CHATBOTS EXPLAINED AND HOW THEY CAN BENEFIT YOUR CUSTOMERS

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Picture of Kimberlie Williams
Written by Kimberlie Williams

CHATBOTS EXPLAINED AND HOW THEY CAN BENEFIT YOUR CUSTOMERS

You are most likely already be familiar with a number of chatbots under names like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. These are more simplified chatbots that are designed to respond to a given pool of commands. If you ask these assistants something outside of what they’ve been programmed to do, you will probably get a response like, “Sorry, I don’t understand.”

Then there are other chatbots that are more advanced, utilizing AI software to present a more human-like conversation style, tackle more complex inquiries, and utilize machine learning to constantly improve itself. These chatbots are frequently used more and more by businesses to combat being blocked and removed from customer inboxes, feeds, and notifications for spam.

So how do you go about implementing a chatbot that circumvents these customer annoyances, all the while being beneficial for both your customers and for your business?

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Your Chatbot Should Be Available When Customers Need It

 

AI-empowered chatbots are usually integrated into places people usually need assistance fast. This is often messaging apps, like Facebook Messenger. Integrating chatbots into messaging apps makes it easy for customers to call upon a service when it is needed and convenient for them, instead of the traditional advertising approach that nags users with obtrusive spam. It also lessens the workload on your employees.

The key to understanding how to develop and successfully integrate a chatbot is knowing your customer base. Your chatbot should understand the thought process they take when making a purchasing decision or resolve an issue. It should be able to answer commonly asked questions and provide further assistance, content, or information as needed.

Your Chatbot Should Provide A Service 

 

Chatbots are usually broken down into two categories: utility and informational.


Utility bots exist to solve a problem for users. Think about when you’re messaging a colleague, and you need to book an appointment at a restaurant for a meeting. The restaurant’s chatbot could be called upon to quickly to book the appointment mid-conversation. Some utility bots are even cable of scanning emails and booking appointments by themselves.

Utility bots are frequently used for transactions, like shopping or booking a flight, or for customer inquiries, like quick medical advice. Utility bots should be programmed to answer all any questions or concerns a customer could possible have. It should behave similarly to its human counterpart that would be doing a similar job for your business.

The key difference is that this bot holds an even more expansive breath of knowledge and can be reached any time of the day. Utility bots would also be useful to integrate into software programs as a way to provide quick, responsive customer service for any of customers who may be in need of tech support.

Informational bots, on the other hand, are another way to receive updates and content. These types of bots would be good for people who are interested in news like score updates for sports or they can be asked to provide specific information that can be personalized to customer tastes.

 

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Your Chatbot Should Have Some Personality

While talking to an efficient robot is a great time saver, not many people actually want to feel like they’re talking to a cold, lifeless robot. A chatbot that evokes a friendly, lovable personality is memorable and creates a welcoming atmosphere for your business, just as an employee with a similar personality would.

Your chatbot should have a similar “personality” as the one portrayed by your business brand. If your business is more serious, a chatbot that cracks jokes every 10 minutes may not be the best choice. If your business is more playful, then jokes would be good to integrate into it.

If your business is one that attracts a lot of younger people who use slang, then make sure your chatbot is able to understand or teach itself the meaning of those slang terms. Your chatbot should interact well with your target audience and mirror them in a lot of ways. All of these steps will help facilitate brand loyalty and  a more comfortable customer experience.

You should also place it where your customers are located. For example, if you're a B2B business, IBM's Slack, a messenger app geared towards workplace interactions, could possibly be a great home.

Remember to test your bot with select customers first before rolling it out.

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These are some of the main things to look for when developing a chatbot or having someone else make one for you. Chatbots aren’t just a shiny new toy, but a way to help you improve your customer service with quicker response times and lightening the workload on your staff. 

Chatbots are only growing in popularity. As people forego traditional forms of communication, messenger apps worldwide are now utilized more than social media, so it's always better to be prepared than to play catch up.