Chatbot has become one of the most sought-after components in today’s business models. Whether the business is leaning towards retail or is a customer service provider, the demand for chatbot has increased over the past few years. With the advent of high-technology and the popularity of social media, chatbot is gradually but surely becoming a necessity for businesses rather than just feature or luxury.
What is chatbot? Chatbot can simply be defined as a computer program that simulates human responses, thus creating a realistic conversation with live customers and clients, most commonly online. The main purpose of chatbot is to interact with customers, whether providing information about products, processing sale, or logging complaints.
While businesses can retain traditional interaction with customers such as face-to-face interaction or the utilization of a call center, there are a lot of reasons to shift to, or add, chatbot to the existing tools of the company. The benefits ripple out from the companies that uses its service, up to their customers, thus resulting to increase of revenue and efficiency. Here are the top 10 benefits of using the chatbot service.
1. 24/7 Availability
Unlike real human beings, Chatbot does not have off days. It doesn’t even need lunch and coffee breaks. The best part of it is it doesn’t log out after eight hours of work. The company doesn’t have to pay it for overtime. It is a win-win situation for both the company and customers who needs a company that can be reached out to anytime.
Another aspect in this regard is that customers who interacts with chatbot is not placed on hold and does not have to wait for an available agent. Chatbot software are able to communicate with multiple customers at the same time with accuracy and efficiency, saving customers’ time.
Speaking of time-saving capabilities, chatbot can provide real-time assistance to simple requests such as transaction inquiries, update of customer information, and other simple transactions such as processing payments.
Imagine the cost of hiring resources just to accommodate the influx of inbound customers 24/7. A company should hire large amount of people to ensure that customers wouldn’t have to wait for a long time to be serviced. Overtime pays have to be paid for those that needs to stay for a while longer due to increased customer volume. With chatbot, even the number of human resources can be diminished since chatbot can facilitate most of the tasks done by human representatives. With chatbot, only those that needs further, or more complex support will be handled by actual human representatives. It means less people to pay without sacrificing the quality of customer service.
Another cost avoided through the use of chatbot is the cost of human error. Oftentimes companies shell out money to compensate for losses incurred due to human mistakes. There are times that these errors do not just mean monetary loss, but also loss of trust from a particular client and his circle of influence. These cases are avoided by providing accurate and consistent response and processes.
3. Improved Customer Service
Not only does chatbot maintain the quality of customer service but actually improves it. Especially in the online shopping realm, customers easily get lost or have no patience to navigate through the website to find what they are looking for. Chatbots can provide them all the information they need accurately and instantly to make an informative decision. Even other processes such as payments, delivery, and complaints are handled perfectly by chatbot to the customers’ satisfaction and to the company’s benefit.
Another improvement is the proactiveness of chatbot response to customers. Current customer service models are not capable of being proactive in their interactions, meaning they have to know what the customer needs before they can help.Chatbot enables interaction with the customer, even with just simple information like sales and discounts. It is also able to ask for customer feedback right after a sale or a performed service.
Chatbot also removes all the negative emotions that human representatives have to promote a positive interaction. Human representatives have emotions that sometimes they project during interaction with the customers. When these emotions exude negativity, it affects customer experience in a bad way, thus affecting the company’s image overall. These incidents are avoided through the use of chatbot.
The most important part of customer service improvement is the consistency of information and response given to customers. One of the most common frustration of customers is the inconsistency of responses and procedures told by human representative due to different interpretation and poor data collection. Chatbot removes all of those problems by having a universal response and process to each scenario, no matter how unique it might seem.
4. Customer Engagement Is Encouraged
One of the best ways of marketing today is brand awareness. There are a lot of platforms where a company can further make their brand name known to people. Social media is one of the best ways to do it. Chatbot can engage interaction with customers through social media, making the company have an increased customer-friendly appeal. The chatbot can interact to customers through posts and chat. While chatbot responses are precise and direct to the point, it is program to respond to even the silliest of inquiries, and most of the time also with great humor. This type of interaction increases the company’s popularity organically through “shares” and “likes”.
During regular interaction through human representatives, information provided to customers are usually more than what they ask, at times irrelevant. This increases the possibility of the customer getting overwhelmed and leave. Through chatbot, the information given is based on customer interaction, keeping the customer engaged, making the interaction longer and keeping it relevant until the customer gets what he needs.
