A picture of a person using a chatbot

What is chatbot automation?

Ever since Facebook launched Messenger chatbots back in 2016, the technology’s popularity has increased dramatically, with brands looking to explore its value for their businesses. Today, if you browse on the internet, the chances are that you’ve interacted with a chatbot. 

When using a website, you’ve probably seen a chat interface at the bottom-left of your screen. They help you find information about a product or service, answer your questions, offer options for upselling, etc. For business owners, chatbots automate customer support and offer 24/7 help even during off-hours. And that’s basically what chatbot automation is about. 

In this piece, we take a deeper dive to understand chatbots better and look at how the technology can benefit your business. So let’s get started!

Understanding chatbots: how do they function?

Chatbots are arguably the most strategic interaction models, supplementing content marketing and other channels. Most subscription and product-based websites prefer chatbot technology as an affordable means of communicating with customers as well as promoting their products or services.  

In essence, chatbots interact with customers and prospects, capture their basic information, and monitor the kinds of products they most likely prefer. By investing in AI-driven chatbots to enhance customer experience and satisfaction, website owners can save the resources they would otherwise have spent on interactive landing pages.

Chatbots leverage artificial intelligence to comprehend website users’ inquiries or requests and refer to an underlying logic model to devise the most accurate response. Even better, modern bots can interact with third-party applications and systems to retrieve all the pieces of information relative to the users’ queries. What’s more, such interactions also aid the promotion of products and services by triggering actions. 

How does chatbot automation benefit businesses?

It’s clear that AI-powered chatbots provide customer support, answer users’ questions instantly, and process requests with little-to-no human help. But what does this mean to your business? Here are the top ten ways that chatbots can improve your business

Targeted lead generation.

Suppose your business employs an omnichannel marketing model; you can leverage chatbots to engage customers across multiple platforms through customized messaging to increase brand awareness and promote your products/services. The chatbots engage prospects by asking relevant questions and persuade them for lead generation. 

24/7 customer support.

Bots enhance customers’ experiences by promptly answering their common questions 24/7. Even better, the machine learning-enabled bots continually learn from customer interactions and start addressing more challenging queries as time goes. 

Streamlining online payment services.

Payment services with a chat-based interface can enhance customer experience by empowering chatbots to facilitate transactions. For example, WeChat, the largest chat app in China, allows users to pay for a list of verified restaurants and companies from within the app. PayPal also recently announced a chatbot that customers can use to make P2P payments. 

Targeted up-selling.

Do you wish to generate more revenue through targeted upselling? Well, automated chatbots can help with that. Here’s a relatable example; when a customer places a ticket order for a long movie during dinner time, the bot can recommend ordering beverages and food as well. 

Optimal cost-effectiveness with less onboarding time.

It is natural for employees to get assigned different roles outside their specialty areas within the company. When this happens, it can demoralize some employees and affect their productivity, especially if there’s no proper training on the new position’s skills. Luckily, companies can leverage AI-powered chatbots to hasten the onboarding process and save on costs as most of the information new employees may need is already available and easily accessible on a database.

Capacity to handle countless customer queries.

A human call center agent can only handle one customer at a time, and it would take several of them to address all user inquiries. That’s the only means of minimizing human errors and making every interaction fruitful. Automated chatbots are the complete opposite; they can handle multiple conversations simultaneously, with minimal waiting time (if any) and without errors. 

Self-learning capabilities. 

Modern chatbots are machine learning and AI-enabled, meaning that they’re always improving their knowledge base to answer the queries they handle frequently. That is, AI-powered chatbots learn from their experiences and analysis of different consumer behaviors, much like humans do. And with time, they become capable of tackling complex customer issues that would usually require an agent’s intervention. 

Reduced bounce rates.

One of the main reasons users exit websites as soon as they click on a page is seeing unexpected content that doesn’t relate to the information they need. Automated chatbots correct this by creating and storing datasets of common customer concerns to provide instantaneous assistance, increasing conversions while minimizing premature page exits. 

No room for human errors.

While there’s no denying that to err is human, some errors are usually too grave and can cost the business big-time. Luckily, there will be no room for mistakes with our automated customer chatbots, like collecting the wrong customer information or giving out incorrect price details. They’re usually programmed with all critical information with guaranteed accuracy.

Guaranteed sales and marketing consistency. 

Timely communication follow-up on prospects and customers makes the real difference in online sales and marketing. Unfortunately, more than 44% of human sales reps throw in the towel after the first follow-up, which hurts business sales big-time. On the flip side, automated texting chatbots can be programmed to ensure that all your customers and prospects receive the promotional message as needed to help them understand what your business offers. 

Over to you!

From the outlook, chatbot automation may seem more like rocket science, but the truth is, it’s not. Chatbots are just automated conversational programs offering customers a more personalized way to access information.

The key takeaway is that they’re machine learning and AI-enabled to understand queries or requests and formulate an accurate response based on the conversation context. And the reward? You’ll enhance customer experience and satisfaction, hence increased conversation rates and ROI. 

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