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November 6, 2017

Should Your Website Consider Chatbots?

Technology in business is, quite simply, something that is unavoidable. With the way the world is expanding and adapting to the increase in technology, demand is constantly growing for businesses to adapt any number of technological solutions to common industry problems. Chatbots are one answer to some of these problems. But what exactly is a chatbot, and why should you consider one for your website and business?

balloon-2686569_960_720What are chatbots?

At their essence, a chatbot is a service provided by a business that a customer can interact with via a chat interface, whether that is Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, or even via text. With chatbots you could have a conversation with an automated robot programmed to respond in the most efficient way possible as opposed to a real person. Businesses all over the world are starting to pick this up as a way to provide customer service and help their potential clients find what they need in a faster, more efficient way than through a phone call or a visit to their shop or building.

Currently, there are two main types of chatbots being developed – chatbots based on artificial intelligence (AI) and another based on a multiple-choice script. Whichever bot would suit your business more efficiently will depend on the service you provide, but both can create a more personalised experience with content for your users and customers. AIs are still in the midst of being developed and so aren’t as ready as their multiple choice counterparts to hit the mainstream markets just yet. However, multiple choice scenarios are proving to be brand-safe, with businesses being able to have some level of control over what the bot can say.

Whether you’re looking to aid your customers in finding items they want, or direct them to the right port of call in the case of a complaint or issue with your company, a chatbot is simply a way for businesses to interact with and improve relationships with their customers, while still providing a personalised experience for each user.

What are the advantages?

While it may seem like a sweeping statement, practically every business can utilise chatbots in some way to aid their business. There are examples of chatbots overturning parking tickets for a law firm, chatbots that can ask doctor’s questions to give medical feedback and news bots that will give you breaking news straight to your device as and when it happens. There are so many ways that chatbots can be utilised, and with the technology constantly improving the possibilities are constantly growing.

A chatbot can help speed up buying, especially where complaints and concerns are involved. Users can find quick answers to their questions and find out more information if the chatbot has the ability, cementing their decisions to buy a product faster than if they were browsing on their own or waiting for human response. Chatbots can be taught what matters to customers the most and trained into answering the most commonly asked questions or questions on some of the most important topics, making them a valuable asset to any e-commerce site.

Nowadays, customers are demanding more and more convenient and effective online experiences, and chatbots can help to meet this expectation. For ease of use and rapid responses, chatbots are the perfect choice and it can help combat the changing wants and needs of a business’ clientele. Bots fit the ‘on the go’ lifestyle that so many are taking up, particularly with the growth of users relying on mobile, so it’s only a matter of time before more and more businesses take up this technology.

Chatbots can also offer 24/7 service where human resources might not. An automated service can run all day every day, giving your customers access to a form of helpline even when you don’t have any staff on hand to answer questions and issues.

Unlike the self-servicing past of apps, online forms and cluttered inboxes, chatbots can provide a service for your website, helping to integrate service, communication and transactions. This could result in a highly effective future marketing method for your brand, offering a streamlined, yet personalised experience for every consumer. Ultimately, bots provide a way to interact on a one-to-one basis with your buyers. Research suggests that the majority of mobile users (which is where the entire digital landscape is heading) spend most of their time in messaging apps. Your chatbot can be invited into these messaging apps, in order to help you provide the service your consumers are expecting, without them having to open up a new browser and navigate to you.

There are a huge number of marketing benefits that you can benefit from when implementing chat bots too:

  • Offer your audience a personalised experience at every stage of the conversion funnel
  • Larger engagement capacity, helping to retain your customers
  • Reach a wider audience through social media platform integration
  • Gather clearer customer feedback allowing easier analysis
  • Reduce the number of notifications, and only send personalised notifications to the right people
  • Make your brand more proactive in engaging with your consumers
  • Make communicating with your brand more fun
  • Nurture leads seamlessly throughout the conversion process
  • Continue to keep your social media presence up to date

call-center-2006866_960_720What are the disadvantages?

While chatbots are capable of answering potentially thousands of questions and know millions of words to provide the user with a personalised experience, it is still, ultimately, an automated service. Most chatbots are still unable to provide the ease and natural feeling of a conversation with a human being, and some customers may not like this approach, preferring a warmer, human conversation with your company.

A loss of jobs is also a possibility if you adopt chatbots. While this will save a company money overall, it isn’t good news for the employees that will be losing their jobs. Unemployment levels could rise as chatbots are picked up, especially considering the volume of call centres and their workers. If your business has a large call centre, you need to take into consideration the job losses that could occur if you bring in chatbots on a permanent basis.

Chatbots also hold a disadvantage in that they can’t complete as many complex actions as a human response. Chatbots work by recognising key words and phrases, and from here they’ll provide a pre-set response. Complex questions aren’t always recognised, and any activities that need to be completed aren’t always possible through a chatbot which can be frustrating for your customer.

While the technology for chatbots is growing exponentially, there is still a lot of room to improve. Artificial Intelligence is still improving day by day, and as businesses slowly weave this technology into their chatbots, they could become far more personalised and human-like, but currently, multiple-choice responses are the main technology. But does that mean you should wait to get a chatbot? Not necessarily. There are still plenty of advantages currently, so taking up a chatbot, even while the technology is still in its baby stages, could do you website some good in a technologically advanced ‘on the go’ world.

Are you interested in finding out more about how our experts can help you to optimise your website? Get in touch with the team at Absolute Digital Media today.

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Author:

Sophie Brannon

With a background in multimedia and music journalism, Sophie’s writing is as rich and varied as her iTunes library. While her passion for writing led her to seek the challenges of writing for a broad range of industries, Sophie continues to refine her skills with her camera in hand. Whether that’s pursuing her travel journalism or interviewing bands at festivals and awards, Sophie’s musings can be found across the web. When Sophie isn’t behind a keyboard, she can often be found jetting off around the world, or cuddling her collection of pet reptiles.


Email s.brannon@absolutedigitalmedia.com

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