10 Chatbot Benefits and How to Master Their Use
Are you on the fence about investing in a chatbot? We get it, they can be expensive and a lot of work. But for many companies, it’s completely worth it.
Chatbots and AI received a major facelift in recent years. The once futuristic-yet-a-pain-in-the-butt digital assistants are being fueled with more data to better serve customers and drive sales.
Is it worth the time and money investment? It depends on your industry and company needs. But today’s sophisticated bot infrastructures have a lot to offer that most businesses can benefit from.
Here are the standout chatbot benefits for you and customers.
Gives your company a voice
If face-to-face contact is infrequent or just not possible with your customers, then creating a chatbot is a great opportunity to shape your brand image.
Some companies use a chatbot as their company mascot. Hipmunk is an example of this; the travel website turned their mascot into a Facebook bot to help travelers book accommodations.
Hipmunk is a cute chipmunk that uses word abbreviations and the occasional slang to create a casual atmosphere.
There’s a good balance between receiving quick, accurate results and charming “conversation.”
Sadly, Hipmunk shut down in January 2020. Though the travel site and its chatbot are no longer around, Hipmunk will be remembered as one of the first successful creators of an effective chatbot mascot that hooked customers and stood out among competitors.
These are elements that take a considerable amount of work to develop and perfect, but can have a profound impact on your company image.
Increases customer engagement
Chatbots respond instantly and are capable of having conversations in real-time. They’re a huge step up from phone trees, which require callers to wait through an exhaustive list of commands and are very limited in what they understand.
This instant contact is what helps drive more customer engagement on your website. Responsive chatbots that are loaded with website data can be of valuable help to your customers — from making product recommendations to guiding visitors through your site.
Customers value this speed and convenience, especially when approached during a time of need. Research shows that customers are more likely to engage with chatbots when they have an emergency or need a quick answer .
If your chatbot is in the right place at the right time, you have the chance to directly impact your customers’ buyer journey .
Navigating a new website can also be overwhelming and customers may run into speed bumps and become indecisive along the way. This is an optimal opportunity for a chatbot to send a proactive message to the customer and offer help.
Customers will then have more clarity about what you offer and how to take the necessary steps forward.
Automates repetitive, simple work
Chatbots are not meant to replace your service agents, but they do make great assistants.
Tasks like scheduling appointments or sending reminders can be automated through a chatbot. Companies have reported that chatbots helped reduce their customer service costs and improved response times by solving simple requests.
Chatbots are now capable of many new actions, such as sending or receiving emails on your behalf, collecting and confirming contracts, checking shipment statuses and canceling or making orders.
But one of the biggest automation benefits is collecting feedback. Unhappy customers will likely abandon your business without letting you know, which takes away your chance to make it right.
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You can use a chatbot to ask the user to rate your service at the end of a conversation or transaction and leave a comment. It’s convenient for the customer and gives your business instant results.
Pairs well with live chat
Chatbots can assist your live chat agents by forwarding them messages sent outside of service hours and alerting them when site errors occur.
Your chatbot can also be used to approach customers who are spending an ample amount of time on your site. This will not only help boost engagement, but also make it easier for agents to speak to valuable leads since chatbots do all the filtering for them.
As a result, your agents will have fewer distractions when handling difficult issues and requests.
From here, your chatbot functions as another operator on your team. You can give it a name, set its behavior mode and assign it to an operator group.
Monitors consumer data and gains insights
Chatbots are helpful in accurately monitoring data and gaining insight into your customer’s habits.
You can program a chatbot to track metrics like search terms, customer engagement, user satisfaction and purchasing habits. This is a lot easier than combing through chat histories and site data to create reports.
Since chatbots make it so easy to collect useful data, you’ll be able to make quicker and more accurate decisions concerning your user experience.
Everything is instant
Chatbots respond faster than an automated customer service email can say, “We’ll get back to you within 24 hours.”
Customers can count on quick results and answers with a chatbot. If you invest time into feeding it relevant data, then your website becomes a self-serve station for customers.
Besides answering common questions, chatbots can help customers with issues that tend to pop up during checkout. If a customer has shipping concerns, your chatbot can clear the air. For more serious issues, like transaction trouble, your chatbot can forward the customer to a human agent.
For indecisive customers, chatbots can help make product suggestions based on the customer’s purchase history or by asking a few questions about their needs.
Chatbots are also incapable of having their hands tied — they can assist many customers at once. This means a customer doesn’t have to wait long for responses and can speak to the chatbot at their convenience.
When your customers need help or are shopping on-the-go, a chatbot can be their portable digital helper. No matter if they’re browsing your website or app, chatbots are easily available.
This convenience makes it easy for customers to pick up conversations whenever it suits them. And since chatbots are often available via mobile, customers can access them wherever they are.
Chatbots can also make their availability known through messages, updates and push notifications. For example, Capital One’s “Eno” bot is quick to message users about suspicious bank activity or to confirm transactions.
If there’s a late night emergency, users can use Eno to solve their issue without having to wait on hold or visit their local branch the next day.
For a lot of people, talking to a chatbot may be easier than speaking with a customer service rep. Not because they’re great conversation partners, but because there’s less pressure to be engaged.
Customers can skip the formalities when talking to a bot and use blunt responses. It might be considered rude in live chat, but it makes things easier for a bot that depends on keywords to perform well.
When you can skip greetings, goodbyes and thank yous, conversations become a lot quicker and easier for your customers.
Chatbot exchanges can also be a lot more fun. If you create a persona for your bot, try sprinkling some humorous quips or jokes into its script — if it suits your business image, of course.
Direct and personal
Chatbots may not be able to read through the lines or pick up on nuances, but they can still make a customer feel cared for.
Much like live chat agents, chatbots can address customers by name, access their account and make personalized suggestions based on the customer’s profile or search history.
If your company has an app, you can connect your chatbot so customers receive personalized messages and push notifications.
Proactive bots also help break the ice when visitors are browsing your site, much like an in-store assistant. This shows the customer that you’re available and ready to assist at any time, which can be comforting during checkout or while looking at size charts.
Customers aren’t quick to ask questions or actively seek out customer service while browsing, so it helps to make your contact information easily available.
User experience designers learned that visitors have trouble navigating websites that use unclear marketing terms to label their pages. You risk losing customers if it takes too much time to find an answer.
Cue chatbots. They essentially live on every page of your website, often sitting idly by in the corner. If a customer wants to speak directly to an agent about your products, they can redirect them right away.
Cutting down the steps your customers need to take to speak to you is more likely to keep them interested.
Are these chatbot benefits useful for my business?
Chatbots are a huge investment, so it’s understandable if you’re still not sure if it’s right for your business. Check out our post “8 Ways to Know if You Need a Chatbot For Your Business” to get a better idea if it’s right for you.
Service-heavy industries like travel, retail and financial services should strongly consider creating a chatbot. It will likely help ease the workload on your agents and get your sales and engagement out of a plateau.
To learn more about the chatbot creation process, check out our posts “11 Step Process for a Great Chatbot Design,” “6 Steps for Creating a Smooth Chatbot Conversation Flow” and “5 Steps to a Catchy Bot Name.”