Customer service is a top priority for any business. You want to provide excellent service to as many customers as possible in the shortest amount of time.

Doing so helps you to generate new customers, bring back old ones, and improve your business’s reputation overall.

There are over 300,000 chatbots on Facebook alone. Click To Tweet

However, as your business grows, so too do the number of customer service requests. If you don’t find an efficient way to handle these requests, you’ll quickly fall behind and start delivering sub-par service. This is where chatbots can come in to help. 

What are Chatbots?

Simply put, a chatbot is a piece of software that can talk to your customers for you. They are one of the fastest-growing customer service channels, with over 300,000 chatbots on Facebook alone.

And the reason for this is clear – customers love them. In fact, 53% of customers are more likely to shop at a business they can message, and  67% of millennials say they are likely to do business with a company that uses chatbots. 

Google has made a lot of advancements in the AI assistant + Chatbot space. They’re already allowing users to create their own chatbots on  their Google Home. Here’s a glimpse of what chatbots will be capable of:

With a chatbot, your customers can send your business a message, and instantly receive an automated response based on their question. With the use of artificial intelligence, chatbots can provide intelligent answers to many of the questions your customers have and get even better over time. 

Benefits of Using Chatbots

Having a chatbot on your website provides benefits for both your business and your customers. Let’s start with the benefits your customers will receive: 

Chatbots For Your Customers

According to 64% of internet users, the best thing about chatbots is that they are always available. Unlike your human customer service agents, who go home at the end of the day and take breaks every few hours, your chatbot never goes home and never gets tired.

This means your customers can get a response to their questions no matter what time of day it is. 

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In addition to the availability, chatbots are also easier to use. If a customer wants to contact your business, they don’t have to waste time finding your customer service email address or phone number. The chat window is available on every page of your website, so your customers can focus on shopping rather than looking for contact information. 

90% of Americans factor in customer service when deciding where to do business and another 90% of customers want an immediate response to their questions. Chatbots make it easier to provide an immediate response, and therefore make your customers happier.  

Chatbots For Your Business

Making your customers happy is a benefit to your business in and of itself, but there are additional benefits for your business. For example, chatbots can save up to 30% in customer support costs.

Since your chatbot will handle a lot of the simpler customer service requests, your agents won’t have to spend time on them. This could allow you to shrink your staff size, or at least make your current agents more efficient. 

a customer support robot
Illustration by Parham Marandi

Another advantage is that you can get ahead of your competition. While chatbots are growing in popularity every day, they are still only used by a small portion of the business community.

According to one study, less than 1% of all B2B businesses use chatbots. If your current competition is using chatbots, adding them to your own business will allow you to catch up. And if they aren’t, chatbots could give you an edge by providing more efficient customer service. 

A List of Chatbots That You Should Try 

Drawbacks of Using Chatbots

Of course, as with anything, there are some drawbacks to using chatbots. The biggest drawback with chatbots is also the biggest selling point – there isn’t an actual person answering the customer service requests.

If a request comes in that is particularly challenging or unique, your chatbot may not be able to answer it properly. Humans are also able to figure out the intent of a message despite things like typos, something chatbots can struggle with. 

A chatbot won't be able to help users with complex issues
Illustration by Francois Denavaut

There’s also the additional cost. If you add a chatbot feature to your website, without reducing your other customer service costs, then you simply need to add the cost of the chatbot on top of everything else. And while chatbots are rather affordable considering the benefits they provide, it’s still something you’ll need to think about. 

How to Decide If Chatbots Are Right for You?

In most cases, a chatbot would likely benefit your website. However, there are a few scenarios under which they may not be the best fit.

Think it’s too hard to build a chatbot? Here’s a quick example of how easy it is to build one (with ActiveChat) from the folks over at Sumo.

 

One example is if your website is still relatively new, and you’re not receiving many service requests as it is. Chatbots work best when there is an abundance of customer requests, helping you by taking care of the simplest ones. 

Another scenario is when your customers are all asking highly specific questions. Chatbots can answer things like “What are your hours?” or “What sizes are available for this shirt?”. If you rely more on big individual accounts, your customer base may have more detailed questions that a chatbot won’t be able to answer. 

Even with these two scenarios though, there may be room for a chatbot. You can have your chatbot pass along questions it can’t answer to a human representative, thereby ensuring that customers who need individual help still get it. In the end, whether chatbots are right for your business is about the needs of your customer base and weighing any additional costs. 

Choosing the Right Chatbot

If you decide that you want a chatbot on your website, there are a few key features to look for. First, look for a chatbot that is based on AI, rather than rules.

Rules-based chatbots are more limited, while ones that use AI can learn about your customers over time and provide higher-quality responses. 

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You should also look for chatbots that can integrate well with your current stack. Your chatbot should be able to pull information about customers from your CRM, pass along support tickets to your ticketing software and even send out emails.

Another good integration is with Facebook Messenger, as you can then talk to people when they visit your Facebook page. Gif of facebook messenger bot

Consider Chatbots for Your Business

As your business grows, you’ll start to have a harder time providing quality customer service if you don’t have good systems in place. Chatbots can handle a large bulk of the work, allowing your human reps to use their time more efficiently.

They are becoming increasingly popular, with one study predicting that by 2020, 85% of all consumer interactions will take place without a human agent.

If you want to continue to provide high-quality service to your customers, while increasing the efficiency of your team and keeping up with your competitors, now is the time to consider adding chatbots to your business.

Is Your Business Considering Using a Chatbot? 

Chatbots are now becoming a strong part of a company’s marketing strategy. Do you think you’ll be able to implement them for your business? Let us know waht you think in the comments below.

Author Jeffrey Fermin

Jeffrey is in charge of marketing here at Raw Shorts — where we help businesses of all sizes maximize their video efforts.

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