Chatbots are all the rage in today’s digital realm. However, you might be wondering you have a valid reason to integrate chatbots into your workflow. There many different reasons to integrate chatbots into your business, some of these reasons include:
- Streamlined Interactions
- Improved Engagement
- Customer Service and much more
In this article, we’ll delve into what a chatbot is and explore the top reasons your business should be using chatbots. Without further adieu let’s explore this topic in further detail.
What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot is a program designed to speak to people over the Internet like a human being. Modern chatbots are no longer just Q & A masters. Today, they can run through messenger apps, mobile apps, websites, and traditional phone lines.
The evolution of chatbots begins with your basic “question and answer” automation process to more advanced conversational AI and NLP. You’ve likely run into chatbots in your personal customer journey. In some cases, you may not have realized it. Today’s tech is advanced enough that a layman can easily mistake a chatbot for an actual person. Chatbots that most consumers are familiar with include:
- Google Assistant
However, democratization of this technology through API’s or SaaS platforms have now given rise to new opportunities apart from big tech.
How Does a Chatbot Work?
Today modern chatbots implement the use of NLP, neural networks, and machine learning to understand human languages, assess appropriate responses, and learn from the scenarios it encounters. From a programmatic level and chatbot uses a human input e.g. text or command. After the input is received the bot uses pattern matching, its database or connected databases, and text classifiers to determine the appropriate response. However, to extend its functionality, smarter chatbots are implementing methods like advanced algorithms, phrase matching, NLU, NLP, and artificial neural networks. Suffice it to say, Chatbots can be incredibly helpful.
Why is a Chatbot Important to Your Business?
Why is a chatbot an essential tool and not just a cool luxury? Aside from the fact that it allows you to describe your business as “AI-infused” all over your homepage in big bold letters, there are many functional reasons. Let’s take a look at these reasons below.
Productivity and Accessibility
50% of customers expect modern businesses to stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More time online also means more access for the customer. After all, it’s always working hours somewhere in the world. A chatbot will allow your business to become more productive even during sleeping hours. For example, a customer may have a support question outside of business hours. A smart chatbot can direct the customer to the solution or appropriate FAQ. If a solution is not available the bot can schedule a call during business hours or create a ticket for the customer.
More Streamlined Interactions
A rising number of young decision-makers prefer buying through an app or a chatbot as opposed to a person. Today’s buyer places ease of purchase and instant gratification as a high priority. Consequently, bots are able to streamline interactions to provide the quickest response and value to the end-user. That being said, a customer no longer has to sort through a plethora of information to make a decision instead, bots can smartly directly the conversation to add the most value as quickly as possible.
For example, a chatbot can present different options to first direct the user to the appropriate sequence. Then based on the user’s input the chatbot can present different scenarios to support the user’s inquiry. Depending on the level of intricacy the bot can potentially direct the user to a specific item to purchase, assist the user with a checkout process, or even start a new insurance plan. There are so many different scenarios that come into play. The key here is that chatbots can help businesses streamline interactions.
Chatbots have been proven to drive higher customer engagement. More time online (24/7) means a business will naturally have higher total engagement. However, engagement with customers also goes deeper. Gartner finds that the average person will have more conversations with bots than with a spouse by the year 2020. Chatbots can also serve as a portal to send customers coupons or link them directly to your e-commerce hub.
Automated & Scaled Customer Service
Newvoicemedia.com found that the number one reason that people hate calling companies is an inability to speak to a person immediately. However, there is no longer a need to hire any more house staff to take care of customer service problems with chatbots. You also move past the need to deal with cheap outsourcing houses from other countries with difficult accents (which the modern decision maker hates, by the way). When chatbots begin to sound like people, the problem of not speaking to a “person” goes away. This is why 80% of businesses that Oracle surveyed are looking to implement chatbots, not a remote customer service center by 2020. Investment in AI for customer service is expected to rise by over 300% according to Forrester.
Being able to address more customers without having to hire more people saves a company money. Chatbots are expected to drive more than $8 billion in operational cost savings by the year 2022. Scaling the customer service experience without increasing labor costs allows a business to focus those funds in other places, including research and development, marketing outreach or operations.
