What are conversations?
In their simplest form, chatbots are programs that respond to questions and carry out seemingly human-like discussions with users. They’re often used to answer simple questions about a product or service and to book appointments. Some ‘bots function as standalone entities; others act as front-ends for live chats with sales teams. Either way, ‘bots represent a cutting-edge, labour-saving asset, helping direct leads and established customers toward the right people while being surprisingly easy to implement.
The Usefulness of ‘Bots.
Facebook, one of the world most popular social media platforms, features Messenger ‘bots to help businesses connect to their customers using the backbone of the world’s most popular social media platform. Online stores use them to answer customer questions or rout them through to sales personnel. Many websites offer 'bots for tech support and answering customer inquiries.
The benefit of conversational marketing for a business is it enables companies to funnel leads and customers toward a position where they can get instant answers to their questions at any time of the day or night. The biggest advantage of chatbots is that they provide instant access to feedback and help without the long wait times associated with phone calls and E-mails. A ‘bots worth is proven by helping reduce this common form of customer frustration. After all, a website visitor who finds the answers to their questions is more likely to move through the funnel. Visitors who can't get the answer they need, when they need it, will move on to another source of information.
Those looking for hard-and-fast figures about their advantages need only look at this recent article from the Forbes Website which mentions several interesting statistics, including:
• 67% of online consumers used a chatbot during the past year,
• Chatbots will handle 80% of customer interactions by the year 2020,
• Chatbots will represent over $8 billion in annual cost-savings by the year 2022.
Furthermore, a recent study by Drift, Salesforce, indicates that 37% of their survey participants use a chatbot for quick answers in an emergency, while 34% predicted they’d be comfortable using a chatbot as a preamble to live human interaction.
As Artificial Intelligence gains traction in our everyday lives, we can expect Website ‘bots to evolve increasing levels of intuition based upon the behaviour patterns of casual site visitors and regular customers. Until then, today’s chatbot technology has reached a stage where even a simple support ‘bot can more than earn its keep by freeing up organizational resources so they may be deployed into other areas where they’re most needed.
While it’s hard to imagine chatbots supplanting human interaction in all cases, it’s apparent that they’re already taking an active, and increasing, role in handling everyday customer issues. For this, and many other reasons, chatbots are worth investigating for any organization doing business in today’s online marketplace.