Why did we decide to help our clients with a simple, no-nonsense chatbot definition? Because two things are currently happening for our customers.
Firstly, chatbots are becoming a digital consideration businesses can no longer ignore.
And, as always, this simple – but relatively new – term is often misunderstood.
Read on for our essential overview…
Chatbot Definition: Chatbots Demystified
There comes a time in the life of every digital tool when businesses must choose between investing in a rising trend or playing ‘wait and see’.
The risk involved in the latter? That a company could be playing catch-up later when they discover competitors were quick off the mark.
Think of the likes of video and mobile-optimised websites: it feels strange to imagine a time when these weren’t an essential. But they’ll have had their ‘tipping point’.
To broaden this thinking to technology as whole, business leaders are quick to point to examples like Blockbuster’s loss to Netflix as an argument to stay ahead of the curve.
Which side of the chatbot revolution will you be on?
What is a Chatbot?
Simple: a Chatbot – or ‘conversational agent’ – is an automated response to a user. You might have used one already, on Facebook or by following a website prompt.
Or you might have used one on WhatsApp or another app, highlighting a strong ‘pro’ of the tool we’ll come to shortly. Let’s bear in mind that Facebook Messenger alone has more that 1.2 billion users. So, if you want to talk to your customers…go where they are.
Except they’re on messenger apps every hour of the day and during holiday times too. Perfect for an ‘always on’ Chatbot.
Let’s look at Starbucks as an example of Chatbot use. In 2017 they announced a trial of a chatbot, for voice or messaging interface, to help customers use their My Starbucks Barista ordering app.
The use of a chatbot, they said, formed a big part of their five year plan for the brand. Very much indicating not just the way the wind is blowing for laptops, but a clue for the right time for smaller companies to jump on board the technology too.
Chatbot Definition: Chatbots and Your Business
Chatbots offer some very clear advantages for your company and, perhaps more importantly, your customers. IBM summarise the benefits of Chatbot tech for call centres – reminding us that today’s customers want “24x7x365 support” – include lower costs, quicker response, better first contact resolution and data leverage.
But the advantages apply to small businesses as much as the huge corporate names.
Let’s take a closer look:
Our place or yours?: Let customers choose WHERE they want to talk to your brand. Chatbots can be used in WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and more. The smallest number of steps to find a solution to their problem means a great impression for your brand.
No more rush hour: Losing out through times when it takes longer to reply to customer phone calls or emails? A chatbot won’t care if it is talking to one person or one thousand. Potential buyers will get that first point of contact and fast. Every day and at any hour.
Perfection isn’t needed: Will your chatbot be able to work with nuances of local language or complex questions? No. The great thing is that users won’t expect it. They can be directed to quick answers to start their customer journey. There’s plenty of time to follow up in full after.
Filter out the greatest need: Using a chatbot as a ‘tier one’ tool leams customers looking for something simple like opening hours can find the information they need. Leaving the more complex enquiries with more time to engage with your business.
Easier than ever: Think a chatbot will be difficult to set up? Newer and newer tools allow chatbots to be developed without code.
Access for all: Customers who might be more comfortable using language in text, or those with various accessibility needs, will thank your business for the option to find answers and fast.
The Big Question: When?
Here’s a quick way to consider if your customers would appreciate a chatbot for your business: what questions do your customers regularly ask? Would they ask out of hours given a chance?
Then, where would it best suit your customer to get in touch? Do they ever face a delay having a call or email answered?
If you could take steps right now to help your customers, you’ll create loyalty and a difference in service between yourself and the competition.
Summary: Get Ahead Now or Invest Later?
That perfect time to commit time, and money, to a digital tool can be found well ahead of the point where you are forced to invest by customer demand.
Why? Because by then your customers already have a need you aren’t meeting. And they’ll still be waiting while you set up and bed in the tech they want from your brand.
Meanwhile competitors who acted sooner could be forming new loyalties with your buyers.
Our advice? Work ahead of the latest changes to amaze your audience.