They’re dynamic. Even intelligent. But unlike James Bond, they won’t swill vesper martinis on the job.
Because they’re not human!
Kidding aside, chatbots (and the machine-learning and artificial intelligence behind them) are becoming so sophisticated that many consumers can’t even tell they’re not dealing with a live person.
If you want to learn more about what chatbots are, or how they could benefit your business, keep reading:
What are chatbots?
From virtual assistants to live chat, these automated conversational bots use rules and machine learning to answer customers’ questions, resolve problems, and more. You may interact with chatbots:
- In messaging applications
- On company websites and mobile apps
- Over the telephone
Without getting too technical, some chatbots use true artificial intelligence (and get smarter over time by learning from user conversations), while rules-based chatbots are programmed to respond to specific commands. Both types of virtual agents use algorithms to ensure people get the answers or assistance they need.
Why are chatbots important?
Customers’ service expectations for real-time service are rising, and more business is being conducted virtually. As a result, chatbots will become increasingly important in streamlining communications, enhancing customer experience, heightening customer engagement and improving operational efficiency.
Chances are, your competitors are already adopting service process automation tools like chatbots to meet customers’ needs and expectations. If you don’t provide the fast response, information, and resolution they want, your competition will be more than happy to! Case in point? 57% of customers have stopped buying from a company because a competitor provided a better experience.
How could your business use chatbots?
The applications are as diverse as the businesses in which they are deployed. Here are a few ways companies are using chatbots in customer service, sales, marketing and more:
- Lead generation – use a perky, helpful chatbot to engage potential customers while warming and qualifying sales leads.
- Sales follow up – if a website visitor engages with your e-commerce site’s chatbot, but then leaves without making a purchase, the chatbot can then automatically follow up with a special offer or discount to entice the prospect to come back and buy.
- Data collection – as visitors land on your website and social accounts, chatbots can capture fresh information that will enable you to draw helpful conclusions and further refine your sales and marketing efforts.
- Ongoing customer support – chatbots can be trained to provide real-time answers and basic support to callers and site visitors – and escalate conversations to real people when warranted.
- Improve customer experience during peak periods – if your business is periodically flooded with calls or online requests, chatbots can be programmed to handle simple tasks, properly route callers/visitors, and free up your employees to deal with important, urgent tasks that require human assistance.
- Social engagement – some companies are deploying chat technology on their social media accounts to offer quick replies directly to individuals who comment on posts or message your company directly through the platform.
As Natural Language Processing (NLP) continues to advance, the business applications of conversational bots will undoubtedly explode. But regardless of the specific application or platform you choose, you still need human experts to configure, train, and optimize your chatbot system.
Aside from chatbots, what other tech will be shaping marketing in 2020?
- Read: Digital Marketing Trends We’re Ready for in 2020 to discover the trends that are dominating digital marketing this year.
- Check our blog each week: Over the next several months, we’ll be reviewing hot digital marketing trends and sharing ways your business can capitalize on them to better serve your audience, amplify your message and sell more.
Could a chatbot help improve your business?
Ask BARQAR! Our digital marketing experts will:
- learn about your business and goals
- recommend the most beneficial ways to use service process automation (including chatbots)
- provide insight and tools to really WOW your customers – and build a healthier bottom line.