Chatbots are considered the next big thing after apps. With businesses going online and communication and engagement becoming a norm, the chatbot is another tool that can be leveraged to grow your business.
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By 2020, more than 50% of medium and large enterprises are set to use chatbots in their business operations, according to a forecast. The demand for chatbots leads us to examine what they have to offer.
What does a chatbot offer to a business?
Chatbots have a lot to offer to businesses in terms of their applications and use cases. But the essence of it is two-fold.
- A chatbot, like any computer program, is faster, less error-prone and can process more than a human can.
- Chatbot, being an intelligent system, has an added advantage in its ability to learn, understand and respond to humans.
This lets us delegate tasks to chatbots that we previously couldn’t to leave to computers. So here’s how chatbots help in business.
Specialize bots to perform repetitive tasks:
Bots can perform repetitive tasks quickly and more efficiently than humans can. An obvious statement, but let’s understand better with an example.
Company X provides transportation to all its employees leaving after 8 pm. To avail this, the employee has to mail the support team the time they’re leaving and their address. The support team schedules the cabs on a sharing basis with the other employees heading out in that direction around the same time and responds to the request.
It is a great initiative that encourages working beyond the hours without worrying about the commute. The drawbacks of the system, the correspondence takes time for the employer and the support team has to dedicate time and resources everyday.
A chatbot can be specialized to handle the same, in this case, a support bot. An employee staying late can drop a message to the support bot stating the time they will head out (the support bot can store the previous drops)*. The bot then collates all the incoming data to assign cabs automatically and update the employees. The process now needs bare minimum human intervention, saving time for all the parties involved.
Enhance engagement through a chatbot:
Customer engagement and satisfaction can directly reflect in sales in B2C companies.
Consider an e-commerce app or website, there is provision to search, sort and filter, but it takes time and is not always accurate, especially with the numerous categories, brands and features. A user wants to buy ‘purple running shoes’ and looks for it in the search bar and lands at about a hundred products, that may or may not be purple. The alternative is to look for running shoes and pick the required color in the filter after going through all the filter parameters like brand, size, discount, features, etc.
By using a chatbot, let’s call it a salesbot, the buyer can ask for a specific product, state the requirements and choose from the options narrowed down by the chatbots. The conversation can go as follows:*
Another advantage of having a salesbot, you can make customer engagement that was reactive (due to resource constraint), proactive instead. The salesbot can drop an alert about a price drop if the purchase was not made, a notification if it was out of stock but is now available, or a prompt to look at purple coats.
Let’s go back to the previous example of cab assignment for employees staying late, and make the interaction proactive. The support bot drops a text to the employee staying late and ask when he/she plans to leave and carry out the rest of the process.* The quality of engagement is undeniably higher.
8 ways your business can benefit from a chatbot:
While the above section outlines how chatbots add value to your business, there are several side benefits of integrating chatbots. These benefits are on par with, if not overweighing the value added by chatbots.
Chatbots can be available 24×7, all 365 days of the year while humans assigned the same task work in shifts and require breaks. Your business can make customer support, helpdesk or a virtual concierge available for your customers at all times.
The ability to parallelly process and complete tasks enable the chatbot to finish the work in a fraction of time that humans require to do the same. A bot can clear them up in hours whereas a human operator would take days if not weeks to complete the task.
As mentioned in the above examples, a chatbot can process large volumes of requests or tasks that is humanly impossible or requires a dedicated team to deliver. A salesbot can engage all the buyers online and work to close the sale in each case.
4. Scale operations:
A bot can carry out, say a hundred conversations with ease where its human counterpart can manage at most five. This means an increase in an operational capacity.
5. Low cost and maintenance:
Chatbots require low to minimum maintenance and support to perform with the same efficiency consistently. A bot obviously costs lesser, especially so as it can complete the work of an entire team.
6. Customer insight and data:
A bot can record the user’s conversation (for internal evaluation and reporting) while processing and responding to the users. This gives a huge amount of actionable data and gives more insight as to what the users are looking for and expecting from your business.
7. Platform independent:
One additional advantage of using a chatbot is that it can be integrated across different platforms to give the same functionality. So a business can offer support on their website, app or through messaging apps without needing additional resources or costs.
8. Efficient talent management:
Almost 80% of customer queries are repetitive or redundant and don’t need human involvement to satisfy the customer. While most of the benefits listed above compare the performance of the bot with humans, the intention is not to replace humans with bots, rather use their talent to drive efficiency and productivity.