- Apr 01, 2019
- by Brad Litwin
As a business owner, you’re probably aware of just how vital customer service is. However, it can be difficult to keep up with growing customer demands – especially when you have a million other things to do each day.
Fortunately, there are ways to automate parts of the process. For example, more and more businesses are now choosing to add chatbots to their sites. These virtual assistants are designed to keep your customers happy, and implementing one can help you provide stellar service with little effort required.
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the ways chatbots can aid your company. We’ll also explain how you can add one to your business website. Let’s get started!
Why Chatbots Can Be a Valuable Customer Service Tool
It’s fair to say that every online business provides customer service of one kind or another. Unfortunately, not every company provides quality customer service. We’ve all received hurried or unhelpful responses, and know just how frustrating they can be.
This kind of approach will tick the customer service box, but is unlikely to impress your audience. On the other hand, good service can increase the likelihood that your customers will leave positive reviews. Perhaps most importantly, studies have shown that people spend 20–40% more with companies that frequently engage with their customers.
However, customer demands are frequently growing more complex and urgent. The time and resources needed can make meeting these requirements difficult. For that reason, many businesses are now turning to Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools for help.
AI can take many forms, although chatbots are particularly popular. These are virtual assistants programmed to meet your customers’ needs. Chatbots are usually divided into two categories – ‘basic’ and ‘Natural Language Processing (NLP)’.
Basic chatbots can only handle simple queries, responding with pre-programmed answers. NLP chatbots are more intelligent, and can process fairly complex requests. This kind of chatbot is also able to go ‘off-script’ during communication, and solve a greater range of issues.
Either type of chatbot can help you automate parts of the customer service process. They’re always on call to deal with customer queries, and they can be programmed to hold an extensive knowledge of your products. Therefore, you’ll be better equipped to keep your customers happy – no matter the extent of their demands.
3 Ways You Can Use Chatbots to Improve Customer Service
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to introduce a chatbot into your existing customer service strategy. Let’s explore three of the most important use cases.
1. Deal With Customer Queries in Minutes
As we touched on earlier, customers expect fast responses to their questions and comments. In fact, 60% of users expect a response within an hour of reaching out to a business. Plus, they’re likely to spend more with companies that communicate promptly.
The use of AI to fulfill this need is more common than you might expect. A recent report found that over 90% of brands use chatbots to provide customer service. Chatbots are able to operate 24/7 without the need for breaks, meaning that no support request will go ignored.
Plus, the fact that chatbots are programmed with data about your business ensures that they already have all the information they’ll need to deal with customers. They won’t need to search for answers in the same way human employees would – reducing service times and operating costs.
2. Provide Highly-Tailored Product Recommendations
Chatbots can also be used to guide the decisions your customers make – and the items they buy. As such, more and more brands are now programming their AIs to act as virtual shop assistants. An excellent example of this in action is the ASOS Facebook Messenger chatbot:
Nicknamed Enki, this intelligent bot provides highly-detailed product recommendations through its ‘Style Match’ technology. Users answer questions about their fashion habits, or submit images of outfits they’d like to emulate. This enables Enki to get a feel for each customer’s personal style.
The chatbot will then find products that correlate with the user’s choices, and present them (along with relevant images and links). If users feel like a product has been selected just for them, they are often more likely to purchase it.
3. Engage Users in a Unique Way
Traditionally, customer service was provided over the phone or via email. This approach isn’t all that popular among consumers these days – many now prefer a more engaging alternative. Chatbots are a handy way to keep users interested in your brand.
Consider the Domino’s Pizza Twitter account, for example:
The use of chatbots means that customers are able to order a pizza by simply sharing an emoji. The Domino’s bot then determines the location of each order, and asks any necessary follow-up questions.
This is a quick and effective way to provide service that goes ‘above and beyond’. A more memorable user experience will set your business apart from the competition, and can encourage customers to keep coming back.
How to Create Your Own Chatbot
While you can have a chatbot developed from scratch, that takes time and a significant financial investment. If you’re looking for a more convenient alternative, however, there are numerous tools available online that can get the job done.
Digital Genius, for example, can help you easily automate your customer support:
This solution’s intelligent bots understand natural conversation patterns, so they can avoid repetitive responses. This means you’re able to provide a better service for customers, by offering an experience that feels organic. Professional packages for Digital Genius start at a few thousand dollars per month, though, making this an option for large businesses with generous budgets.
WhosOn provides a greater range of plans, with far more affordable pricing:
There’s even an option for small businesses that’s completely free. While WhosOn chatbots aren’t as complex, they can be programmed to recognize emotive words. This ensures that the individual needs of your customers are met, and offers you a lot of flexibility in how your chatbot responds to queries.
Customer service is an essential part of any successful business, yet it can be time-consuming. That’s why chatbots are so handy, since they can provide stellar support at the click of a button. This should keep your customers happier, and save time and resources on your end.
In this post, we’ve explored three of the ways you can use chatbots to improve your customer service:
- Deal with complex customer queries in minutes.
- Provide custom product recommendations to increase conversions.
- Engage users in a more unique way.
Image credit: geralt.