28 Jul /There’s a chatbot for that.

Posted by Casey Schumacher

Chatbots are becoming more widely adopted and entering the mainstream. Even if they’re just now making your radar, you’ve probably already interacted with several of them. Either way, you might have several questions about them. What are they? What can they do? Are they right for your business.

We’ll unpack all of those but what’s most important to know out of the gate is that Chatbots aren’t going anywhere. There are limits to what they can offer but as your customers interact with them more and more, their expectations will be raised. Furthermore, a well designed Chatbot can make your life easier and possibly save you money along the way.

So, what’s a Chatbot?

Chatbots use conditions, triggers, and/or events to interact with users automatically. When done right, they’re consistent, prompt, and versatile. They can be deployed via several avenues like Slack, SMS, live chat, etc. You can design them to either be proactive or reactive in order to collect important information from the user interacting with them. When it comes to communicating with your business, employing a Chatbot gives your customers more options and can help grow your business.

The Future of Chatbots

A recent Facebook survey uncovered that over 50% of users are more likely to shop online somewhere if they can engage with the business via chat. Almost 60% of Generation X and Millennials report having knowingly interacted with chatbots. Some estimates indicate that 85% of customers’ interactions with businesses will be via chatbots and other self-service solutions. Sure, email and telephone are the most common channels at the moment but the The writing is on the wall, Chatbots will only continue to become more popular.

These days, if your customers cannot find what they’re looking for quickly, there’s a good chance you’ll lose the sale or maybe even lose the customer forever. The second most common online frustration users’ report is not being able to get answers to simple questions. Third is that basic business details are hard to find. Chatbots can easily prevent churn as a result of these issues when they’re designed and built well.

Unfortunately, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. The type of bot you build and the features it has will need to be tailored to your users. When we build Chatbots at T R I M, we do a deep dive on our Product Owners’ industry as a whole, their business in particular, and their target demographic.

Chatbots for Customer Service

Chatbots work great for customer service for several reasons. First, they’re affordable. Sure, there’s some up-front cost associated, we need to do some conversation mapping and write the code. But compared to a solution with a visual interface, like a web application, the cost of a Chatbot is a drop in the bucket.

Second, Chatbots can easily leverage conversation APIs and AI so that they’re easy to communicate with and incredibly helpful. APIs and AI are both constantly advancing and those updates are reflected in your Chatbot very quickly. With AI, your Chatbot could predict your users’ needs or even up-sell them by leveraging data like their order history for example. Meanwhile, thanks to conversation APIs, the Chatbot will communicate so well it might even be mistaken for a human.

Last, text-based communication applications might be the most popular on the internet. Virtually every popular social media app has a robust chat feature set built into their platform. Businesses are already leveraging this and meeting their users where they are by handling customer service via apps like Facebook Messenger.

But Wait, There’s More!

Chatbots can handle way more than just customer service! They can handle standardized conversational marketing that would typically be done by a human, lowering your operating cost as a result. Leads can be generated with Chatbots by implementing them on your website to handle initial engagement. Your converted customers can be onboarded with the help of Chatbots. The list goes on but the point is that customer service is just the tip of the iceberg. Think about how many standardized procedures there are in your business right now, many of them could probably be done with Chatbots.

Your Very Own Chatbot

Think your business would benefit from a Chatbot? You’re probably right but it’s important that they’re designed and built well. There are DIY, off the shelf solutions out there that will let you build your own chatbot without writing any code but you should be wary of them. There are many best-practices to be considered with Chatbots and they’re not exactly a silver bullet.

If you’re going to incorporate Chatbots, it’s important that your customers can still engage with real humans somehow. You’ll need to do proper conversation mapping that accounts for a variety of outcomes. Any deviation from the happy path needs to be carefully considered as to not inconvenience your users, otherwise the Chatbot might do more harm than good.

The avenue you choose is also important to consider. Slack, SMS, Websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Chatbots can operate in all of these arenas, which one is right for your business? What metrics is that based on?

All of these questions and considerations are where we come in. If you’re in the market for a Chatbot, let’s build it together the right way the first time. Here’s some examples of bots that we’ve built at T R I M:

Want to get started on your Chatbot? Drop us a line here.

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