First, before we dive in, let‘s talk about what a chatbot is. In simple terms, a chatbot is an automated response system (many will say it‘s AI, this is not yet true) that interacts with your customers via messenger channels. It can display text, videos, buttons, and pictures to interact with those speaking with it. The typical bot brings you through a predetermined set of questions that end in a lead being generated or a question is answered, however, this is not always true. Bots have become more intelligent using natural language processing and data sets to have a conversation with users. With this being said, why is it so important to have a bot for your business?
1. A chatbot can function as your 24/7 customer support agent that can answer customers inquires, suggest answers, and collect information. It doesn’t get tiring, it doesn‘t clock out after a long day, it is an ever vigilant worker. Many bot creator programs like chatfuel.com or manychat.com come equipped with human Passover technology, meaning any time a human can take over the conversation. This means that your customer support force can be a hybrid support model, cutting down the need for human interaction.
2. People are more comfortable chatting via text than on the phone. Not to say that a bot can’t become voice empowered, but most are text-based atm. You can easily integrate most chatbots to your existing contact channels with little to no tinkering, making the implementation easy.
3. Chatbots can go from simple to sophisticated, by using a dataset and by training bots it can become more interactive and answer more questions in an almost human manner. Through the use of APIs, your bot will pull data from outside sources making it exceptionally powerful.
4. As the designer you have full control over what you bot says, their tone, it‘s personality, and how it interacts with users. A well-designed bot is almost equal to interacting with a human. Using programs like dialogflow.com you can use NLP or Natural Language Processing to make your bot answer a variety of questions and learn from them.
5. Chatbots have a high open rate compared to other communication avenues such as email. They encourage the users to engage, by presenting them with various options to progress. This is highly important as digital users expect a quick response to their questions or inquiries vs communicating through email where the typical response time is 24 plus hours.
6. One word, Cost. Imagine having an EA for appointment setting or an endlessly tired support agent, both positions would cost money. If your fully digital you are taking inquiries even in your sleep, are you using someone to take inquiries and answer questions during this time?
7. Chatbots cost less than developing an app. If you plan on developing an app, you will find the expensive will mount up quickly. Like stated earlier chatbots can go from simple to complex, depending on your needs a well-developed bot can replace your need for an app
8. Bots don’t have to be downloaded, they live in the cloud. Users don‘t have to wait, as soon as they click the “get started” button they are interacting.
If you’re still not convinced about why an automated chatbot is a business need, then consider the market growth. GM insights stated, “Chatbot Market size was estimated to be over USD 250 million in 2017 and anticipated to grow at a CAGR of over 31% from 2018 to 2024.” Chatbots are a growing trend and with more use in the future, become an early adopter of the technology that will become a norm.