To Bot or Not? Is a Chatbot Right for Your Business
With chatbots a major focal point of 2019 digital marketing strategies, we explore their effectiveness, their limits and the process of selecting an effective system.
Contemporary digital tech offers a plethora of options for those looking to streamline and optimise online business processes. With automation being one of the hottest topics in this sphere over the last couple of years, what was once only available in a stretch of the imagination is now readily on-hand for anybody looking to explore growth possibilities. As digital marketing continues to develop at a rapid pace and innovative new tools become available to the general public, exciting opportunities continue to present themselves.
A key aspect of automation that has grown sizeably is that of chatbots. Designed to provide online customer service, these programs are purposed to assist people in a multitude of ways on social media, on business websites and in e-commerce. While stigma surrounding chatbots have somewhat restricted the uptake of this feature in business, fast advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning and the adoption by many large corporations have proven the effectiveness and general acceptance in the online realm.
As chatbots have become more and more common to see in everyday life, a number of businesses have found themselves considering whether this feature is right for them. Understanding where this tool is appropriate and what is possible with a chatbot can help a company make an informed decision about this revolutionary concept.
The Benefits of Chatbots
The major benefits of chatbots lay in their capacity to improve efficiency. With advanced chatbots able to handle many customer enquiries, via Facebook or a website for example, they reduce the need for an employee to be on hand to respond. This opportunity not only frees up time but can improve customer service due to fast response times.
Advanced chatbots can also offer a multitude of benefits within businesses. With implementation, there are available features that can enable this technology to serve in data management, internal communication and operations management.
Chatbots are appropriate and accepted in social media, as seen in Facebook’s Messenger Bots, and are now commonly featured in popular websites as an enhancement of the customer experience (which you can check out for yourself on Air New Zealand’s website). Their effectiveness, however, remains subject to their development, making choosing the right one for your business imperative.
What Could Go Wrong with Chatbots
Because chatbots are on the frontline of the business, there is a risk that customers may be subjected to a bad or ‘glitchy’ experience. This threat makes choosing the program for your business and how you implement it into the digital experience of your company essential to its success. It’s crucial to remember that a chatbot won’t be replacing your customer service team, it’s complementing it. Effective chatbots are monitored by company personnel and are continually serviced to ensure the best results from the AI.
Choosing the right chatbot, therefore, means that you need to look at a program that allows you to regularly optimise it. Improvements will always need to be made and to choose a technology that will remain stagnant would be a mistake. Chatbots, as mentioned, also need to have a function that connects customers with a real employee and vice versa. This will help your business avoid any possible hiccups.
With chatbot capabilities no longer restricted to the customer experience, it’s also beneficial to go with technology that is able to be integrated with your other marketing systems. Through this, you will have the capacity to gather and analyse data better, improving much of your business processes over time.
The Stigma Surrounding Chatbots Should be Left in 2018
Choosing a chatbot for your business isn’t a straightforward process. Your decision will rest on your current systems, your capacity for growth and your expectations from your software. While chatbots are predominantly in the sensitive area of customer service, it’s important to consider that this technology shouldn’t be considered a total overhaul of current protocol, but rather a way to improve and continue growing an area of opportunity. The best chatbots are those that are paired with the right systems to deliver a comprehensive approach to customer service, one that promotes efficiency and learning.