a human-like response through a chat interface. In businesses, they can fill online customer service roles, answer FAQs and process bank transactions.
As a standalone technology, they’re revolutionising industries, providing innovative solutions to improve people’s lives. To understand whether chatbots could be relevant to your business, read on.
At Versantus, we’re sold on chatbots and how they can help businesses. So much so that we’re developing our own one! We’re creating a free chatbot for small businesses, to help SMEs keep up with the latest web design features that’ll improve user experience on your website.
Why do companies use chatbots?
By using chatbots you’ll save time in multiple ways. Relying on a bot, rather than a human, reduces the chances of human error. This in turn means less time sorting out mistakes, mishaps or miscommunications, whether internal or with the customer. The bot will only answer questions it’s fed or has developed a contextual understanding of. Therefore, it can be trusted to present the customer with error-free communication.
The other time saving element is customer service chatbots can triage minimal queries. Rather than a service agent spending their time answering basic queries and FAQs, a chatbot can handle these. This doesn’t replace the job of the service agent entirely, as they’ll still be needed to deal with complex queries. It simply makes their time more valuable to your business because they’re dealing with situations where person-to-person conversations are needed.
Lastly, a customer service agent will only be able to handle a certain amount of cases a day, but for a chatbot the sky’s the limit. With quicker, more accurate support and 27/7 availability, your customers’ time is being saved. They can bypass long waiting times, and they know the response they receive will be prompt and detailed.
When it comes to support, people like their question to be answered instantly. A 99firms study confirms that “79% of consumers prefer live chats because they offer instant responses”. That’s a large percentage to ignore by sticking to traditional methods of support.
Chatbots are first line support, and they’ve become so commonplace that people expect them.
Equally, chatbots can guide users through the sales process. If customers need help finding a product or service, or have any questions, the chatbot can step in and answer these.
In the same way sales assistants support the customer through their buying journey, your chatbot can provide a guided service. This provides the user with a fulfilling, supported experience from the moment they land on the site. For your business, it means you continue to have an active role in the buyer’s journey, and always provide a good customer experience.
Better understanding of your end user
Whether you provide a service or a product, chatbots for business are a window to better understand your user’s needs. With every conversation stored and an immense amount of data to be analysed, chatbots are an entry point for greater insights on your intended users.
For example, Xenioo have created a channel where a chatbot can take phone calls and verbally interact with customers. As the chatbot will be running through programmed questions, responses and tasks, you can expect more direct answers from the person on the other end of the line. That means you’ll have clear, direct answers to analyse and improve your offering.
Chatbots are brilliant at qualifying leads. Finding out more about your end user in a natural, non-invasive way can lead to increased sales and conversions. According to an Accenture study, out of 352 CIOs and CTOs, 57% of them agreed chatbots deliver large ROI with minimal effort. Being able to interact with your customer at every level of the conversion process is key to making sure they convert, and to help inform your marketing strategy to get more of them.
In Nutshell’s guide to qualifying leads with your chatbot, they’ve identified five key questions to help. If it’s set up to ask the right questions, you’ll be able to not only qualify leads, but harness data to ensure you can streamline the process even further.
How do chatbots work?
These follow predetermined answers to questions. They’re useful for businesses who require a bot to handle real-time FAQ answering and queries. Unlike intelligent chatbots, if the bot hasn’t been programmed to understand a specific question, it won’t be able to answer it.
Artificial intelligence powered chatbots
Machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) are used to develop a web of responses based on what user’s have previously asked for or queried. Machine learning is where a system learns from the information it receives. A larger web of understanding of an idea, question or phrase is created using algorithms. NLP provides the tools for bots to understand what the user is saying because human language and machine language are very different. We speak with ambiguity and connect multiple ideas together in one sentence, whereas machines are created to be specific and binary.
A question, phrase or word will trigger a specific answer, but when you integrate machine learning and NLP, over time, the chatbot will be able to provide more developed, comprehensive answers.
It’s an intuitive solution that can use different integrations, such as voice search, self-learning and social media. Conversational AI creates a human-like response, bridging the gap between computers and humans.
Chatbots with Emotional intelligence
Chatbots with emotional intelligence are extremely useful for businesses who are trying to create a personalised connection with their users. Emotional Intelligence and AI are combined to understand emotions. Data is analysed in great depth to pick up on language use, punctuation, capitalisation and situational context. Being able to correctly identify a feeling, and then respond to it appropriately means the user’s experience is greatly enhanced.
For example, a customer service chatbot may have answered a customer’s query. At the end of the conversation, the chabot could identify the customer is happy. Understanding the emotion could trigger the use of certain emojis, phrases or words in response. This would provide the customer with a human-like response and improve their relationship with your business.
The future of chatbots
The chatbot trends for the future signal that we'll be seeing more machine learning AI bots. With integrations through Messenger and Whatsapp already being utilised, we can expect more platforms to provide a space for chatbots.
With the rise of voice assistants, voice chatbots are also naturally gaining traction. Rather than trying to type out an issue to provide as much context as possible, user’s will be able to describe complex issues with further clarity using voice chatbots. This would mean emotional intelligence could be used more intuitively, as the user’s tone of voice and language choice could be analysed to provide a personalised, human-like response.
But it’s not just customer service and problem solving. Businesses can also utilise chatbots for routine tasks such as inventory ordering and lower level management. These chatbots can alleviate pressures on staff who may be currently handling basic tasks, and instead free their time to focus on more valuable tasks.
Chatbots can improve business processes across a multitude of industries. For example, DoNotPay has created the first robot-lawyer which is revolutionising the legal industry. The chatbot helps users appeal parking tickets, and refugees in the USA and Canada with legal claims. This is a whole service based around chatbot functionality, providing people with quick, direct support.
Does your business need a chatbot?
Improved engagement, higher customer satisfaction and insightful user data are just some of the benefits of chatbots.
With their ability to handle routine tasks, guide users through a site and complete tasks such as payments and producing quotes, they could be a real asset to your company. They don’t cost a lot to maintain and they can be scaled alongside your business. Rather than having employees working on routine admin tasks, you can let the chatbot take over so your staff can focus on more important tasks.