The business value of Chatbots

Communication has changed a lot over the last decade or so. We’ve come a long way from picking up the phone to simply sending a message via a messaging app. In fact, messaging is the way most people communicate today. So, it’s quite obvious that the average customer would want businesses communicating with him/her using the same channel. Unfortunately, most businesses out there don’t seem to get this. Many of them still insist on using email or phone calls.

Sadly, research shows that these methods only deliver a 5% conversion rate, and this means that 95% of the customers being targeted out there are completely ignored. Businesses need to realize that we’ve reached an era of fast follow-ups and messaging is the only method that can meet the requirement.

But, is there a system that can keep the customer engaged in real-time and provide more value than a traditional email or phone call? Well, there is and it’s called a Chatbot.

A chatbot is a service designed to simulate human conversations, generally over the Internet, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning. In other words, a chatbot is a service that can have a conversation with you just like a real person. And since it uses AI, the more ‘conversations’ the chatbot engages in, the more intelligent it becomes.

Whilst it is likely that you have already heard about chatbots mostly in the context of customer service, chatbots aren’t just here to help businesses offer better customer support. The service offered could be a number of things, ranging from functional to fun, and can actually play a key role in the overall sales process. Let’s see how.

  • Chatbots can take orders

Chatbots don’t just transfer data. They are AI-powered programs that are capable of much more. Recently, popular fast food chain Taco Bell, proved this by developing a chatbot that could specifically take orders from customers, thereby automating the sales process.

The bot was called ‘Tacobot’ and it enabled users to place their orders online through messages sent via the Slack platform. In other words, the bot replaced human sales agents and proved to be far more efficient in carrying out its tasks.

  • Chatbot can be influencers

Sales can be a complicated function and sometimes, businesses are simply overwhelmed with the number of customers they have to deal with. Chatbots can serve as a unique solution to this problem. Some businesses are already using chatbots to influence buyer decisions.

Recently, H&M developed a bot that would ask customers questions regarding their particular taste or style. Based on the information it acquired, the chatbot would deliver options to the customer. Not only did the bot offer relevant suggestions, it even served as a 24×7 sales assistant.

  • Chatbots enable real-time engagement

Chatbots can answer queries in real-time and the best part is, they can handle a large number of queries from multiple customers. They can even be programmed and trained to understand FAQs or other key questions in order to provide the exact solutions.

To take things further and as technology evolves, it is possible to even lend a face, voice and a personality to chatbots, which will only make engagement with customers easier.

Chatbots are a powerful and efficient communication tool which ultimately empower your customers to solve their problems quickly and ideally all on their own. Chatbots are also a great back up for employees to handle repetitive tasks and are cost-effective, easy to implement, maintain and use.

In the long run, this will make your company appear more efficient, feel as if it is one step ahead of the competition and at the same time improve your brand perception.

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