Companies that often deal with customer queries need to pay attention to their customer service. When a customer has a question to ask, the company should ensure they have multiple channels available for the customer to get a hold of a customer service agent to obtain an answer to the question they have.
Unfortunately, hiring a dedicated team of customer support agents can be costly, especially for a small business that does not have excess funds available. Hiring a virtual assistant to perform such a task can be difficult as it may be hard to teach them everything they need to know about a company to equip them with the knowledge required to answer virtually any question.
To keep up with customer queries and maintain a high level of customer service satisfaction, without having to spend thousands of a dedicated team of agents or risk hiring an inexperienced virtual assistant, many businesses are starting to utilize chatbots – a technology that is revolutionizing the way companies are communicating with their customers by automating the majority of the entire customer service operation; thus allowing the business owner to spend more time creating more effective business, internet marketing, and social media outreach strategies to take their business to new heights.
The Basics Of Chatbots
Let’s start by looking at what a chatbot is and how it functions. It is vital to first understand the most basic concept of a chatbot before looking at how this technology can help a business succeed on the internet and how chatbots can be utilized on social media networks. A chatbot, as the name suggests, is a bot that was developed to “chat” – in the business world, these bots are created to have conversations with potential customers and existing customers without requiring the assistance of a human customer support agent. These bots are often equipped with artificial intelligence to ensure they can learn and adapt, and also to make them have conversations as a customer support agent would.
VentureBeat reports that the first chatbots equipped with artificial intelligence were officially launched to the public in 2016. Since the launch of these chatbots, thousands of companies have started to implement them into their business models, giving them the ability to automate their entire customer service departments without having to hire a single customer service consultant; thus saving them money, which can then be spent elsewhere on other important departments.
The Advantages Of Using A Chatbot
There are quite a significant number of benefits that can be obtained from implementing a chatbot into a company’s social media channels, as well as in other areas such as in messaging platforms and even on their official website. Since chatbots are still relatively new, only being released about a year ago, the most significant benefit to be considered is the fact that utilizing a chatbot automatically puts a business in front of the competitors that have not yet adjusted to this new development in the world of technology.
Apart from being a very new technology, the most significant benefit that a chatbot has for any business, be it a business run by a single entrepreneur, a small business or a multi-million dollar organization, is the fact that chatbots offer 24/7 customer service without requiring customer care consultants to be in front of a computer during the entire day. With this in mind, a potential customer can connect with a virtual consultant, in the form of a chatbot, at any time – night or day – to gain answers to any question they may have. When compared to companies utilizing real people and only providing customer support during business hours, it already becomes obvious that chatbots are essential when it comes to providing the clock support – not only to potentially new customers but also to existing customers.
Furthermore, chatbots also can “listen” to customers, as explained by Ubisend. In this sense, the chatbot will collect valuable data from the customers it talks to. The chatbot will then be able to deliver these results to a reporting tool, which will help the business owner better determine what their customers are looking for, the type of questions they are asking and also help them identify potential opportunities in which they can improve their services to boost customer satisfaction and potentially gain more customers.
To better understand how the implementation of chatbots could potentially benefit a particular company, it is a good idea to consider some existing chatbots and look at how some of the top brands on the internet are using this technology to their advantage. Here is a list of some excellent examples of chatbot technology in action, as reported by Inc.com:
- Lyft: Lyft is a service that is similar to Uber, allowing customers to order a ride from point A to point B. With the use of the chatbot, customers can request a ride in an instant. The chatbot will tell the customer where their driver is currently located when the driver will show up and even present the customer with an image of the car model and the driver’s license plate to make it easy to identify the car that is picking up the customer.
- Spotify: With the implementation of a chatbot, Spotify has made it extremely easy for customers to listen to their favorite music. The chatbot will also strive to identify potential songs that will suit the customer’s favorite genre, as well as match their current mood and their current activity with potential music.
- Mastercard: Mastercard has made it very easy for customers to check up on their account by simply asking the chatbot questions about their account. The chatbot can provide accurate details even on specific requests, such as how much money a person spent at restaurants during a particular month.
- Pizza Hut: Pizza Hut has implemented a chatbot that makes it easy for customers to order their favorite pizza, which they can then pick up from their closest Pizza Hut branch or have it delivered to their doorstep. The chatbot is also able to provide the customer with deals that are currently available from Pizza Hut and answer questions the customer may have.
These are only a couple of examples that provide an overview of just how powerful chatbots can be. There are many other examples that can also be considered.
Chatbots And Social Media Marketing
Now that we have discussed the advantages that chatbots had to offer a business and looked at some examples let’s discuss how chatbots can be implemented in a company’s social media marketing strategy to help them boost customer satisfaction, brand authority and deliver 24/7 support to both existing and potentially new customers.
The very first step is to determine the goals you wish to achieve through the implementation of a chatbot in your current business model. You need to know why you are going to be using a chatbot and what the function of the chatbot will be. For example, you could opt for a basic implementation; thus only using this technology to answer basic questions that customers may have, or you may choose to create something more advanced that will offer a more interactive and personalized experience for your customers.
Once you have identified the goals you wish to achieve through the use of a chatbot, the next step is to decide whether you are going to be using an existing chatbot framework or develop your own. Developing your chatbot framework can take a significant amount of time, and it can cost a lot of money; thus it is usually recommended to utilize chatbot frameworks and applications that have already been developed. These are available at cost-effective prices and offer several customization options to make your chatbot unique.
eLearning Industry recommends the following chatbots for businesses wishing to implement this technology into their Facebook page and other messaging platforms:
- Melody by Baidu
- Insomno Bot
There are more chatbot applications out there. Each has their own set of pros and cons that you need to consider; thus you need to do some research into each of these bots to identify the particular one that will work best for your business model and the goals you have in mind.
After setting up a chatbot, you should ensure that you configure it properly and customize it toward your business model. You will also need to spend some time training the chatbot – this will allow the chatbot to present customers with the right responses to particular questions they may have.
With the ever-increasing popularity of chatbots, more companies are starting to implement this type of technology not only in their customer service departments but also as part of their social media marketing strategies. Chatbots allow for a company to save a significant amount of money when it comes to delivering quality customer service to potential customers, and also helps to increase conversion rates by providing customers with around-the-clock support and instant answers to virtually any question they might have.