Is your business still dependent on human interactions?
Do your customers wait until a representative from your organization gets back to them?
Well, in that case, it’s time you scaled up to Artificial Intelligence and incorporate Chatbots for your business.
Before we get into the reasons why chatbots are essential for business, and more so for businesses in Singapore (well, just about anywhere), let us consider these two typical scenarios.
They browse through your products or the services section. They are interested in proceeding further and engaging with you. They visit the contact page of your website or online store and submits an inquiry. They even send an email to the support email address mentioned on your website.
And they wait and wait and wait, with absolutely no response from your end.
You probably missed out on the inquiry or the email. Fast forward to two days and you notice you’ve missed out on the inquiry. You call the customer and guess what! The customer has already finalized a similar product or service with another vendor or your competitor.
End result: Business lost! And probably, the customer too.
Now, let’s jump onto the next scenario.
Again, the customer visits your website or your online store.
As soon as the customer visits your website or the online store, they are welcomed with a prompt (yes, through our chatbots) saying ‘We’ve got a 20% discount offer waiting for you. Can I help you avail it?’.
I’m not sure about you, but my answer to that prompt is a big yes.
When a customer visits your website, they’ve reached either through search engines, referrals or by directly keying in your website URL. Which means to say, they are genuinely interested in a product or service that you have to offer. And it is imperative to capture this lead.
So, what follows the reply to the initial prompt, is a sequence of pre-programmed messages again, based on the ‘expected’ replies from the customer.
To begin with, in the above example, the discount offer serves as our lead magnet. As soon as the custom replies in the affirmative, we could request for the customer’s email address where the discount coupon can be sent across to.
Now, if you haven’t realized yet, we are slowly but surely building our client list (email list). We can integrate our chatbots in a manner to add the email address directly to our emailing software.
Next, the chatbots will prompt a list of categories or the top-level products on which the discount voucher is applicable. As soon as the customer chooses one of the options, either a link to the corresponding product or service page can be displayed, or a list of products under the category can be further displayed.
The point to be noted here is that any level of logical jumps (pre-programmed sequences) can be planned in advance for a seamless customer journey online.
And yes, the biggest advantage. It’s all done on autopilot.
Absolutely no human intervention or dependency.
Your website or your online store is the face of your business in the online world. It works for you 24/7, 365 days a year. Irrespective of where your business is, be it on a high street in Singapore or just about anywhere in the world, you have to serve the customers visiting your store – be it online or offline.
And with an interactive chatbot that answers and responds to your customers instantly, trust you me, your customers are not going anywhere else.
Chatbots for businesses are gaining in popularity. Organizations understand the need to solve customer queries and problems instantly. This in the long run builds consumer loyalty, and not to mention, builds a stronger and trustworthy brand as well.
An area where chatbots are immensely used is in Customer Service and Management. A lot of mundane and repeated work gets taken care of by these chatbots. Organizations can look at reallocating the existing workforce to more productive work, thereby improving the overall productivity, as far as an organization is concerned.
Did you know?
Facebook went from absolutely zero chatbots in February 2016 to well over 18,000 by July of the same year.
Yup, that’s how popular chatbots are getting.
So, have I been able to justify why chatbots are essential for business?
Before I do get into the top 5 reasons why chatbots are essential for business, let’s get a little technical and understand what is a chatbot.
What is a Chatbot?
Chatbots are, plain and simple, a computer program. Chatbots can also be termed as software applications.
And what exactly does a chatbot do? If you haven’t guessed, well, it chats! What else?!
Ok, on a more serious note.
A chatbot is an AI (Artificial Intelligence) based computer program. A chatbot simulates and processes either written or spoken conversations, thereby allowing humans to interact with these digital devices. These devices, when programmed, work seamlessly and appear as having a conversation with a human.
Here are some statistics that will help you understand why chatbots are essential for business.
- Chatbots can cut your business operational costs by up to 30%
- 85% of your customer interaction will be handled without any human agents by 2021
- 50% of businesses plan to spend more on chatbots than on any mobile apps
- 64% of internet users say 24-hour service is the best feature of chatbots
- 37% of people use a customer service bot to get a quick answer in an emergency
- 64% of agents who use chatbots are free to spend their time solving more difficult and complex problems. (Source: Salesforce)
I’m guessing by now you have a fair idea of what is a chatbot and why chatbots are essential for business.
While I am yet to come across anything that has only advantages, chatbots also do have a few disadvantages. I will now cover some of the pros and cons of Chatbots.
Pros & Cons of Chatbots
Pros of Chatbots
If I have to pinpoint one of the biggest benefits of using Chatbots, it definitely has to be the fact that you can have fewer employees. Without a doubt, chatbots can handle a lot of work, seamlessly and efficiently, that otherwise would take a number of paid employees to perform. What this means is, you can either free up resources and allocate them for more important tasks or cut down on operational expenses.
As mentioned earlier, customers can get answers to their issues and problems much faster. They needn’t wait for a response from the customer service representative.
Cons of Chatbots
Ok, so all those fretting if your job is still intact with the invasion of chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI), here’s the good news. There’s only so much a chatbot can do. They do have their share of disadvantages too.
However advanced AI and chatbots are, the fact of the matter is, it is not yet at a level that it can completely replace human intervention. (Do I hear a sigh of relief?)
