What is a chatbot?
Chatbots are programs that simulate real interactions with users via a chat interface. Powered by rules and artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots carry out "conversations" with people, perform a vital service in online interactions, save businesses time and money, and enhance the customer experience.
How does a chatbot work?
Chatbots provide human-like responses to customer queries via a combination of machine learning and pre-defined scripts. Over time, chatbots “learn” new answers to frequently asked questions by gathering data from previous exchanges, reducing programming expenses, and improving customer service.
Chatbots operate independently from their human engineers. However, if a chatbot receives a question it doesn’t understand, it can direct the conversation to a live operator or help desk to answer. If the new question repeats often enough, the answer can be added to the chatbot’s script database, enabling the chatbot to grow in relevance and capacity.
13 chatbot benefits
Chatbots provide customers with a seamless omnichannel experience that increases conversions. Companies across sectors have already introduced the technology into their operations, and the growth of chatbots shows no sign of slowing down.
In fact, the chatbot market is projected to grow from $2.6 billion in 2019 to $9.4 billion by 2024. If you’re unsure whether chatbots have a place in your business, here are just a few benefits…
1. Save money and time
Implementing chatbots is an investment. But over time, they can help your business optimise customer service costs by reducing hiring employees requiring additional infrastructure, training, and salary expenses.
Chatbots act as a first line of defence, speeding customers through common support issues. This filtering capability directs only the most challenging problems into the hands of live agents. Additionally, chatbots can take care of simple tasks like booking appointments or purchasing without human intervention.
2. Offer 24/7 customer service
Does your business have support staff that works around the clock? Most don’t. If you require 24/7 customer support (especially if you’re servicing global time zones) but have financial constraints, chatbots enable you to employ less staff working nights, weekends, and holidays.
3. Be multilingual
Chatbots can also converse in multiple languages for companies that serve customers worldwide. You can program multilingual chatbots to respond to international customers, enabling your business to expand worldwide from any location without investing in specialised labour.
4. Scale customer support
If your business is expanding rapidly, chatbots allow you to efficiently scale your customer support efforts. Business growth can be costly, requiring employee training and infrastructure expenses. You can scale chatbots easily, servicing thousands of customers automatically, whereas recruiting new customer support agents takes time.
5. Personalise customer experiences
You can program a chatbot to ask for a customer’s first name, creating a personalised experience that resonates with most people and softens the “robotic” experience. After the first chat, stored data allows the chatbot to remember the customer’s details for future interactions.
6. Improve customer engagement
Customer loyalty starts with engagement. Creating chatbots with personality (and even a sense of humour) helps establish a rapport and connection that people love — and remember.
7. Collect important feedback
Use chatbots to improve your website or customer service through targeted survey questions. Collecting feedback on products and services via surveys means you can pinpoint where things need to change. Chatbots can also track customer behaviour, including purchasing patterns and responses to marketing campaigns.
8. Increase productivity
While chatbots may not completely replace customer service staff, they can provide an effective filtering system to reduce human interaction. Chatbots can answer simple or repetitive questions that free up human agents to spend more time with customers needing higher-level assistance.
9. Increase customer satisfaction
When customers can quickly solve their problems, they better perceive your business. Balancing quickly-resolved problems with higher-level assistance creates increased customer satisfaction, trust, and brand loyalty.
10. Reduce human error
Writing scripted responses helps reduce human errors, providing approved answers for any customer interaction. Live chat can create issues if workers provide inaccurate information regarding products or services, which doesn’t happen with chatbots.
11. Talk to customers where they are
Besides adding chat features to your website, you can get permission from users to chat with them on apps they're using already, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Communicating on apps your customers are familiar with lends credibility and trust to your chatbot interactions.
12. Start customer conversations
Why wait for your customers to contact you when you can reach out to them first? Chatbots can also initiate conversations based on pre-set criteria, providing a friendly greeting and an unexpected touchpoint.
13. Generate leads
Chatting with customers online can reveal opportunities that require follow-up from sales staff. Creating messages that interpret interest and ease customers along the buying journey creates lead-generation opportunities often missed by live support staff. Chatbots, or more specifically acquisition chatbots, can ask qualifying questions to determine whether leads warrant a follow-up call, saving salespeople time chatting with unqualified prospects.
How to get started with chatbots
Whether you’re a global company aiming to offer consumers multiple touchpoints or need to accommodate regional communication preferences, CM.com has a solution to help. We are dedicated to creating personalised consumer-to-business interactions through our results-driven mobile communications platform.
Our enterprise-grade chatbot software, helps businesses turn the first "hello" into a happy customer. Chatbots connect your business to your consumers with more robust conversations through the world's top communication channels, unified across one dashboard for easy access.