Chatbots — What You Need to Know

When you call a company’s customer service number, the last person you expect to hear on the other end of the line is the company’s CEO. Why? Because they’ve delegated the task of solving your issue or answering your question to someone better suited to quickly serve you. The CEO’s time is better spent elsewhere in serving and growing their company. So why shouldn’t the same principle apply to you?

You don’t need to have a Fortune 500 company to have a customer service department. You don’t even need to hire another person! Your business can provide a friendly online welcome or “how can I help?” to your customers, 24/7 and 365 days a year, all without you having to lift a finger. How? Chatbots.

Chatbots aren’t Scary

First, let’s define a chatbot. “A chatbot (also known as a talkbot, chatterbot, Bot, IM bot, interactive agent, or Artificial Conversational Entity) is a computer program which conducts a conversation in natural language via auditory or textual methods, understands the intent of the user, and sends a response based on business rules and data of the organization.” (techtarget.com)

You might be thinking, “Who wants to talk to a robot?” And the answer might surprise you. In a 2018 study done by three different companies, 69% of participants preferred getting quick answers to questions through a chat with a company’s chatbot over waiting on customer service; and 60% of participants said they’ve used a chatbot mechanism in the past 12 months. The same study also found that there isn’t a generation gap with chatbots. Baby boomers and millennials agree that chatbots are a help and not a hindrance—and baby boomers are actually more on board than younger millennials!

Chatbots aren’t Limiting

Chatbots are meant to make your life easier, so you can tailor them to your specific business needs. Simple chatbots are usually programmed with the top questions your business gets from its customers. For example, if you’re on Facebook (we hope you are!), you can set up a chatbot to automatically respond to visitors if they try to get in touch with your company through Facebook chat. According to Medium.com, “about 90% of questions sent from Facebook business pages remain unanswered,” so this is an excellent way to beat that statistic! More robust forms of chatbots use AI to actually interact with your customers and adapt to their conversations and questions. This allows them to handle more delicate tasks like scheduling a service call or offering alternative purchasing options for items that may be out of stock.

Chatbots aren’t Your Replacement

Even though chatbots are convenient and constantly available, your customers still want to hear from you! Chatbots, when used well, should make your life easier and give your customers a more streamlined communication process with your company. Think of a chatbot as a receptionist, filtering communication to the correct departments or individuals. They allow you to efficiently assist your customers, which in turn will boost your company’s satisfaction rating as your customers sing your praises. Your customers may need you after office hours and chatbots can offer customers a quick line to you, but they will never replace the key factor of your business: you.

If you’d like to learn more about chatbots and how you can put them to work for you and your business, contact the Marbury team today at group@marburycreativegroup.com!

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