Chatbots aren’t necessarily a new wave phenomenon. While they have been around for more than a decade, the power of technology has made them evolve to take their functionality to an all-time high.
The Social Media leader Facebook added its chatbot feature a little over a year ago, and since then, there have been over a whopping 11,000 chatbots with over a billion people connected every month. So, if you are a small business owner looking to streamline your marketing and customer service efforts, chatbot is the answer. This way, the chatbot takes care of the mundane, repetitive queries while your employees focus on other creative and innovative endeavors.
Before finding out how a business leader can leverage this technology to ramp up their productivity, let’s uncover the basics.
So, What Exactly Is A Chatbot?
Simply put, chatbots are a mix of computer algorithms and programs that try to substitute a human conversation. While chatbots of the yesteryear seemed so robotic, today they have evolved and are much more humanized.
In fact, since they use a one-on-one chat-based model, they have become much more compatible with major chat interfaces such as Facebook Messenger, Slack and many more!
Chatbots are governed by a predefined set of rules. However, if you combine the power of Artificial Intelligence along with the already existent rules, you have yourself a robust chatbot that transcends beyond just relaying on monotonous information. It will be able to compose complex communications and make informed decisions all by itself.
At this point, one might be wondering, “but how is this beneficial for my business?” Before getting to that, let’s first analyze the common pain points that are faced in organizations spanning across a spectrum of industries.
1) Irrespective of how great their products/services are, businesses spend enormous amounts of time, money, and effort to provide their users with great customer service.
2) Generating new leads.
3) Streamlining to make their sales process easier and more efficient.
Listed above are the most common problems faced by SMBs, and quite naturally so. However, with the intrusion of chatbots all of these aforementioned problems and many more can be solved.
The Key Benefits of Chatbots
With the whole world turning to a digital-first approach, many businesses are joining the bandwagon, and innumerable brands have jumped into the chatbot technology because it brings about a plethora of benefits. Here are some of the most important benefits of chatbots for small businesses:
- Scaling your business to the next level: Before the chatbot era, businesses invested on extensive resources to source new leads, convert customers and provide stellar customer service. With the advent of chatbots, you can do it all with much less resources, time and money.
- 24x7 Availability: The biggest problem that was persistent before organizations started viewing chatbots as an important investment was the customers had to wait for an operator to respond since the availability of resources was quite restricted and time-bound. Now with chatbots as a part of your communication strategy, customers can find help any time of the day without having to get stranded in queues.
- Instant Response Handling: Chatbots have the capability to handle queries from thousands of customers from across the globe instantaneously, thus improving the average response time. The average response time is directly correlated to the level of customer satisfaction. A faster response time shows that the brand actually cares enough to listen and solve the customer queries instantly, thereby cultivating brand love.
- Providing Consistent Answers: By using chatbots, businesses can maintain the same level of consistency with their answers and enhance the overall customer experience with the brand.
- Omni-Channel Messaging: Post the inception of AI-powered bots, the chatbot technology has grown to a new high with features that support omni channel messaging. This in turn helps a customer to communicate with the brand through the channel of their choice.
- Personalization: Again, thanks to AI and Machine Learning, bots of today rank several notches higher than their predecessors by giving the customers a touch of personalization. They can engage with customers in a one-on-one conversation while maintaining a natural sounding tone of voice and by just being good at interactive communication.
- Bots Are Multilingual: With hyper-localization being one of the key trends doing the rounds, you can actually program your chatbot to answer customer queries in a language of their choice and expand to reach new markets and territories.
- Placing An Order Without Any Human Intervention: With the power of bot-driven automation, customers can now place an order or conduct a transaction with the help of just a chatbot without any human effort.
How Can Chatbots Be Used For Your Small Business?
Now that you know what chatbots offer innumerable benefits for small businesses, one other question might be boggling your mind: how do you actually put it to use? Here are some of the top 5 ways to effectively leverage chatbots and grow your small business.
- Customer Resource: Contradictory to what most people assume, chatbots are way smarter than they were before. For instance, they process and remember every interaction that they’ve had with customers. Furthermore, they collate all this information and put it to use to help future customers in a better way. So, in order to field the basic questions and concerns, it is most advisable to use a chatbot as a frontline customer resource.
- Simplifying Sales: On top of just spewing information at people, chatbots can also be used to influence sales. The best of the best bots automate the sales process and streamline the same from start to finish.
- Influence Decisions: The most fundamental and pressing problem that SMBs face is that they do not have enough resources to give that personalized, one-on-one attention to every new customer. This is exactly where chatbots can step in yet again. In fact, chatbots of today are so advanced that they can make personalized recommendations for the users based on a variety of data gathered from their previous interactions. In short, chatbots can be a huge time saver for companies and serve as a dynamic new form of 24x7 sales support.
- Improve Engagement: Of course, Facebook Messenger is used extensively by its users right from its inception. However, only recently the social media giant has opened the gates for brands to utilize this service as a chatbot. This doesn’t just pave the way for enhanced customer service and boosting sales, but also has a direct impact on the customer engagement on this social media platform. So, it is highly recommended that your brand also uses a well-developed bot to drive new customers to your brand's social media account.
- Streamline Payments: The most advanced chatbots use features that enable them to mimic a robust payment system. This way, the customer can actually pay for your products/service without ever leaving the chat interface. Furthermore, you can also use the same chat interface to store the payment details of regular customers so new products and services can be made available to them with just a click of a button.
While chatbots aren’t exactly a new technology, their evolution has been phenomenal in recent years, and it is still expected to grow. So, it is imperative that you also incorporate one into your communication strategy to stay one step ahead of your competitors.
You don’t necessarily have to start with an advanced AI-based super chatbot. For starters, you can develop a standard chatbot with a list of FAQs loaded into it so it can answer the most common customer questions. This way, you can test the waters with a basic bot and build from there. The opportunity and scope for chatbots are endless when it comes to a new breed of bots for small businesses.
Want to scale your small business to the next level in the digital landscape? Talk to our experts today!