Today’s consumers expect a stellar customer experience from the moment they first encounter a company, through to product purchase and follow-up support. The rise of social media has altered communication preferences, with people leaning towards online interaction with businesses rather than telephone contact and expecting instant responses. One way for businesses to meet these expectations is by using chatbots, not only as a customer service tool but also as an integral part of the sales cycle.
How do chatbots work?
Chatbots are not the same as live chat, where you’re talking to a person on the other side of the messenger window. Instead, they’re a combination of artificial intelligence and computer code, where the code covers a variety of set responses that enable the chatbot to answer questions. The chatbot improves its response accuracy by learning from its interactions, using machine learning and AI to become smarter.
In developing a chatbot for your business, ensure that your AI designers keep the conversation options closely aligned with the chatbot’s purpose. It’s important to cover the basic conversations that have simple answers, together with rather more open-ended interactions that need a more flexible, natural communication. Analysis of the customer’s responses is vital to develop a suitably conversational user interface.
How can they help your business?
While chatbots are frequently used to deal with customer support questions, they are also proving to be highly valuable at initiating sales. There are several reasons for this, not least of which are ongoing improvements in AI technology that enable a chatbot to gather useful information such as basic lead scores by asking a pre-defined set of questions, interpreting this data faster than a human analyst would, and passing good prospects to the appropriate sales teams. This can happen within minutes rather than days.
Then there’s the unprecedented rise of messaging apps, with their billions of active users: chatbots can be integrated into platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Slack, and can engage with potential customers in a non-intrusive way before they even visit your website. Additionally, chatbots provide the instant, 24-hour response that consumers demand and set an immediate benchmark for great service. Since 3 out of 4 UK customers would change brands due to a poor customer service experience , this is a major positive in both attracting and retaining business.
In addition to compiling lead scoring data and building an initial relationship with the customer, chatbots can add value to several other stages of the sales funnel. Once a potential customer is interested in your product, a chatbot can answer common preliminary questions or transfer them to a sales representative if necessary. Chatbots can also showcase additional services and products beyond the customer’s initial interest, either through upselling as part of the AI design, or by analysing their browsing history.
Ultimately, chatbots help you to meet consumer expectations, learn from feedback to provide an improved experience and reduce your customer service costs.
Whilst the increased emphasis on customer satisfaction may be challenging for today’s business managers, it also provides new and exciting opportunities. Why not talk to our team of industry experts at RC&A to see how we can help your company with digital resourcing?
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