The most highlighted feature of chatbot in terms of increased customer engagement is a higher open rate compared to email. Messaging apps are more likely to be opened than email because of instant accessibility and immediate reply. There is no need for customers to go through their inbox, reply, and wait for the company’s response, which at times also contains irrelevant information. Messaging apps are fast, and direct-to-the-point, providing only the information the customer needs.
5. Availability of Customer Data
One of the challenges faced by human representative is the gathering of accurate and valuable information about clients each call. Due to the subjectivity of the human thought process, there are some information that are misclassified and sometimes not obtained at all. Since chatbot is a software, it can be programmed to diligently gather information, classify and interpret it with accuracy and efficiency. Aside from the information gathered from the interaction, chatbot can also track customer and potential customer behavior through user data.
The information gathered, and the consumer behavior observed through chatbot can now be used efficiently to make marketing decision that benefits both customers and the company. Increased customer satisfaction often translates to higher customer base and stronger customer loyalty.
6. Maximum Online Visibility
Since chatbot is a program, it can be integrated to any of the most popular platforms in social media today. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are some of the most viable platforms where a company can accumulate online presence and interact with customers. More often than not, people don’t want to be annoyed by unsolicited emails or phone calls. By being active in these platforms, people can see the company without annoyed or have the feeling of getting disturbed. People might take a peek on what the company can offer through their accounts without feeling pressured into making a decision immediately.
Messaging apps such as Messenger, Kik, WhatsApp and Viber can also create increased customer awareness without the customer feeling invaded or phished. Chatbot acquires information such as phone numbers and accounts to be able to send short yet precise messages about upcoming and existing promotions including the link that the customer can click at if they want more information. This ensures that the customer and potential customers have not lost their personal space and have the means to access the information at their most convenient time and without undue pressure.
7. Convenient Global Reach
Through the use of social media, any business can have a global reach easily, being accessible to anywhere in the world. The challenge would be to cater to inquiries and other transaction which has to be done internationally. For a company, the initial challenge would be communication, especially for those countries with high potential but has poor knowledge of the English language. In a traditional setting, a company will hire multilingual customer service representatives which are very expensive nowadays.
Chatbot can be programmed to accommodate multiple languages and time zones with a fraction of the cost of hiring human representatives. It will have the same efficiency and accuracy despite communicating through different languages. Breaking the language barrier is the primary objective in saturating a foreign market. This is already a big step in positioning the company globally.
In a traditional setting, a company has different departments that handle sales, marketing, and inbound customer interaction. In the company’s side, this set-up costs a lot and tedious to operate. Updates are cascaded to separate departments which at times have different implementation. On the customer’s end, a person that wants to inquire about products has to call a number or go to a particular area different from if they need to make an actual purchase. They are also routed to a different number or location if they need to complain about something. Through chatbot, everything can be done through a single program.
Chatbot can accommodate inquiries, process transactions, and handle complaints all the same time. A person who would want to inquire about a product, make a purchase, and have a complaint about something he previously purchased will no longer have to make three separate phone calls or be transferred multiple times. It also saves the company resources and time as three separate tasks are processed by a single software.
Chatbot can also adapt almost immediately to changes in the company structure. A change of industry, for example, is not too much of an issue to chatbot as all that is needed to do is programming it to cater to the demands of the current industry, something a highly-trained software engineer can easily do.
9. Fast Implementation
Speaking of changes, not only it is easy for chatbot to adapt to change, it can also be up and running after undergoing changes. During changes, companies undergo a lot of movement of employees. Some are relieved of their duties, then some are hired. There are a lot of trainings that has to be done and there has to be a learning curve for everyone to get used to the changes.
Through chatbot, all of these delays are eliminated. As soon as the changes are integrated to the system, it can be implemented and operational as soon as possible. There is no need for training, for new employees, and dismissal of existing ones. There would only be minor changes on physical arrangements. Again, it also costs a way lot less.
10. Automation of Repetitive Tasks
Through chatbot, human resource can be utilized for more productive and efficient workload. The easy and repetitive tasks can be assigned to chatbot, such as providing information readily available to customers, processing payments and purchases, and providing simple solutions to common issues faced by customers. Employees can be assigned more meaningful and productive roles that with all that simple tasks removed from their job description.
Let’s say in the customer service role, chatbot can handle simple inquiries and simple transactions, and customers would only get routed to representatives for really complicated complaints. Human interaction would only be required for transactions that needed override like refund or application of discounts and such. For sales, chatbots can do most retail transactions and the representative would only be needed for VIP customers or corporate customers that make purchases by the bulk.