Advantages of using chatbots

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  • Post last modified:May 18, 2021

Chatbots are now being used across a wide range of websites and apps. Siri and Alexa are already famous worldwide. Several large and small businesses are using chatbots in online environments to provide customer support and drive higher sales. There are several advantages of using chatbots in terms of marketing, sales, and customer service. Most businesses use them to offer customer service mainly and to maintain around-the-clock availability. However, these chatbots also offer unique advantages in terms of marketing and sales.

Advancements in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence have driven higher adoption of chatbots and similar programs with varying levels of efficiency and intelligence. These chatbots are AI programs that can simulate a chat or conversation with a customer. Mostly these chatbots can answer a limited range of questions based on the knowledge base they have access to. However, some of them can also handle more complex questions.

Industrywide in various sectors, the adoption of digital technology for sales and customer service has grown. The pandemic has also accelerated the movement towards digital and cloud technologies. While digital technology is driving higher growth for several businesses, in many cases businesses are adopting chatbots to handle the growth in their customer base and for helping customers whenever they need a resolution.

For most of them, these chatbots have proved very useful since they can easily handle basic queries and offer a resolution in a wide range of cases. While this feres more manpower to focus on other tasks, chatbots apart from growing the efficiency of businesses have helped them engage their customers better.

Key Advantages of using chatbots:

Round the clock automated customer service:

Customer service is now a major concern for businesses worldwide. Businesses have grown their focus on customer service to attract and retain customers and grow customer engagement. While it requires a higher focus on customer service, it also requires companies to adopt modern and innovative methods of customer service that are efficient and cost-effective. 

Offering superior customer service is now possible through the use of chatbots and there are thousands of businesses worldwide that are already offering innovative customer service by using chatbots. The use of chatbots allows them to provide customer service round-the-clock without dedicating a huge team of people to achieve the task. While some companies have dedicated teams to handle the task throughout the day. However, not all companies can dedicate as many people to customer service. Chatbots work as a simple solution to their many customer service-related problems and allow them to answer customer queries throughout the day. The chatbot can handle customer queries even in the off-hours.

So, even if your customer service is not accessible all the time, chatbots can handle your customer service. Moreover, these chatbots are efficient and you can train them to handle a  wide variety of questions that may otherwise require a real human being to answer them all. 

Increased efficiency:

Chatbots can also help you increase your business efficiency. For example, suppose yours is a small business and you do not have a large customer service team. During the on-season, your sales may surge and a large number of customers may approach you with questions related to products or related issues. However, handling a large number of queries is possible even with a few people behind the customer service desk.

The chatbots can handle a wide variety of questions without the need for human intervention. Only the complex queries will require a human being to handle the task and respond to customer queries. So, even small businesses can benefit from chatbots and manage to handle customer service without investing a large sum in hiring extra customer service representatives. Fewer people will be handling more tasks and your business efficiency will automatically grow. Your task will be less stressful even during the peak season.

Reduced customer service costs:

When you use chatbots for answering customer service queries, you need to dedicate fewer people to customer service. This means less spending on human resources. You do not need to hire extra people for handling customer service issues since chatbots can easily address the smaller issues. You can dedicate your existing manpower to sales, marketing, and other jobs. 

Apart from that, employing chatbots is not as costly as employing humans. You will need to invest more when you hire a customer service representative. 

However, if you instead opt to use chatbots, you will pay once upfront which will be comparatively much lower compared to what you end up paying a customer service rep each month. Maintaining a chatbot, upgrading and scaling are also not very costly and mostly your technology provider can offer you cheap options for scaling as your needs grow. So, you end up saving a large sum each month, while also reaping the benefits of increased efficiency that comes from the use of chatbots.

Superior lead generation:

Chatbots are effective in both B2B and B2C environments. They are good for lead generation. Organizations can generate leads and forward them to the sales team using chatbots. Companies can adopt simple chatbots that can help begin a conversation with a client. Previously, companies needed to collect emails from clients and send emails. After it, they would wait for a response from the clients so that they could begin the conversation. So, generating leads became a time-consuming process.  However, now they can set chatbots for initiating conversation. Using these chatbots, they can set up a preliminary conversation and then redirect new users to the official sales channel from there.

Many times when you arrive on a website, you will come across a popup chatbot ready to offer help on useful topics. It helps you get started and know things you must be curious about. These chatbots are trained to greet users as they arrive. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to recognize if it is a chatbot or a real human. The chat process feels so natural and real. However, since chatbots have now become common industry-wide and users have gained a lot of familiarity with these chatbots and their use that it is not difficult to recognize one when it greets you on a website.