Although the cases being rare, there are chances that a customer does end up getting frustrated without having a direct answer to their query. You would agree that a customer does has to go through a sequence in order to have their queries answered. And however well programmed, there are chances that a particular query or issue hasn’t been catered to. And this ends up with the customer leaving your site.
Thus, it helps to collect the customer details upfront, in order to follow up at a later point.
How to use Chatbots for your business
So, how exactly do we use chatbots for business? Chatbots can be used in a number of innovative ways. Let’s dive into a few ways of how chatbots can benefit your business.
As shown in an earlier image above, 34% of people use chatbots to get in touch with a customer service executive. And this really is one of the most common uses for chatbots. Be it for answering questions, giving feedback or suggestions, directing to appropriate departments, etc.
Chatbots are programmed to respond to your most frequently asked questions (FAQs). And this really helps you free up resources from answering to the same queries day in and day out. With your chatbots, you can integrate a customer service system into your website to answer queries to your customers 24/7, 365 days a year. (Also 366 days, once in 4 years!)
Customers love getting answers immediately. Why just customers? We all do. Don’t we just hate waiting to get a solution to our queries?
Here are some more interesting facts to back the above statement,
- 51% of people believe a business should be available for customer support 24/7
- 8% of people would rather contact a company through messaging than through email. (you see, no one wants to wait for a reply)
- 5% would rather contact a company through messaging than the telephone. (again, they prefer no human interaction.)
Generating Leads & Sales
My example earlier on in this article (Scenario #2) is a classic example of chatbots being used to generate leads. These leads can then be nurtured and brought into a sales funnel through automation and sequences that can be integrated into the chatbots.
In addition to this, a lot of companies allow customers to make purchases directly through their chatbots. This helps reduces the overwhelming walk-ins into the store. Hmmm… social distancing ringing a bell now?
This does help a lot of customers too, who wouldn’t want to go through the agony of waiting in a queue while placing orders either on the telephone or even walk-ins.
Be it via push notification tools or chatbots, a lot of companies are using innovative tools to deliver content. How many times have you received a notification through messenger apps from leading news portals or even eCommerce portals?
The use of such tools and chatbots helps you retain and manage engagements with your customers. This eventually drives traffic back to your website or your online store.
So while I would have covered most of the reasons why chatbots are essential for business, I will now summarize the article into the 5 reasons why chatbots are essential for business.
5 Reasons Why Chatbots Are Essential For Business
Available 24×7, 365 days a year
Did you know?
89% of consumers have switched to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. Also, if a customer is not satisfied, 13% of them will tell to 15 or even more people that they are unhappy. On the other hand, 72% of customers will share a positive experience with 6 or more people.
(Source: Customer Thermometer)
Need I say more?
Responding to your customers instantly is a HUGE plus for any business. Be it a business starting out or a reputed one. You build loyalty. And with that, repeated business. And not to forget, the referrals via word of mouth marketing.
Your website and online store are always open. You may be busy, on vacation, or sleeping. But, your online store is open. And it helps to serve your audience. Chatbots are essential for a business to operate and serve customers 24/7, 365 days a year.
And with the ease of not only integrating chatbots into your website, but also for your audience to get their queries, clarifications, or issues solved, chatbots are a big must for your online business.
Better Customer Engagement
An extension to the above point is to enhance customer engagement.
Not only are you solving and answering their queries, but you are also engaging with your customers by sending them regular updates via push notifications and messages directly into their messenger applications.
With regular engagement, you are building trust and also a loyal audience for yourself.
Now isn’t this a boon?
Consider scaling up your team in a jiffy with a sudden inflow of customers. Possible? I guess not. And that surely is not the case when it comes to chatbots.
With your chatbots integrated into your online or offline stores, you can easily scale up during peak business hours and manage any amount of customers, without having to beef up your existing team, and in a short span of time.
Reduces Overheads & Costs
A new study released by UK-based Juniper Research estimates that chatbots will help businesses save more than $8 billion per year by 2022. Chatbots have the ability to improve the efficacy and productivity of workers in businesses by providing quick answers and solutions to customers with simple queries. As a result, they reduce operational costs, manpower, and time.
(Source: Medium – https://medium.com/datadriveninvestor/chatbots-how-they-save-a-business-time-and-money-bb4427697efb)
This is a given. But again, as we discussed, complete human intervention cannot be eliminated. Having said that, reduction in overheads is definitely a possibility.
Automate Lead Generation
Lead generation is another huge advantage and the reason why chatbots are essential for business.
Offer a lead magnet on your website, capture the lead, integrate your chatbot with automation tools and sequences, and start nurturing your client. Bring them into a sales funnel and offer value, to begin with. And once the customer sees value in your offering, you’ve not only built an email list of potential clients but also built a tribe of a loyal audience.
With changing times and trends, it is imperative to adapt to the latest technologies. More so, how these technologies, such as automation, sequences, artificial intelligence, chatbots for business, etc., can be incorporated into your scheme of activities to help improve business, generate leads, and eventually, more sales and conversions.
Chatbots are here to stay. If you are a business owner and want to expand your business online, yet not increase overheads, then chatbots are a must-have for you.
With the use of chatbot business solutions, you can engage your customers. Furthermore, with quicker and much more accurate support to customers, you are not only engaging with your customers and audience, but you are also building loyalty, and enhancing your brand’s reputation.
Ready to increase your business using Chatbots?
Engage with your potential prospects real-time on the most widely-used messaging app – WhatsApp and the most widely used social media platform – Facebook