The benefits of Chatbot for business back in the not-so-distant past were considered nothing but gimmicky, giving users some entertainment as they engaged in conversation with the bot at best and a frustrating experience with conversations going on nowhere at worst. In just a few years, chatbot technology has come quite far. It is now an essential part of many businesses' customer experience.
While setting up a chatbot may not be the easiest thing to do, the long-term benefits outweigh that problem - by a long shot. This blog post addresses the benefits of having a chatbot. It perhaps helps you decide whether getting a chatbot is the right choice for your business!
One of the most significant factors contributing to this growth in chatbot tech is the way people have shifted the way they communicate in general. According to a study by Forrester, messaging was the number one customer service channel preferred by consumers in South Korea, Singapore, India, and the US.
Today, we find ourselves connected to the world around us (be it friends, family, or even businesses) more often than not, with the power to connect to pretty much anyone and everyone right at your fingertips. The last decade has also seen massive growth in chat platforms, with everything being accessible directly from a smartphone. With that convenience, it's shifted the way people communicate with each other in general.
Not just that, but with brands also making themselves available on these chat platforms (see Instagram, for example), it's changed the way customers interact with businesses as well. It's no longer the case that people call up companies and wait indefinitely on hold for someone to sort out their problem or send an email that doesn't have a 100% guarantee it'll be responded to on the first try.
Connecting to people has become much easier, and it's no surprise that people expect the same level of convenience while talking to a business. Customers expect answers to their queries and resolutions to their issues in no time. One bad interaction with a company can be enough for a customer not to come back. What's most important to them is finding the easiest and quickest way to resolve issues.
Setting up a chatbot as the first level of interaction with a customer helps you streamline conversations between the business and the customer. Chatbots never get bogged down with queries and offer instant responses to customers. Plus, analyzing conversations offers businesses ways to improve the chatbot experience over time, eventually making the engagement process and responses far smoother and more reliable.
Of course, it's not the case that setting up a chatbot would completely negate the need for human support. However, it can still reduce the time, effort, and cost of having a customer support team. Let's go a bit more in-depth into the benefits of having a chatbot.
Considering the chatbot is the first level of customer interaction with the business. It means you can set the tone and personality for the bot according to the brand's identity. Be it a quirky and informal tone for an e-commerce brand or a more formal and serious tone for a finance company, the way the chatbot responds helps users figure out the tone and personality of the brand.
As rightly quoted by Adelyn Zhou, Head of Marketing, TOPBOTS,
"A customer support bot should empathize with people, even those who might be in the wrong. Just acknowledging and validating an emotion is often enough to make customers feel understood and release negativity, whereas being defensive or argumentative only exacerbates the problem."
Unlike human agents, chatbots are active and available 24/7, making support and conversations available throughout the day, regardless of whether it's 1 AM or the weekend. As mentioned earlier, the main thing customers look for is an instant response/resolution to their queries,. The fact that a chatbot can respond at any time of the day ensures that customers don't end up waiting for someone to get back to them.
In a study by VentureBeat, it was found that 51% expected a business to be available 24/7
While human agents can only focus on a single conversation at a time, chatbots don't have the same limitation. Cognizant reports that 69% of consumers said they'd prefer chatbots for receiving instant responses. Chatbots can answer thousands of different questions simultaneously, never losing track of where they are in a conversation. Regardless of the number of users messaging, chatbots can provide instant responses to multiple customers, ensuring that no customer is left hanging for a response.
Besides automating conversations, chatbots also offer the ability to process data from customers far quicker and far more streamlined than manual entry. The moment the customer gives their information, the bot can process and store that data instantly, regardless of how many customers are messaging and sharing their data at the same time.
Being pre-programmed with exact and specific information and data to share with customers leaves no room for the mix-up in data and never forgets information. The only thing that needs to be accounted for would be what customers are asking for, something new or something that the chatbot isn't programmed to handle. However, as mentioned earlier in the blog, this isn't too difficult a hurdle to overcome. It's easy enough to analyze past interactions and develop the bot to be more robust and be able to handle a wider range of queries and conversations as more customers continue to interact with it.
With chatbots being able to serve multiple customers simultaneously and process data faster, it essentially means that you no longer have to have an army of customer support team members on standby to handle issues as and when they come. Instead, you can have the bot handle most queries (in fact, Invesp states that chatbots can handle up to 80% of the queries customers have for a business and save around 30% of the cost involved).
That means that you can have a chatbot handle a massive chunk of the queries and interactions and employ a smaller team that can take over more complicated conversations or queries you may not have accounted for (or even if a customer prefers to speak to a human in general).
Chatbots are the perfect solution for companies that are scaling up and need a scalable solution not just to handle customer support but also customer inquiries. Besides that, it becomes a more streamlined way to offer services, be it e-commerce, restaurant, or service flows (you can check out the various use cases for chatbots). As a company grows, chatbot solutions make sense to handle conversations at scale without driving up the costs of customer support.