Have you been hearing about chatbots but you’re not sure what they really are? Are you confused about why you would want a robot to help you with your business?

What are Chatbots?

If you are trying to automate your business, implementing chatbots is another step in that process. Think of chatbots as an automatic customer service tool. Chatbots can be as simple as an auto response in Facebook Messenger to say, “thanks, we’ve received your message and will get back to you shortly.” On the more advanced side, you can program chatbots to respond in a certain way to specific keywords. That means the chatbot could answer customer questions based on what is asked.

Chatbots come in a variety of mediums from social messaging in platforms like Twitter and Facebook to chat windows in websites to SMS texting. Chatbots are a great way to step up your customer service by ensuring that your customers get an automatic response. We live in a world where people expect instant gratification. A chatbot is a great way to give your customers a quick answer, resolve a complaint, or give more information to a customer.

Chatbots can streamline customer interactions for your business. They are convenient and helpful for your customers but they are also a great addition to growing your business.

How Chatbots Can Help Your Business

Modern businesses rely on automation. Generally, customers are happy to interact with a brand through chat instead of calling a customer service number. You can also see this shift in retail stores implementing self checkout options and instant article recommendations.

Many of the questions a business is asked have standard answers. This means automating answering those questions is a great way to streamline your business. Imagine being able to direct a customer to a helpful article instead of using your employees’ time to answer a basic question. Automating conversations will save time and money, save your employees answering basic questions and give your customers the answer immediately. It’s a win-win.

Chatbots for Customer Support

If a chatbot is unable to answer questions, they can be utilized to collect information to streamline support. Imagine your customer service team knowing the problem going in and already having a solution. You are able to ask qualifying questions to give your customer the best experience.

You can also use a chatbot to respond 24/7 and set realistic expectations. Do you close at 5pm? No problem, customers will still be able to ask questions whenever is convenient to them. You can set an automatic response for the bot to tell the customer when they can expect to hear from you with an answer.

A five step approach to introducing a chatbot

  1. Clearly define the role of the chatbot – Chatbots always need to be defined by what they will and will not offer information or resources about. Clearly define this role before you build out your chatbot. For example, identify the five most commonly asked questions, or the hottest support articles your customer base links to.
  2. Position your chatbot in the right social channel – If no one ever asks you questions on Facebook, it would be silly to spend energy and resources to create one for Facebook. Evaluate where your questions and concerns come from, and focus there.
  3. Create conversation flow and maps – Language is complex and any ten people can ask about the same topic ten different ways. This is where you will spend a significant amount of energy designing dialog flow and variation messaging. Ensure what you find responses for when your chatbot is unable to provide an answer based on the input given, for example: “Hey, I am just missing what you’re looking for. Could you rephrase how I can help?”
  4. Test, collect, analyze data – Some businesses may find it easier to soft launch the chatbot to obtain data about its real world use. This is a great strategy to test a chatbot before full implementation. Be sure to test with people who come from backgrounds, linguistic abilities and intentions that are similar to what you expect your market to.
  5. Revisions – It is live, but the work is not done yet. Our recommendation is to provide early deployment and semi-supervised learning to allow you to adjust the interactions over time with real users. The benefits of tweaking conversational linguistics over time will keep the bot from going off-category and eliminating frustration from your customer.

A big downfall in the introduction of chatbots in todays business strategy is closing the gap between automation based responses and allowing your customer base to finally speak with a human when they need to. When you implement chatbot make sure that they are providing service for your customers. Don’t just leave your customers on an infinite frustrating loop with your brand new chatbot!

Want to find out more about chatbots and how they can help your business? Set up a consult!