Top 8 chatbot benefits for your business
Top 8 chatbot benefits for your business
Chatbots continue to make headlines as the must-have feature for businesses of all sizes, but past they hype from tech vendors, are they proven in the workplace? Most businesses are adopting or considering them, so what are the benefits of using a chatbot?
Chatbots come in various forms, provided by a growing number of specialist cloud service providers, the tech-business giants and as part of a growing number of business suites. They can be used to improve or replace customer support or helpline, for marketing or outreach, as part of an effort to streamline the use of contact centres or help a startup that lacks the staff or budget for these essentials.
Among chatbots, script-based chatbots can be built by anyone with no specific coding experience using design-based tools, converting what the company currently uses, be it a customer support script, a common FAQ document, or simply based on what the office reception currently handles.
Smarter AI chatbots use features like natural language processing, deep learning and other tools to:
- Broaden the type of conversation a chatbot can offer
- Provide multilingual support
- Adjust the tone of the chat to suit the user
- Link to other services like payments, stores and so on.
Using multiple-choice responses or free-form text, the flow of conversation can directly address a business and customer need, while reducing the risk of human error. That’s what they aim to do, but what are the benefits to your company, or a department or business you’re trying to support?
Despite the positives, there’s still plenty of resistance to chatbots in case they take jobs, provide poor service or prove hard to manage. To explain why chatbots are essential for business and how to over overcome such resistance, these 10 benefits can help drive the conversation and help get your business up and running with a bot.
1 Save money on operational costs
Reception staff or a remote service providing a concierge cost money, and smaller companies or sole traders often don’t want to be burdened with them, while people get bored of repetitive tasks that the bot can automate. Larger companies can have a wide range of contact points, which sees capital being spread far and wide.
The chatbot is a flexible beast that can appear on the front page of a website, within a company app, and through voice analysis can replace an interactive voice response system. Yet, every business needs a first point of contact and there’s still a sizeable number of customers who prefer the old ways, so the bot can be used to streamline these processes and eventually overtake them.
2 Save valuable office time
One of the key advantages of any robot is that it offers 24/7 availability ot always-on customer support. Some internal business departments have gone chatbot only to free their staff up to concentrate on their core roles or tasks, helping to increase efficiency. That means the HR team can focus on hiring and staff management, leaving the bot to handle time off, sickness and other requests, while new hires can use the bot to find their way around company forms and processes.
PR teams are keen adopters of chatbots allowing them to focus on outreach and strategy, letting the bot handle the never-ending influx or queries and requests. A smart PR bot can build a list of the people who want press release x, imagery of y, interview requests, or review products or event tickets for x, leaving the team to handle all those requests in one go at regular intervals rather than handling them ad hoc over a day and constantly interrupting their main functions.
3 Bots can hire staff for you
We’ve already mentioned HR using chatbots internally as part of business operations, but they are using chatbots as part of the hiring process. A typical job advert gets over 90 responses and big companies get 100s per vacancy.
Having whittled down the optimistic or over-qualified, there can still be 50 candidates for interview, and here the chatbot can handle that first tranche of conversations in a balanced and unbiased way, saving the HR department time with the highest scoring candidates put forward to the more formal review processes.
There are a growing number of specialist interview chatbots and phone bots and AI creations to help make interviews less stressful for candidates and to save hours of time per person for the hiring company.
4 Chatbots for marketing and engagement
Raising awareness and engaging with customers remains a key marketing task, and one that is increasingly automated across social media and through the ways people can respond to online adverts or marketing messages. As marketing becomes more metric-based, chatbot analytics also help in this effort.
The chatbot is just the latest of these and is more likely to get people to leave their email addresses or other contact details through a friendly chat that revolves around a point of interest or product, rather than a bland form. Chatbots can also help gauge the level of interest through a few quick multiple-choice questions. The more you know about a prospect or customer, the more you can fine-tune future marketing, and bots can check in on fans at a later date to remind them of the latest news or updates.
Bots also come into their own when there is a spike in interest in a product or there’s a serious issue around a product or service. Traditionally, in response to either event, the phonelines are jammed, websites crash and social media is reduced to a mess of comments.
The chatbot can handle both cases, either directing excited new customers to places where they can buy or find out about a product. For unhappy product users, the bot can easily provide the fix, solution or how to get a refund depending on the nature of the problem, hopefully keeping customers pleased. Capable of handling huge numbers of messages at once, the bots can take the load and let the business get on with resolving the issue.
5 The benefits of artificial intelligence
AI is a massive boost to many types of business, but many think the technology is complex, expensive or will alienate workers or customers. A chatbot is a great low-risk, high-reward way to prove the benefits of AI to business leaders and customers alike. The AI bot can start out working alongside traditional contact points and gently take over as the benefits become clear.
Proving the value of AI is half the battle and from that point, the business can adopt other AI services like analytics tools, predictive software and deep learning systems, as appropriate to the company.
6 Bots can help the team work better
The rise of Slack, SharePoint and other collaborative tools have seen departments, dispersed businesses and global teams working together better around centralised resources, project management tools and so on.
Now bots are being introduced to these sets of tools and services to help answer questions based on the data buried within complex projects or to provide advice and information to newcomers. These bots won’t replace the other workers but augment the conversation workers have and help build confidence in the tools and boost team performance.
7 Chatbots enable business creativity
Benefiting from the rise of the cloud, chatbots enable a company to think big, start small and move fast when it comes to using bots and AI services. The stats show just how well they can perform for any type of business. Startups can operate at a global level from day one, while traditional businesses can use them to keep pace with larger players without crippling their budget.
Chatbots can be used for the basic roles of customer support, reception and so on, but companies can find unique uses for their bots that address a customer need or help improve an internal process, while charities and non-profits can use them to address complex issues without the pressure of a face-to-face encounter.
8 The disadvantages of a poor chatbot
Chatbots done well can help a business in many areas. But rushing that first bot to market can cause damage and harm. Poor chatbot experiences mean users won’t visit the bot again, poor advice can see a business with good intentions pilloried in the press or on social media.
Bots that are dedicated to offering financial, health or wellbeing advice also need to be beyond reproach, something that can do long-lasting damage to a brand if the effort goes wrong. All of which means that every business needs to temper their ambitions with a grounding in reality and caution when it comes to launching that first bot.