Technological advances in artificial intelligence are happening every day. Pair that with the proliferation of text messaging, social online messaging apps, and inter-office communication moving toward message/chat type resources over more traditional email, and you start to see the face of communication in a day-to-day environment changing. Using a chatbot as a business strategy can keep you more connected with the world and the way that it communicates more and more each day.
What is a chatbot? In layman’s terms, it is a piece of software that you chat with to get information, perform tasks, or to be entertained. In the bigger picture, you can see chatbots replacing many of the phone apps, websites, and computer programs you use every day. You can ask your phone what the weather is, instead of looking it up online or reading it in the paper. A chatbot might text you to tell you that your flight is delayed. You can use it as a personal assistant, setting calendar reminders or reordering printer paper on your behalf.
Chatbots are not a new technology, but they are rapidly advancing, thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI) tech. This allows companies to make chatbots smarter and more adaptive to human speech. For someone in a mid-market business or smaller, this sort of business strategy might seem like it’s the realm of major corporations, but chatbots are actually very accessible to even small start-ups. Only now are brands starting to really look at the business uses of a chatbot.
They are simple to use on both ends, they do not need to be downloaded, meaning no extra work on the end of the customer. They bring you lots and lots of data, which is extremely valuable. They keep you in contact with your clientele cheaply. There are a lot of upsides to implementation!
Here are just a few ways -out of hundreds- that you might be able to use a chatbot in your business:
- Be a resource for customers. (I.E. remember that weather app that was replaced by a chatbot?) Just because the Weather Channel has a TV station, a website, and a smartphone app, doesn’t mean it can’t have a chatbot. All this bot needs is to remember a consumer’s location, and it can pull that information to answer specific weather questions at a moment’s notice.
- Drive sales. There are chatbots out there that can turn a text message into a pickup order at a local restaurant. Siri can purchase music, movies, or television from your phone or AppleTV with a simple “Siri, buy Season 1 of The Wire.” The easier it is for consumers to purchase from you, the more likely it is that they will!
- Cut down on customer service costs. As a first point of contact for customers with questions, a chatbot can often resolve simple, common questions or concerns without the need for human support. Your most frequently-asked-questions loaded into a chatbot can save the time and money of your staff answering those same questions. And if the consumer needs more help, a chatbot can often act like a phone directory, pointing them in the right place for their query.