We will guide you through the most important features chatbots offer and how they can help you boost your business. You will also get to know some real-life examples and how to set up a simple bot yourself.
They are said to be everywhere these days, but invisible. You don’t even know whether you are dealing with one at the moment. They offer a helping hand to both customer support agents and clients. And they can influence the way your customers shop… Welcome to the world of chatbots!
Google Analytics has recorded a sudden surge in “online + keyword” searches in recent times. So, not only is it important to get your business online in some manner, but it is also paramount to have the necessary tools like chatbots to offer seamless service to the customers.
What are chatbots and who uses them?
While the coronavirus is basically rebooting the whole economy, chatbots can help you float over the likely abyss on the reboot and perhaps even help you scale greater heights.
In a nutshell, chatbots are computer programs whose tasks are to conduct conversations that replicate human behavior, e.g. by helping complete the orders or even upselling. They can be integrated with websites, mobile apps, social media pages or even phone-based customer care centers.
Usually, bots are implemented to messengers, websites, and mobile apps.
Chatbots can be classified into three types:
Button bot: it looks like a screen with buttons accorded to optioned actions. “Conversation” goes via tapping by a user on those buttons and the bot reacts to commands. Such a bot is good for collecting data and identifying interesting topics for a business audience, choosing various goods or services, order fulfilment, and users redirection to a payment system, as well as for answering typical questions (FAQ).
Prompter bot: this one hints the user how to ask the question with more precision by suggesting questions based on entered keywords. So that the client doesn’t have to spend time thinking about how to say the question/request.
This type of chatbots is good for bank client service. Only when the user has a specific or non-common question does the bot redirect the user to the service desk operator. This allows banks to several times decrease a workload on the service desk.
Source: Bank of America
Smart bot: the AI-based one that is able to take a full-fledged dialog with a user. Its answers are closest to human-like speech. Such bots use NLP solutions (Natural Language Processing). We will cover that further down in the article.
According to a research published on 3rd March 2020 by Technavio, the chatbot market will grow by $1.11 billion within the next 4 years. In other words: the market is about to explode. Let’s examine who can benefit from this big bang
Which businesses can opt for chatbots?
The current pandemic has been a wake-up call for many businesses. Chatbots are already widely used and for the biggest players it became a norm to have them. Human customer care agents cannot match their scope and scalability. It would be a lost battle once chatbot technology amasses critical velocity, so it’s important to act fast.
Let’s have a look at some business sectors that would benefit from incorporating chatbots.
Even the retail outlets that do not have online presence can boost their customer service by hiring bots. It saves their time and effort needed for dealing with frequent queries of the same mould.
Examples for chatbots use in retail:
• boosting sales (instat, 24/7 customer support),
• finding and selecting products (“add to cart” process),
• completing order,
• offering similar products before the checkout (upselling).
Online shops are missing out big time if they are not already using chatbots. They not only multiply the efficiency and effectiveness of customer service, but also help boost the sales.
Examples for chatbots use in e-commerce:
• enhanced completing and confirming order process,
• tracking the order delivery status,
• following clients with notifications and reminders,
• upselling with special offers based on the client’s previous purchases and search requests.
Banking and financial services
Banking and financial sector has to be the most tailor-made domain for chatbots. Banking customers periodically require information in a solidly structured format. Here chatbots can take over the entire customer service spectrum from initial communication and FAQ to troubleshooting and online help.
Examples for chatbots use in banks and financial services:
• preliminary consultation before an actual customer support agent replies,
• customising personal offer based on short answers (e.g. choosing the right account or installments plan),
• quick help with using online services (e.g. how to download a bank statement to .pdf, etc.),
• instant online payment and transfer methods.
The tourism sector is forced to cut staffing costs significantly because of the COVID-19’s effects, such as travel bans. Once they’re raised, chatbots will be extremely helpful for tour operators, hotels, restaurants and other players to keep excellent customer support.
Examples for chatbots use in tourism:
• choosing the destination,
• informing clients about delays or changes in arrival/departure times,
• offer aggregation,
• checking weather conditions and displaying important alerts.
Bots evolutionized the online learning sector too. These tools can act as solid companions to the students by offering information distribution, FAQ answers and all kinds of service support.
Examples for chatbots use in education:
• updates on interesting topics (news feed),
• selecting the course based on a quick placement test,
• interactive courses (Q&A-style),
• completing daily learning tasks, such as vocabulary revision.
NLP in chatbots
As promised, we cover one of the greatest advancements in the chatbots world – NLP.
If you misspell words or use colloquial terms, like we all do during hurried personal communications, the bots rock at mid-sea. They tend to give incorrect answers or simply refuse to provide any meaningful answers.
That is where NLP comes in. It is a high-end technical thing, involving complex algorithms and technical processes. In simple terms, it is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that enables machines to receive, process and derive meaning from human languages. NLP deals not just with verbatim meaning in a language, but with tones and feelings associated with the language too.
Looking at the chatbot market leaders, such as Siri or Google Assistant, it is safe to say that the technology will be perfected very soon. Chatbots will start tolerating grammar and spelling mistakes just like humans or even better. Without being judgemental 😉
Chatbots on Facebook (DIY tips!)
Still hungry for knowledge? Let’s get a bit more technical.
If your business has a Facebook page, you can set up a chatbot on that page by yourself. Facebook allows the users to pre-empt customer’s questions for which they can pre-set multiple answers.
To set up a simple chatbot, go to “Settings” on your fanpage. Then, in the panel on the left, find “Messaging”. Once you’re there, multiple options show – try to explore them and test different possibilities. The layout becomes more and more user-friendly, so that everyone can manage to set up some basic automatic answers without professional help.
When customers chat with the business on Facebook Messenger, they can click on the questions and then see the set of answers, from which they can choose the most suitable one. If you create the questions and arrange the answers with some creativity and ingenuity, you can provide 80% of the information that customers usually seek.
Two things happen here. First, customers get information about your business. Second, you get data about the customers’ requirements. Everything is automated too.
Sophisticated chats take this process to a far higher level. While you can still set multiple choice questions with answers, there is actually no need for that here. These tools can understand what the customers type or say, and reply to the questions in a natural language that humans write or speak.
Only thing is that proper and exact data about your business and products/service must be supplied into the tool’s database. The tool’s software fetches suitable data from the database and presents it to the customers in a predetermined format in a language that they can understand, like English, French or German.
Why a business must try chatbots now
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, a Facebook-conducted survey had found that customers are increasingly turning to messaging platforms for customer service. The survey revealed that about 67% of the respondents prefer messaging as a way to contact the customer service – rather than calling or sending emails. Chatbots are the logical solution to tackle, and benefit from, the situation.
In the post-corona world, this sway towards messaging is likely to increase only. Lockdowns mean more and more people will dive into the social media ocean and bots must be ready to ferry them to the businesses when they are in need of something.
It’s a no-brainer that time is ripe for businesses to embed chatbots. Choosing the right kind of chatbot tool and service provider could be the factor that makes or breaks the game.
Do you think your business needs a chatbot?
Then contact us! With our extensive development center, we make sure that the right industry-experienced specialists will take care of your project. Send a short email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will prepare a preliminary quotation.