It may not come as a surprise to you that the customer’s habits and expectations have changed. The services customers expect to receive must be immediate, personalized, and accessible regardless of the time of the day.
Knowing that your customers are the backbone of your business, what can you do to meet their expectations (and by doing that – help your business to thrive)?
Truth is – traditional communication channels do not always cut it so it has become apparent that other types of customer service must be implemented as well.
Luckily, technology brought live chat (among many other innovations) and now support agents worldwide can help their customers through this very popular and convenient communication channel.
But the introduction of the new channel alone was not enough. Certain repetitive tasks needed to be addressed to maintain smooth and uninterrupted support – this is how the automation entered the domain of customer service in the form of artificial “virtual agents” that can tirelessly deliver support 24/7.
These virtual agents are called chatbots.
Table of Contents
Let’s start with the basics first and find out what a chatbot is and how it works.
A Brief Introduction To Chatbots
The chatbot meaning is pretty simple: they are computer programs (scripts) that are designed to mimic the natural language are known as chatbots (sometimes incorrectly spelled as chat bots). They use the chat interface to communicate with the website or online store visitors. The interface can be almost any popular chat app available on the market nowadays (Tidio, FB Messenger, Telegram).
There are also chatbots that “live” in a telecom realm and automate sending SMS messages.
Since chatbots simulate human language, they can be built to use specific speech styles to acquire their own personality. They can also understand written (typed) and spoken text and interpret its meaning.
What Is Chatbot Technology?
Generally, we distinguish two types of chatbots:
Rule-based chatbots rely on sets of predefined questions and responses. They reply by selecting a matching answer linked to the query.
- They do not learn or independently analyze users’ input
- They cannot create new responses
- They are as limited as the predefined responses included in the interaction scenario
Artificial Intelligence-powered Chatbots
Artificial Intelligence-powered chatbots (or Machine Learning-chatbots) can reply to ambiguous questions and can produce a reply on their own based on Natural Language Processing technology.
- They learn from their past conversations
- They can produce an original reply from the scratch
- The more they chat the more they learn and the narrower their conversational limitations become
You can read more about chatbot technologies in our Chatbots FAQ article.
Both types have their advantages and disadvantages.
Rule-based chatbots produce a more structured and grammatically correct reply but are limited to their ready-made responses pool and can be at a loss when the question asked is outside their knowledge base.
On the other hand, AI-powered chatbots require large data sets to learn from and may struggle to form long and correct responses.
Why Are Chatbots Good For Business?
What’s the point in investing in another technology if you already have a well-designed and responsive website or maybe even a mobile app?
Virtual assistants can do more than just talking. Chatbots are used for many other reasons, for instance, data collection, flight booking or order placement. They can assist customers in various tasks and create personal conversational experiences that cannot be achieved with websites or apps.
How do customers perceive interacting with a non-human support agent?
Hubspot’s research shows that 47% of consumers would buy items from a chatbot. While according to chatbotslife.com, an e-commerce chatbot can increase the conversion rate by up to 25%.
Conclusion: Using chatbots for business purposes can be very beneficial.
If you wonder how chatbots help businesses, let’s take a closer look at the following reasons:
Chatbots Deliver 24/7 Customer Service
Remember that we talked about the change in customers’ habits and needs? Whatever customers want, they want it right now. Research shows that 82% of today’s buyers demand an immediate answer to their question. Chatbots can help you to satisfy such an attitude. They can free your support agents from repetitive queries and assist customers even when all the agents are offline.
Chatbots Create Sales Opportunities
Chatbots can boost your conversion rate by engaging 100% of a website’s visitors. How does it work? Let’s imagine that your returning customer just opened your website again – a chatbot then prompts the message to the client and offers a discount voucher.
If the customer accepts the offer and redeems the voucher, both sides are satisfied – the customer saved some money and you increased your sales.
Moreover, chatbots can serve the role of a pop-up window as well. So if there is anything you want the visitors to pay particular attention to (and don’t feel annoyed), let the chatbots handle it – in their own conversational way.
Chatbots Are Faster Than Humans
There are tasks that chatbots can complete much faster than humans. Businesses can take advantage of chatbots’ speed and automate certain tasks such as, for instance, pizza order – the customer makes just a few clicks and the order is placed.
Chatbots Personalize Communication
Greet new visitors or send a “thank you” message – this makes things more personal, and customers love that. Or maybe you’d want to send a personalized offer or discount? You can do that as well. According to barilliance.com data, personalized offers convert 1.7x times better than the generic ones.
Chatbots Can Multitask
Live chat operators can handle ~2-3 chats simultaneously and remain fairly efficient. Chatbots, on the other hand, are not limited to the number of customers they can talk to. This means they can respond to customers’ queries without putting anyone on hold.
Chatbots Generate Leads
You ran out of stock and the customer wants to leave the website? No problem. A chatbot can ask them for an e-mail, and you can later inform your client that the product is available. Or perhaps you would like to invite the visitors to join your newsletter? A chatbot can do that too.
Chatbots Can Instantly React To Customers’ Behavior
Chatbots can see what you do not. For example, they can notice when the customer is about to leave the website. In such a situation they can intervene and ask the customer the reason for their leaving, or offer a discount to convince them to stay and continue their shopping.
Chatbots Are Cheap To Maintain
If you compare the cost of implementing a fully-working chatbot to the cost of developing a cross-platform app (or hiring extra support staff), you will realize that chatbots are a cost-effective solution. What’s also worth mentioning is that Tidio live chat and chatbots can be integrated with numerous web and store platforms (e.g. Wix, WordPress, Joomla, Shopify, PrestaShop), as well as marketing apps (e.g. MailChimp, HubSpot, GoogleAnalytics). Chatbots work on mobile devices, too.
Chatbots Are Cheap To Customize
Depending on the product or services you sell, your support staff may need to frequently update their knowledge to keep up with the regular changes. The same rule applies to chatbots. They also need to be kept up-to-date to deliver the best service to the customers.
Unlike software (website, mobile app), chatbots are not only easy to build but also update – no coding skills or software developer is required.
This guide will get you through. Chatbots may seem a little intimidating at the beginning (we’re aware of that), but they’re not difficult at all. We’ll show you how to make a chatbot without coding.How to Make a Chatbot in 10 Minutes – a Simple 3 Step Guide
Chatbots Generate High Customer Engagement
It is very important to keep your customers engaged with your brand and that is why many businesses include chatbots in their social media marketing strategy. Additionally, chatbots are not limited to answering the queries – they can also initiate conversations with new visitors and turn some of them into followers.
Chatbots Bridge The Gap Between Technology And Humans
If you are a part of a non-profit organization, NGO, or any charitable foundation, then chatbot can be a solution for you as well.
Chatbots, apart from telling the weather, supporting the customers, placing orders, booking flights (etc, etc…), can help people who are not very tech-savvy or knowledgable about certain legal aspects of the country they live in.
They can assist migrants and refugees in their native language, or help the homeless to apply for housing. They can guide the young, inexperienced and the elderly to access the information they otherwise would struggle to find.
Chatbots cannot fully replace humans when it comes to assistance but can be an excellent first point of contact for anyone who needs a helping hand to make their first steps toward reaching the goal.
As a closing note, research shows that customers accept chatbots as a part of customer service and e-commerce. In addition to that, 80% of companies are already using chatbots or plan to start using them by 2020. Chatbots can wear many hats and can specialize in various tasks but the key takeaway here is that they can help you and your customers achieve the goals in an efficient way, whilst remaining to be a cost-effective solution to businesses.
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