Easier Analysis of the Customer Journey
Chatbots have the ability to link straight into a marketing analysis infrastructure. As bot databases acquire data, they continue to improve through training. The precise nature of machine learning algorithms in chatbots guarantees a certain level of improvement over time that can actually be quantified. Thus, the customer experiences is more likely to improve over time in comparison to a human-powered customer service representative, that may not have the scaling capability to do so.
Just as important, companies no longer have to rely on human data entry error to receive notes on customer service calls. Chatbots can automatically record and analyze calls, placing data securely in a centralized location. If structured properly the program can also virtualize this data to provide consumer insight in real-time.
Advancing Traditional Customer Service
Just because a business is implementing AI-driven chatbots does not mean that it gives up its traditional customer service methods. Chatbots are often used to more quickly and accurately direct calls to the most appropriate human in the company. Additionally, my directing customer service queries to the proper location bots can also allow agents to connect with consumers more quickly and at the appropriate times which inevitably improves the overall consumer experience.
Top Chatbot Providers
Now that you know what a chatbot does and why it may be important for your business, let’s take a look at some of the more popular and well-reviewed options on the market today. Though some of the choices below may seem to have the same feature set, it is always recommended to take advantage of free trials and perform your due diligence to see what platform works best for you.
If you want a hybrid customer service experience that includes bots and humans, Liveperson offers a solution that works well with a scaled human response team. You can use Liveperson for website chat, text messaging, Facebook chat and in-app chat. Liveperson has an open API to integrate seamlessly into any platform you may need. The platform also has a huge store of messaging transcript data, giving your company a headstart when determining customer intent based on industry. The company boasts 20 years of experience with more than 18,000 clients, including many companies that are on the Fortune 500 list.
Ada is a great platform if you want to customize your chatbots without having to learn how to code. This is also a great platform to use if you have an international company, as it speaks in more than 100 languages. If you find an intent that you have trouble answering, you can create a custom response easily in seconds. Users can also track key customer metrics like NPS and CSAT. The platform also includes multi-channel integrations and allows you to track key metrics like the resolution rate and containment rate.
Heyday chatbot succeeds in helping end-users create detailed customer profiles, segmenting customers, and performing sentiment analysis. You can place your customers in conversation funnels through dynamic scripting. The company also has an incredibly informative blog if you want to deepen your knowledge of chatbot usage and design.
LiveChat has one of the most powerful and intuitive user interfaces of any chatbot on this list. It also excels at reporting user statistics, and has a full suite of industry-leading administrative tools. If you have a customer service or marketing team that is not highly technical, this is a great chatbot for your company.
This company one-ups nearly everyone else on this list by offering a free version of its chatbot, which includes live chat and CRM integrations. You can easily manage your contacts in-app, and you can upgrade to customized plans and bots. Overall, you can take advantage of over 1000 integrations of Cliengo depending on the type of business you are in.
At the head of natural language processing is Amazon Lex, which is also one of the easiest chatbot consoles to use. Lex offers one-click deployment to SMS, Slack, Facebook Messenger, and Kik, as well as many other channels. Usage is “pay as you go” with no upfront costs, and you can easily customize your own bot with highly conversational interfaces regardless of the application packages you use.
Dialogueflow offers built-in speech recognition and automatic integration with Google Cloud. This is a huge advantage because users can host directly in this interface with the writing of serverless scripts. Users can also integrate with many other top platforms including Twitter, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Google Assistant, and Slack.
Watson from IBM is a simple user interface to use if you need more than one type of chatbot in your company. It comes with prebuilt intents and dialogue flow templates for certain industries. If you start from the Watson base, you can also branch out to higher-level functions. Once the bot is completed users can easily deploy the bot on any major messaging platform or mobile device on the market.
Bold360 saves you time by automatically importing content from customer knowledge bases, company FAQs and external knowledge sources. Users can create personalized chatbots from these intimate sources of information, but that’s not all. Bold360 also gives you a single node for big data, resolution, digital IVR, search, and guidance.
Final Thoughts on Chat Bots
Now that you understand how to use chatbots for business, we’re confident you can see all the potential this new form of business communication provides. Keep in mind that many companies large and small will be using chatbots by 2020. The great news is you can certainly be one of these companies. Take this opportunity to leverage the power of smart technology by solving small challenges with a chatbot then scale-up from there.