While lead generation becomes simpler and easier through the use of chatbots on one hand, on the other, it also becomes less labor-intensive and time-consuming. Even if you are simply collecting emails from users, the chatbot can make the process easier. It can guide the new users to the best options and prices so that they can easily select the options that suit their needs the best. You would not need time to wait or have difficulty initiating a chat. When a user has all the basic information from a  chatbot and reaches your official sales channel, you do not need to waste your time telling him about plans and prices but he can simply go ahead and purchase.

The use of chatbots has grown in the QSR industry. Users can use these automated chatbots to know the status of their order. Apart from that, the queue time is reduced which also helps increase sales and improve the entire delivery process. Brands that are investing in digital technology and chatbots in the QSR industry have experienced growth in sales and revenue.

Higher customer satisfaction:

Chatbots can help you improve the customer experience you offer and create higher customer satisfaction, which will obviously result in higher sales and better revenue.  While chatbots, on the one hand, help you improve the level of customer service, on the other, they also drive higher customer engagement and help improve retention rates. If customers can easily find the solutions to their queries, they are highly satisfied. Chatbots can easily help them know the status of their orders on an e-commerce website and find the resolution to basic issues like order delay or replacement. 

When these processes are automated through the use of chatbots, it becomes easier to process orders faster which also maximizes customer satisfaction.

Chatbots help you fill the gaps in customer service processes and leave a better impression on the visitors to your website. Overall, there can be a clear and significant growth in customer satisfaction when you employ chatbots to handle things like customer service and to answer basic questions related to your products and processes or for automating other related tasks.

Improved marketing and brand image:

Chatbots can also help you improve your company’s brand image. Innovative companies use technology to provide superior customer service and deliver a superior and consistent customer experience. The use of chatbots helps you bring higher consistency to the customer experience you offer and drive customer satisfaction higher. The result is that it improves your brand image. These chatbots can also fit into your marketing strategy and help derive superior results.

Whenever a new customer arrives at your website or app, a popup greets him and asks to offer help. It guides the customer through important queries and helps the visitor with the information he needs to know your brand and offerings and make a purchase. In this way, you are marketing a superior, innovative, and customer-friendly image. Chatbots can also improve customer engagement since they are not just for customer service but also work as a communication channel helping organizations serve their customers better.

No need for technical knowledge or coding expertise:

You do not need to be a technology expert or a developer to build a chatbot. Instead, you can easily use one of the chatbot builders to build a customized chatbot solution for your website. You will not need to be a coding expert to use these chatbot builders either. They can be as easy to use as one of the website builders. Apart from that, several of the well-known chatbot builders do not come for a fortune. They will charge you as low as $10 or $15 a month to use their chatbot builder.

The good news is that compared to the advantages that these chatbots offer, this price is very small and you might end up generating a lot more compared to the amount you pay month for the chatbot builder. However, there is also a learning curve involved. As you move on you continue to learn usage patterns and the kinds of questions that the visitors can ask your chatbot. You can accordingly adjust your chatbot for better use.

However, before you build your chatbot you need to clearly define two or three goals that your chatbot is expected to serve. In most cases, businesses need chatbots to resolve simple inquiries so that their staff remains free to focus on other tasks. You can also build a chatbot that responds to common FAQs, sets up calls and appointments, and can run brief tutorials.

Otherwise, you might need a chatbot that can teach users about product-related topics and how to use a product. This can also be a goal for your chatbot. Many times companies also sue chatbots just for entertainment or to share funny content with users to keep them engaged. You can achieve all these goals using a chatbot and you simply need to use one of those chatbot builders like Chatfuel or ManyChat.

A few last words about chatbots:

There has been a solid growth in the popularity and use of chatbots by business organizations over the past few years. Chatbots serve several purposes and are cheap to manage compared to other solutions. For several businesses these chatbots have worked as one simple solution for several problems from generating leads to conversions and increasing retention rates. They can be a great solution for your customer service related problems. Many of us have who use Alexa or Siri regularly know how useful these bots or programs are.

Similarly, simple chatbots can help you transform visitors to customers and reduce the time spent in the process. Apart from that, they make customer service hassle free and help reduce the costs of customer service for organizations. Digital transformation has become important for organizations that want to survive the heavy competitive pressure in today’s environment. For a large number of organizations, these chatbots are a signifciant part of their digital transformation process.

Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.