Chatbots for SMEs

Published on: 05/04/2019

Our world is increasingly 24/7. Go out for a late-night drive, and you’ll see a variety of supermarkets open, beyond midnight. Customer service lines are available to call at 3 o’clock in the morning when the fire alarm won’t turn off. In our ever more 24/7 world, how can your small or medium sized business hope to offer around the clock customer service?

Enter chat bots. Your own online, digital workers who can help customers around the clock. There is a staggeringly large selection of chatbots available online which you could use for your small business.

 

What exactly are chatbots?

It may seem futuristic, but chat bots are very firmly established. Back in the days of MSN messenger, bots provided entertainment in the form of Smarterchild. As a service on Windows Live Messenger and AOL messenger, smarter child was able to communicate with users intelligently, and answer simple questions.

The same technology that made Smarterchild, can now be used for business. Built into two main categories, those that use AI and those which don’t, chatbots now have a wide range of uses across many different industries. Chatbots that use AI can intelligently reply to responses, and constantly learn so that they can improve their service. Those not using AI tend to work using preloaded keywords and can direct customers to different areas based on how they are told to response to each keyword.

 

Why should you consider using one?

24/7 customer service

Chatbots are able to provide a customer with communication at every hour of the day.

Bots such as Chatobook work through Facebook messenger, which is an increasingly important method of communication. With over a billion users, Facebook messenger is a way which customers may wish to interact with your business, rather than sending you an email, phoning your business, or visiting your website. With a chatbot available, it can provide automated and intelligent replies that can help direct customers.  

When Facebook provided a measure so that users could see how responsive a page was to messages, they set about a precedent that pages should be quick to reply, or risk looking as though they aren’t concerned with customer queries. There are many different metrics that Facebook uses to determine how responsive a page is, but it is broadly based around how many messages are replied to, and how long it takes to do so. With a chatbot, which can reply instantly, this is no longer an issue; your page will always be seen as responsive and will always be able to help customers.

 

Free up staff time

Answering customer queries can be very time consuming and take staff away from tasks that they otherwise would be able to focus on. By using a chatbot, you allow your staff to redirect their time to other tasks.

 

Insights

Chatbots can help you to see what is and what isn’t working for your business. Using selection data, you can see what customers are asking, and you can look at methods to improve customer experience as a result. For example, if you’re receiving a lot of queries about how to perform an action on your website, you can aim to improve the user experience around that area. Equally, if you have a large amount of questions about a particular product, you can look at how you are marketing the product, or how it is presented on the site itself and act reactively to customer feedback.

As the years move on, more and more electronic-employees may keep popping up in various messaging clients. They’ll get more and more intelligent and could be a helpful addition to many workplaces across the world.

 

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