Chatbots have become popular in the digital world, being used on many sites to answer basic questions customers have so they don’t have to wait to speak with a human to get their questions answered. Some chatbots have artificial intelligence, which allows them to understand more complex questions and personalize their responses. Over time, the chatbot’s interactions with customers will improve, because the AI allows it to learn and evolve.
This technology is still fairly new, so most of the chatbots are programmed with a set of rules, that are essentially a list of if-then statements and the appropriate responses to them. Businesses have been able to cut customer service costs by up to 29 percent since chatbots became commonly used.
As the use of chatbots grows, it is predicted that in the next five years, the majority of big businesses will be using chatbots and AI will be handling the majority of user inquiries.
Studies conducted by Ubisend show that 95 percent of people think using chatbots for customers is the biggest benefit chatbots can provide. Another 40 percent do not care if they talk to a chatbot or a human, they just want their issue resolved. These show that people are adapting to the use of chatbots instead of human agents and that they are willing to use them if the bots resolve their issue.
When a chatbot is used correctly and is well-programmed, there are a lot of benefits to your business for using them.
FASTER CUSTOMER SERVICE
Chatbots can answer hundreds of inquiries from customers at a time, and they can be running 24 hours a day. With the right keywords programmed in, a bot can answer questions much quicker than a human, and you’ll have 24-hour customer service on your website.
While they are great for quick customer inquiries, chatbots aren’t perfect. It is a good idea to keep a few human customer service agents on your staff to handle more complex problems that chatbots aren’t programmed to handle and to satisfy the customers who only want to talk to a human agent.
They can also be used to book an appointment, buy tickets to something, or make reservations for you. This convenience is something that customers will appreciate.
PERSONALIZED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES
Chatbots that use machine learning can learn over time what you want, need, and like, so it can give you responses tailored for you personally. This can help make the user’s experience better, meaning they may make referrals to your company, and they will become return customers themselves. People like having a personal touch, so a chatbot that does that is something they’ll like.
Chatbots can record data, metrics, and trends for you allowing you to monitor interactions easily. Using bots can give you real time information on what your customers are wanting or needing, giving you much quicker data.
Since this technology is new, it isn’t perfect yet; there are still things that chatbots can’t do, and they can frustrate customers when the bot isn’t programmed with the answers they want. The simpler chatbots who are programmed with if-then responses just aren’t capable of answering everything. Not getting the answers they want quickly or getting stuck in a loop with the chatbot can frustrate customers.
COMPLEX CHATBOTS ARE EXPENSIVE
If you want a more sophisticated chatbot that has AI and the ability to learn over time, it’s going to cost you much more than then simpler if-then bots. Sometimes, it could cost thousands of dollars more than the simpler bots. Since part of the purpose of the chatbot is to save your company money, spending thousands can seem a little counterproductive.
NOT EVERY BUSINESS CAN USE THEM
Chatbots aren’t going to work for every business. Some businesses are just too complex for a chatbot to handle, even a more sophisticated one. The time and energy required to give the chatbot what it needs to work can outweigh the rewards of the bot.
There are many pros and cons to using chatbots on your websites. The ability to streamline your customer’s requests and have round-the-clock customer support is certainly appealing. But chatbots can also make errors that could cost you, customers, depending on what they say that’s wrong.