Asking whether chatbots are right for your business is like asking if social media marketing is right for you. If they haven’t made it to your industry yet, bots are well on their way.
Messaging apps are becoming the next big thing in marketing. Social media is still king, but messaging apps are slowly taking over. The way to capitalize on this is through bots.
Tread carefully, though.
When a new channel starts to show promise, we tend to get overexcited and overwhelm our audience.
A little restraint will go a long way, especially with chatbots. As efficient as they are, research shows that people really don’t like them. They can be the key to overwhelming success but their proper application is crucial.
What Exactly Is a Chatbot?
There’s a simple answer and a complicated answer to that question. Forget the complicated answer, as it doesn’t pertain to you as a marketer.
All you need to know is that a “bot” is a piece of software that automates a task or a group of tasks.
There is a variety of bots available. Some are able to handle a range of tasks, while others are more limited. Bots are designed and built to do very specific things.
In practical terms, this means that the chatbot program will have a series of pre-written responses to interact with humans.
For example,imagine your company that manufactures harmonicas. People often find themselves on your website trying to find the best harmonica for them. Instead of directing them to support staff, you implement a chatbot. When the person visits your site, the chatbot initiates interaction. It then reads the visitor’s questions and uses preprogrammed responses to answer them.
Instead of communicating with another person, your customer gets an answer from an automated system. It’s more streamlined, faster, and, best of all, instantly available.
The Benefits of Bots
The surface benefit of using chatbots is pretty obvious. You don’t have to pay a staff member to engage in customer service. But that’s not all. Bots are useful in a lot of other ways, as well.
- Bots are easy to build and implement. You can design a bot for Facebook Messenger in under half an hour. Granted, this won’t be the most sophisticated bot ever made but it will get the job done. Even a simple chatbot can be very useful and cost-effective.
- Bots give simple answers to simple questions. A lot of people just want a quick and simple answer to a short question. So, instead of having to sift through the database or speak with a person, people can get their answers instantly and be on their way.
- Bots always put your best foot forward. An interaction with a bot will always be predictable. Your brand image will be presented in the best possible light every time. A chatbot won’t lose his temper or insult anyone.
- The potential of bots is still unexplored. Bots are being adopted en masse and the sky’s the limit for them. At present, it’s hard to predict how the use of bots will evolve. However, it’s worth considering the earlier statistic about messaging apps. When messaging apps finally take over, companies with the best bots will lead the pack.
Chatbots Are Already Here
To answer the original question: bots are not only effective they are a necessary tool for 21st century entrepreneurs.
Just about every enterprise can benefit from using chatbots. Not to mention the very real ROI potential of bots as compared to humans.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows here. Poor implementation of bots can signal that a brand is losing touch with its customer base. Even a short string of negative experiences are enough for customers to walk away from a brand.
To sum it all up, bots are definitely a great tool, but they can do more harm than good if they’re not implemented correctly.
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