One of the best ways to build a better business model is to improve the customer experience. The more you can anticipate and adapt to your customer’s needs, the easier it is to create strong, sustainable relationships.
That said, interacting with customers is a full-time position. Even if you have staff available, will you be able to address any customer complaints or issues 24/7? Probably not, which is where chatbots come in.
In this article, we’ll outline the basics of chatbots, including how they work and the various types you can deploy on your website. Here’s what you need to know.
What are Chatbots?
As the name implies, a chatbot is a robot (aka program) that chats with users. Chatbots have been around for a while, but they’ve taken off in recent years, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence technology. As the bot interacts with different people, it can learn how to interpret their responses to provide better information.
Simply put, a chatbot is an automated tool that allows your business to engage with customers without needing a human support agent. As we’ll discuss in the next section, chatbots can be highly useful for a wide array of activities.
What are Chatbots Used For?
One of the best advantages of a chatbot is that you can customize its purpose to meet a specific need. Some examples can include:
- Company Information – A chatbot can provide details like your hours of operation, phone number, or address.
- Bill Pay – Most consumers are savvy enough to know how to enter their financial information to pay a bill. A chatbot can guide them through the various steps and provide a receipt for verification purposes.
- Answer FAQs – Rather than sending a customer to a FAQ page, a chatbot can be programmed to answer various questions automatically. The added benefit is that the bot can provide multi-part answers based on follow-up questions. If your bot can learn based on interactions, it can log new questions and answers on the fly to ensure better customer service in the future.
- Customer Support – While a chatbot won’t be able to diagnose a specific problem, it can share data such as tutorials, videos, and page links. All a customer has to do is mention the type of problem they’re having, and the bot can point them in the right direction.
- Marketing and Sales – Chatbots don’t have to worry about feeling rejected, so they can upsell and cross-sell with every transaction. Automatic reminders will make it easier to increase your total earnings per order.
What Types of Chatbots are There?
Since these bots can be used in various situations, it helps to customize the bot to match the position. Here are the five primary options available to businesses:
- Menu or Button-Based Bots – In this instance, the user presses a button from a menu selection screen. This process is similar to navigating a voicemail session over the phone. Since the user chooses the correct option, there is a smaller chance for error or technical glitches. However, you have to provide sufficient menu options, which requires a lot of back-end work.
- Keyword Recognition Bots – Rather than presenting the user with a button, the bot will scan their text for specific keywords. This option is a bit smoother, provided that a user doesn’t misspell the keyword (or get confused about the word they want). These bots are still rule-based, meaning that you have to program them with a set number of responses and if/then conditioning.
- Linguistic Bots – This type of bot is a step above the keyword bot in that it can interpret language more easily. So, the bot can understand context cues, not just specific keywords. This bot is ideal for complex customer support situations, as users may not know which keywords or menu options would work best.
- AI Bots – The ultimate chatbot is one that can learn as it goes. However, these bots are expensive to install and maintain, so most businesses don’t employ them. That said, this type of bot can be pretty valuable for companies that have a massive number of customer interactions.
- Voice-Activated Bots – Rather than typing keywords or sentences, a user can simply ask their question aloud. Fortunately, voice-capture technology has come a long way, so the chances of misunderstanding what’s being said are pretty low (but not zero).
Are You Looking to Improve the User Experience on your Website? Work with the Professionals at BizIQ to Improve Website Today
Installing and implementing chatbots can help your business, but do you know what it takes to get them up and running? Don’t worry if you don’t – we’re here to help. Contact us today to find out how we can make chatbots a cornerstone of your brand.