Communication and collaboration have never been easier - ushering in a new era of productivity (and innovation) in just about every industry you can think of.
The same is absolutely true in customer service, too - or those critical interactions that you're having with the members of your target audience regularly. Gone are the days when, if someone had a question about your product or service, they had to physically pick up the phone and give you a call. Now, they can instantly get their answer (or address a concern) in a myriad of different fashions, from e-mail to Knowledge Bases and other helpful support outlets, most of which are generated and maintained internally by you and your people.
But the problem is that many of these interactions - up until recently - still required the time and attention of your actual human employees. Thanks to the powers of both Artificial Intelligence and related subsets like Machine Learning, however, this is no longer the case. You do finally have access to something that can instantly improve the customer experience, all without taking the time and attention of your human employees away from those tasks that really need them. This resource is so powerful - yet so straightforward - it can be summed up in one simple yet beautiful word:
What Are Chatbots and Why Are They So Critical?
A chatbot, as its name suggests, is a very specific type of computer program that is designed to simulate conversations with human users - primarily over the Internet. Users can communicate with that chatbot either via a text-based interface or by using their voice, similar to how they would talk to an actual person. That chatbot can then not only interpret and process the words and phrases those users are employing, but it can use them to serve up instant pre-set answers to many of the common questions and concerns that your business is facing.
To top it all off, chatbots are already incredibly popular - as a wide range of recent studies go a long way towards proving. It has been estimated that about 40% of consumers don't actually care whether a real person or a chatbot helps them - so long as they get the help they need, they're not really bothered by where it comes from.
Another recent study estimated that about 37% of consumers say that they outright expect to get quick answers to questions in an emergency - which is another one of the most beneficial use cases out there. The problem with a human employee is that they need to eat. Occasionally, they go to the bathroom. Sometimes they want to go on vacation and, on a regular basis, they also have to sleep. None of these things are true for a chatbot, essentially allowing them to rise up to become the perfect type of employee - one that is available for any emergency situation that your users may be experiencing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year.
From that perspective, it's easy to see how to use chatbots to do everything from simply improving the quality of the customer experience you're offering to employing similar resources to grow your Shopify sales. If a customer to your e-commerce store has a question about what related accessories they might buy to get the most out of a purchase they've already made, they don't necessarily need a human to hold their hand. Based on the words and phrases the customer is using in conversation, along with data from that customer's purchase history that the chatbot can draw from, they can easily get the answers they seek without getting up from their computer chair. The customer is satisfied and you didn't have to pull a human employee away from some far more important task they were working on. It truly is the textbook definition of a win-win situation regardless of how you look at it.
The Continued Implications of Chatbots and Sales
But chatbots can easily prove their worth in other areas of your organization, too. Let's say that you just sat down with a tree diagram maker like Visme (which I founded) to create a new, beautiful piece of collateral that you'll soon be using in your sales process. Let's say it's something designed to more easily help users decide between one product over another based on the specifics of their situation.
Thanks to how far Artificial Intelligence has come in such a short amount of time, there's no reason why that chatbot cannot recommend that very resource to customers during conversations. This type of contextual analysis is huge for not only improving the effectiveness of the answers being provided, but it's also a large part of the reason why most people don't actually realize that they're talking to chatbots in the first place.
Chatbots can also play an invaluable, active role as a part of your video marketing or other digital advertising strategies, too. By having a chatbot that exists on your landing pages alongside the other visual collateral that you've been spending so much time on like videos, you can:
About the author:
Payman Taei is the founder ofVisme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder ofHindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.