Chatbots, a brief introduction

What is a chatbot?

In simple terms, chatbots are computers which are programmed to simulate human conversation. Not only can they tell you what the weather is going to be like today (Alexa), but they can also be very useful in a business setting and are quickly gaining in popularity among users and companies alike. In a recent survey, Microsoft found that 56% of people prefer to engage with a chatbot than talk to a customer service agent.

How can chatbots help your business?

Chatbots come into their own in a customer service or sales setting by helping to generate leads and increase productivity.

  • When staff aren’t available, such as the weekend or after hours, chatbots are there 24/7 to answer customers’ queries quickly and to their satisfaction.
  • Even during office hours chatbots can help with sales. After asking a few introductory questions the chatbot can then help the customer find an agent by directing them to the most appropriate person. This means that the customer won’t waste their time being transferred around the company or having to hang on too long on the phone – something we all hate doing!
  • While chatbots are answering simple requests, agents are free to take more complicated enquiries and complete important tasks they may not have time for ordinarily.
  • Chatbots can be programmed to react to different types of customer depending on how they answer specific questions, offering a more streamlined experience.

 

Hand holding phone with chatbot

Are there any downsides to chatbots?

Obviously chatbots have their limitations. They can only respond to pre-programmed questions and cannot resolve complicated issues. This means there will always be a need for human interaction in some scenarios.

Chatbots can also be expensive for the company to install, and obviously those with higher functionality are pricier, but they could prove more cost-effective in the long run.

This is just a very brief introduction to the pros and cons of chatbots. To get more of an idea of what they can do for your business, research online and chat to colleagues to get their perspective.

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