In the contemporary world, the fascination of people with chatbots has reached a fever pitch.
And what with mankind’s unending tryst with technology to make its surroundings more ‘intelligent,’ the recent advancements in the field have led to the programming of these bots becoming more insightful and human, apart from being completely automated. This along with the seemingly gratifying blend of instantaneous response-feedback and round-the-clock-connectivity, has turned chatbots into a captivating new trend that is quickly climbing the popularity charts like no other.
What Is a Chatbot?
A chatbot is a conversational AI-tool that can simulate an actual exchange (or chat) with a user in a natural language through various means, such as websites, apps, and even telephones. By employing chatbots, devices can comprehend and react to standardised human input via the spoken or written medium.
According to Mary Beth Moore, an AI and Language Analytics Strategist at SAS, “Chatbots can be programmed to respond to simple keywords or prompts, or to hold complex conversations about specific topics. They range in complexity from information retrieval using keyword matches to active learning capabilities that provide in-depth responses and tailored suggestions based on previous conversations.”
Today, many online businesses are looking at numerous ways to introduce chatbots in their business to enhance the CX. Consequently, these bots have evolved beyond their unidimensional nature and grown to have found applications in different avenues, such as customer service, e-commerce, virtual assistance, etc.
Chatbot Architecture and Process
To effectively process and understand human language, the architecture of a chatbot is determined based on the intention of development. There exist two kinds of responses of a chatbot: it either produces an answer by itself (generative), or uses a heuristic to choose a reply from an archive of predefined replies (retrieval-based):
The generative architectural model is utilised to create smart chat bots that are progressive in nature. These are difficult to develop and training them takes a lot of time and effort as they require the implementation of complex algorithms. As such, they are scarcely used.
Chatbots of this model are much easier to construct as there exist numerous algorithms and APIs for developers already to fashion chatbots on this model. Bots built on this architectural model examine the body of the message and its context to deliver the closest response from an existing library.
Both these models find different uses everywhere. However, the retrieval-based model is more in use at the moment. Below, we’ll see how separate types of chatbots can be used to expedite various functions of your business’ operations.
Types of Chatbots
Serving as your website’s or application’s wingman, chatbots can assist in everything from screening and qualifying leads and intensifying customer outreach to resolving customer grievances and integrating new customers. To this end, there exist chatbots for different core departments, such as:
Did you know that an estimated 80% of businesses plan to have chatbots for themselves by the year 2020?
A chatbot can automate entire processes of your sales team and enable them to make one-on-one conversations at scale.
But, here’s the crowning stroke: Chatbots not only make the lives of your sales reps easier, but they also help them acclimatize to the shifting sales landscape and adopt a customer-oriented approach.
They give your visitors a real-time path to the sales team without bothering them with unrelated questions. With smart routing, you can make sure that your visitors always find their way to the right people.
As companies increasingly realize what chatbots can do, they are leaving no stone unturned to leverage the inherent benefits of this chatty novelty.
So much so that SalesRabbit, a sales enablement platform, reportedly saw an increase in the number of its sales meetings by 40%, observed an 84% increase in productivity, and generated 50% more leads with the integration of chatbots.
Customer Service (Support) Chatbots
Only providing instant answers to your potential customers is passé. They also want on-demand support. A very good practice in the eyes of customers, and a profitable one for businesses, is maintaining the discussion even after converting them into a customer by using a chatbot. By integrating your chatbot with your knowledge base, you can proactively send them articles from your help centre.
This will help you create a trustworthy relationship with your customers. Conversational support has increasingly been touted as the future of customer service for B2B companies, and rightly so. With it, you can get closer to your customers and build relationships at scale.
Utilising Sales Bots for Lead Generation
The beauty of chatbots is that apart from being an intuitive conversational software, they can be implemented at different stages of a business for countless purposes. Of all such places where chatbots can be introduced, the most prominent is using them for lead generation.
Customised Engagement Sessions
With chatbots, users can understand the kind of visitors on their website and how to target them with messages by leveraging historical data. And since chatbots can distinguish between users, such messages enhance the relevance of shopping sessions, resulting in higher engagement and more leads converted.
Punctuality and Availability
The cardinal rule of customer support is that timing is everything, which makes chatbots a very useful tool, one with whose help you can lessen your sales cycle drastically. Also, since they don’t require human involvement, they can always be primed to act whenever necessary.
With knowledge about when customers are interacting with your website, you can equip chatbots to offer them advice by popping up at the most opportune time, subsequently enhancing their CX.
Magnifying Scope of Operations by Automation
Even though chatbots can work in seclusion, they are hardly employed with that in mind. In fact, the main aim of employing chatbots is to make them work as an aide of your customer support team, subsequently enabling them to handle more clients within the same time. Consequently, businesses can realise more leads captured, warmed up, and/or converted.
Significance of Data Leveraged Through Chatbots
Since chatbots are the point-of-contact with the most valuable asset of all (the customer), they contain a lot of data, which if sourced properly, can pay huge dividends for a business. Following are a few ways where chatbots can be employed to make use of actionable data:
- Using a chatbot in place of a lead form can help you gain all the info that your sales and marketing teams require, ultimately providing a better CX, getting better results, and making you stand apart from the rest.
- Booking more meetings for the sales team can be possible by facilitating conversations at scale, giving your visitors a straight path to your sales team.
- By recording when visitors engage the most with your site, you can automatically answer their questions, and offer them suggestions by showing up at the most favorable time.
- In cases, where you need human intervention when it comes to customer support, you can send questions to a dedicated customer service representative
- With knowledge of which visitors are prospects and which can be turned into definite leads, you can ensure proper allocation of sales reps to such visitors.
- By sharing useful content and asking the right questions to your customers, you can pinpoint their greatest needs during the on-boarding process.
- You can also apprise customers of a new product or a promotion.
Chatbots are the best thing since sliced bread, at least for digital businesses. With a host of supporting qualities such as lead qualification, user routing, and customer integration, they equip organisations with more all-round knowledge of every aspect of customer experience and measures of how to enhance it. This leads to a holistic transformation of the various facets of a business, such as sales, customer support, and customer experience.
About the Author
Ashwini Dave is passionate about Business, Entrepreneurship, E-commerce, and Digital Marketing. She is working with Acquire as a digital marketing expert. She is a free soul and adventurous scholar who spends her free time with herself, loved once, music, as well as watching & playing sports. She is ocean addicted and on roads being a thrill-seeking traveller to get new experiences as she looks at life as our very own works of art.
Featured image: Photocreo Bednarek