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In all likelihood, you’ve used a chatbot before even if you didn’t know it. Chatbots are the new hype in the tech world just as mobile apps were in 2008 and just like mobile apps, it seems chatbots are here to stay. Hundreds of thousands of chatbots have already been developed and deployed across various messaging apps and websites. Chatbots are helping businesses by driving increased sales and reducing the strain and customer support staffs. They’re helping customers by automating customer service and offering a customized online shopping experience. Here’s a more detailed look at how chatbots are helping businesses and customers alike to save time and money.

1. Chatbots as personal assistants

The average small business doesn’t have room in the budget for personal assistants and many don’t even have office assistants or secretaries. Thanks to chatbots you don’t need to worry about finding more office space or room in the budget for personal assistants. Chatbots can be programmed to work at every employee’s workstation. They can assist in setting up, modifying, or cancelling appointments, they can manage employee’s calendars as well as remind them of upcoming appointments, they can send and receive emails on employees’ behalf and they can connect employees with the appropriate IT or HR staff when needed.

2. Gathering feedback

Chatbots are excellent tools when it comes to gathering feedback. Helpful feedback is essential for every business and chatbots can aid in gathering feedback both formally and informally. The advantage chatbots have over automated surveys via text is that they can ask follow up questions to better understand customer responses and customer responses don’t have to be limited to numbers on a number scale. Another advantage that chatbots have is they have access to every prior interaction it’s ever had and can access that vast database of information to provide better assistance.

3. Personalized newsfeeds and reminders

Chatbots that scour the news sites for only the information that’s relevant for the user are hugely popular and are great time savers. Whether it’s for work or pleasure, having a chatbot that can sort through all the news and handpick only stories that you want to see are a huge help.

4. Automated business processes

Chatbots are great for automating tasks including many business processes. For example, a chatbot can be setup to alert relevant team members when a given task is complete. It could be set up to ask frequently asked questions posed by either employees or customers. Chatbots can facilitate better communication between departments and can even automate a lot of customer service by asking for identifying information, pulling up accounts, determining the nature of the customer’s problem, and routing them to the support staff member that’s best equipped to provide assistance for that customer.

5. Knowing what customers think

Thanks to machine learning and natural language processing, chatbots are better than any employee can ever be at offering a customized experienced for every customer. With each successive interaction with the same customer, it can get better and better and knowing what the customer is thinking and it can make suggestions and upsell to customers when they think they’ll be receptive to it.

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