The effect of chatbots on the global marketing metagame is astounding. While not all entrepreneurial applications strictly require chatbots, they almost always prove to be phenomenal in boosting operations and efficiency. Thus, it has become a sort of necessity whenever any applicable field of business gets large enough.
That being said, just having a chatbot doesn’t automatically guarantee the level of gain that it promises. In this article, we shall briefly introduce some of the most integral reasons to have a chatbot for business, as well as optimization tips and provider recommendations.
The Most Important Advantages of Chatbots for Businesses
Information is often the main reason anyone cites when they talk about the conceptual advantages of chatbots. But they are more than just a fancy answering machine; the heart of a chatbot’s practical use lies in automation (which, also indirectly leads to saving money). Each of these advantages is an element that you need to fully exploit to maximize whatever a particular chatbot platform has to offer for your business:
1. Business Support Displacement
Okay, we admit, this does also include the money saved from slashing off your human customer support workforce. But, looked at in a better way, this also means that there is ample opportunity for the rest of the human workforce to be reassigned. Preferably, this would be to areas that may require “manual” expertise. Hence, businesses use the term “displacement” instead of simply laying off.
As for what these “manual” expertise are, a few things come to mind:
- Systems maintenance – ultimately still requires very, very few people, but at least the human element remains its basic requirement for preservation contingency purposes.
- Think tanks, concept teams – creativity remains one of the frontiers that AI is yet to conquer. Instead of doing repetitive, mundane tasks, your human agents could instead use their critical thinking skills at the business negotiation table.
- Marketing, public relations – While the smaller, more dedicated customer support focuses on actual leads (generated by chatbots), a (small) portion of the workforce may be reassigned to interact with the world as a representative of your business.
2. 24/7 Availability
This one is very easy to conceptualize, as it is a self-explanatory chatbot perk that is very well suited to the optimization-focused nature of a business. Near constant availability will typically be your first and foremost focus for effective chatbot platform design in terms of pure gains and income. Aside from interactivity, of course.
Thus, it is important to integrate your chatbot in accordance with your business’ typical operating hours. For example, if a user happens to submit a query outside of the usual business hours, it would offer a completely different turnover option. However, it will only be useful if it can lead the customer to a satisfying conclusion instead of just ending the interaction with a disappointing “just come back tomorrow.”
3. Handling Capacity
Customer support relies heavily on being able to manage the fluctuating flow of incoming customer traffic. This is because once a service bottleneck occurs, the risk of losing customers and potential leads increases dramatically. It may not be everyone, but the very idea of having to wait to some toneless music before an operator reaches you isn’t going to be accepted readily by everyone.
This is why the advantages of chatbots in automation and operational consistency is put into very, very effective use in any business application. The quality is technically intrinsic, as processing capacity is functionally handled by the data center where the chatbot operates. This means you don’t really even have to take any meaningful action to optimize this advantage!
4. Eliminating Repetitiveness
Another self-explanatory perk represents a chatbot’s best value when it comes to being used for businesses. It is at the heart of every automated system, the front, and center of every basic greeting that your chatbot will offer whenever there is a new visitor. If answering FAQs is the highlight of your customer support branch’s daily activities, then it’s better to eliminate this step altogether by combining numbers 2 and number 3 for this one.
In fact, preserving the perfect accuracy of the chatbot’s responses and guidance isn’t even a priority here. Instead, it is enough to be sure that no human agent has to waste their time handling such mindless interactions.
Optimization Goals of a Chatbot for Business
Designing and implementing a chatbot for the first time is often considered the biggest hurdle for businesses. It is, in a way, a point of intimidation, as new developers can often get confused with the options available, and what should really be done.
A good remedy to this is always a nice dose of optimization. This is to provide a clearer direction, which would then result in better focus, at least for the features that really matter to your business:
1. Clearly Define Your Objectives and Expectations
What exactly would you want the chatbot to do? How do you imagine its final version to work on your platform of choice? It sounds kind of obvious, but, on many occasions, user expectation either becomes too wide or too vague. Start with a simple target, like filtering out false leads, and then trace your objectives and expectations from there.
We know and understand that being unable to gauge performance realistically is inevitable. After all, you don’t have any analytics to start with. Conceptually, you may think of this step as assessing your investment. Think about the additional development staff, assess the quality of trials and testing, and determine if your theoretical chatbot build would be relatively easy to maintain with the level of manpower and mastery that you have now.
And don’t forget, in the midst of all this, your business evolves. Thus, there is also a need to keep adapting new ideas (and maybe new employees) to create new objectives.
2. Prepare and Plan for Failure
Planning and strategizing can only take you as far as your accurate predictions go. Beyond that… is the unknown frontier. No matter how prepared you think you are, there will always be unforeseen developments that could shake the foundations of your chatbot platform.
Hence, expecting failure is your next step to optimizing your chatbot for business. This can be as simple as a restart (back-to-question-one) routine, one that is hopefully less obstinate about its failure to keep the customer’s attention intact. Developing high tolerance for very simple responses (generating moderately accurate answers before redirecting) also creates a safety net. Even if the interaction eventually fails, the analytics should, at a baseline level, be accurate enough for you to analyze the problem later.
Trick Convince Users to Rate Your Chatbot
Not exactly a business application-oriented tip, but we figure this may be just as important for chatbots in business as any other wider implementation for such technology. As many of you have already realized, the attention span of a typical user towards any kind of rating/review system is typically low. However, because user ratings can significantly augment the data provided by your analytics, it is important to develop a method to manage them consistently to respectable degrees.
- Provide an upper word count limit– something around 150 words or so could help convey specific opinions without breaking the back of your review staff.
- Let the chatbot offer the rating only with enough interaction – an accurate review is more likely to be provided by a user who has a good experience with your chatbot. Besides, if the user quits prematurely, that is already a sign of another issue.
- 10-star rating is statistically better than 5-star – offers better nuances on the opinion of the user, which could reinforce the 150-word brief “survey” response further.
The Thin Line Between Utter Failure and Massive Success
Now, if you have been following some of the basic topics about chatbots on this website, you may have noticed that we always use the term “sufficiently developed” or something along those lines to show the best of what chatbots can do. This is because it is really the only time when chatbots truly become useful, business or no business.
So as a last reminder, without a robust, practical design, failure becomes practically imminent, sometimes to hilariously bad levels. Question not only whether your business is compatible with a chatbot, but also ask yourself to what extent would you actually invest in learning how to master them or in cooperating with your provider.
Because, at the end of the day, the fundamental advantage you are trying to exploit can only take you as far as its restrictions. If the platform can’t even get past unintended responses within first-level queries consistently, it is doomed to repeat Facebook’s greatest chatbot failure.