Chatbots might sound like something that Captain Kirk and his crew aboard the Enterprise have had to do battle with, but you will be pleased to know, they are not dangerous aliens or rogue androids.
In fact, they are very business-friendly, and those businesses which have used chatbots are seeing fantastic results.
If you are wondering what chatbots are, they are automated systems that can interact with individuals online where a series of pre-programmed responses appear whenever those individuals start a chat conversation, such as in Messenger, which is Facebook’s chat platform.
In fact, it doesn’t need to be on another website or social media platform where chatbots can work for you. There are several chatbot services which business owners can install on their website and you may possibly have interacted with one of these yourself.
There are several advantages to a business which is using Chatbots, but here the main three which almost every business can benefit from.
Available To Answer Questions 24 Hours a Day and 7 Days a Week
Unless your premises are open round the clock and every day of the week, there are bound to be times when your staff have gone home, and your premises are closed.
During those times you might have an answering service that takes recorded messages but if a potential customer wants or needs a quick answer to their query, even that is not helpful.
This is where your chatbot comes to the rescue as it will appear on the website when someone visits, no matter what time that is. If your prospect is a night owl and making inquiries about your products or services at 2 am, then the chatbot can answer them.
It can be programmed with a multitude of answers to a whole range of pre-researched questions and can provide those answers if, and when, they are asked by the person typing them on your website’s chat app.
You can make this sequence as basic or as complex as you wish, and what you can program it to do is take the person chatting along a set sequence of questions, which you have already established potential customers are likely to pursue in terms of what they might ask.
Now, instead of potential and current clients being frustrated that you are closed, and have no one to answer their questions or queries, at least the chatbot has given them some, if not all, the answers.
At worst, it will have that person given some level of communication with your business, and even though it is an automated one, this is a far better option than none at all.
Instantaneous and Multiple Responses
One totally obvious aspect of a chatbot is that it is not a human. We mention that because if you have a ‘humans-only’ response team, they can each only be in one place at a time.
This means if each of them is already speaking to someone who has called or is using a live chat system where they type the responses, then you are going to have prospects and customers waiting for them to become free before they can deal with them.
This issue is bad enough when you have a large team, although it may be a rare occurrence, but if you are a small local business or a one-person operation, then it is going to occur frequently. Think of all the missed opportunities to speak or chat with prospects because you were busy.
With your chatbot, it is not such a big issue as anyone asking questions can receive an instant response, and better than that, it doesn’t matter how many different people are asking questions at the same time. Unlike your staff, or yourself, the chatbot CAN be in two, three, four, or more places at once.
Each individual chat session triggers the chatbot software, so while it is answering questions about your opening times on one chat, it can also be giving details about how to request a price list on another chat.
First, let us speak about the cost of chatbots. This will depend on whether you want the full works on your website or are happy to redirect visitors to Facebook Messenger and use a chatbot on there. If you choose the latter, then you could literally have it operating for a little as $10 dollars per month.
With the systems which are integrated within your website, then the cost is going to be higher with a price closer to $150 per month to be expected
For bespoke and customised systems, you will obviously pay more, and the price will depend on what features you wish to include and how complex the question/answer sequences are. Regardless of what the price is, the return on your investment will more than justify it.
Think about how many prospects you save because they get their questions answered. Consider how many existing customers you can keep happy, due to being able to get a response that clarifies something for them.
Ultimately, your sales and customer satisfaction levels will both increase, thanks to having a chatbot on your website, working for you 24/7, and never asking for time off, or a pay rise.