Chatbot technology could improve your business, time to move beyond the IVR?

    Many businesses structured phone calls to be their primary interface to support customers, but that’s changing fast. If you’ve called a small business, chances are your call gets answered by a human, if you call a medium or large sized business, chances are you get connected to a Interactive Voice Response (IVR).

    These IVRs attempt to workflow your call to the appropriate person inside the business to answer your question. This was an effective technique, but is quickly being replaced as businesses scale.

    As businesses mature and grow their customer base, they will inevitably reach a point where scaling with humans, no longer makes sense. Adding humans to continually answer the same question over and over again, is not a good or efficient use of that person’s time, instead, businesses are increasingly turning to online chat platforms, integrating them into their website.

    This is a really powerful business decision, not without challenges, but if you can engineer it correctly, the customer feel like they’re talking to a human, but not just any human, the best human, one that knows every aspect of the business, all the common answers to customer enquiries and never needs a break.

    If your business doesn’t have a chatbot, you could be missing out on potential leads, along with some of the following benefits: 

    A business personality

    When customers interact with a Chatbot, it can only respond to questions that it has the answer to. These answers come as a result of an algorithm that ingests the users questions, breaks it into chunks and verifies if there’s a reference to any of it in a provided database of business information.

    Take a customer enquiry about the release date of an upcoming product. To begin, you’d need to have a list of all of the products you offer. From there, you’d need the relevant fields of metadata, or other properties about each product. These would include items like the current status (on-sale, up-coming, end of life etc), the current price, release date, dimensions, and more.

    A user that asks the Chatbot ‘When can I buy product XYZ?’ could be replied to with a statement like ‘Product XYZ will go on-sale on July 19th, 2021, would you like to pre-order now?’

    Not only does the response answer the customer’s enquiry, but it also contains a call to action, to capture the sale immediately, or at least details that will lead to a sale in the future.

    Configuring that Chatbot may sound complex to many whose core business lies elsewhere, so engaging the services a digital agency can simplify the setup of your chatbot. With your input, they can help you establish what you want your bot to help potential customers with, while also giving it a name, face, and a type of ‘personality’.

    With a charming bot greeting customers through one or all of your online platforms, you’re able to set an excellent first impression.

    24/7 Availability

    Most businesses aren’t open 24/7, unless you’re in an emergency line of work or sometimes even hospitality. However, the addition of an AI chatbot can mean customers can request help 24/7. The bot can answer basic questions at any time of the day or night, while not being phased by large numbers of inquiries.

    If there is something they can’t help with, the customer can request a human employee. In that situation, an employee can immediately connect into the chat or follow up at a later time. 

    Learning customer behaviour

    With a growing number of people using chatbots to interact with businesses, you may start to see patterns forming in what those potential customers are searching for. This information can help you improve your online presence while making changes based on what is being requested.

    For example, if a customer wants to find vehicle registration rates on your website and you repeatedly see this request, you can create instructional content for locating this information. Alternatively, you might ask your design agency to make adjustments to your site layout to make the information easier to find.

    Increase sales

    Aside from productivity, one of the most common reasons why businesses adopt new technology is to see if it can boost their sales. Surprisingly, chatbots may be able to help with this.

    Rather than leaving possible customers to work their way through the sales funnel on their own, a chatbot can guide the way. They can help customers pick products, display the latest offers and promo codes, and answer questions that may lead to customers making a fast purchase.

    More than just customer support

    Chatbots are helping businesses with a multitude of tasks and whether it’s customer service, recruitment, sales, marketing, or something else, it’s likely you’ll find the ability to automate tasks you previously deployed humans to do.

    For example, in recruitment, a chatbot could answer questions around the key selection criteria of a position, when the opening ends, what the pay rates are, and much more. In marketing, chatbots could be leveraged for lead generation and assisting users to subscribe to mailing lists for future information distributed by your business.

    It can be difficult to predict which technology advancements are going to help your business, but there’s no denying the potential, flexibility, and adaptability of a chatbot.  

    While you may feel like building a chatbot for your business is a task out of your reach, thankfully the process has been simplified as more and more businesses look to leverage them for the benefits above. You should also consider that your competition may already be moving into process automation with a Chatbot to gain a competitive advantage, so the time to start looking is now.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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