Are Chatbots the Future for Business?

Are Chatbots the Future for Business?

SnappSales helps IT and Software companies engage with their audience. Want to learn more? Give us a call!

I’m sure you’ve realised that some of your favourite brands are engaging with you via chat. At present, it’s mostly used on Facebook, but there are plans to expand this practice across other networks such as Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp. As augmented and virtual reality become increasingly important in software, the future of chatbots is positive.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is an automatic assistant that stimulates conversation with humans. Its main purpose is to lead users to a product/service. It leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to get as close to a human interaction as possible. This way, creating more sales-ready prospects without having to hire a ‘real’ salesperson.

Why are chatbots important in business?

59% of consumers prefer to conduct online research instead of speaking to a sales agent. [Source: Forrester]

More people prefer to conduct their own research before purchasing a product. In so doing, they go to company websites and social media pages to learn as much as they can. If this information is readily available, you have a client. If this information is hidden and consumers can’t find it, you lose prospects.

Consequently, chatbots have become increasingly important. They are ‘super humans’ so to say. They have the ability to search through millions of online content and provide the consumer with the answers they are looking for.

Chatbots are also useful in many other circumstances:

  • Improve the customer experience
  • Provide product recommendations
  • Engage consumers through targeted marketing campaigns
  • Deal with complaints and trouble shooting

For the entrepreneur, chat bots can help them be at many places at once. No longer do they have to worry about hiring an Assistant to reply to every single query online as the chatbot can respond to these effortlessly. This helps entrepreneurs save on business costs.

Yet, despite these benefits, chatbots may not be simple tools to implement. When chatbots go wrong, it can spell trouble for any brand.

In 2016, Tommy Hilfiger released their Facebook chatbot to help consumers shop their products and to promote a new fashion collection. As great as the idea sounded, this bot failed in the beginning, for the simple reason that it wasn’t configured properly. If a consumer deviated from the basic script, the bot would not be able to comprehend the request and would often fail to respond to queries.

That’s the challenge of artificial intelligence. At present, it can only understand basic human language, but experts believe that bots will soon dominate the business world.

5 Tips to set up a good chat bot

    1. Don’t attempt to do it all with one chatbot. Choose one or two objectives ie. Leading them to one product
    2. Set clear user cases to avoid misunderstandings. Chatbots with poor user cases can misinterpret consumer queries and give a wrong response or the same response repeatedly.
    3. Do make sure you implement proper escalation channels with your chatbot. This will help escalate problems that your chatbot cannot solve.
    4. Be sure to design a chatbot whose voice, tone, vocabulary, personality and visual elements (avatar) resonates with your audience.
    5. Learn from Microsoft. In 2016, Microsoft’s chat bot was hacked and made to look like a racist bigot. To avoid this, ensure that your chatbot is guarded against security threats and hackers.

SnappSales helps IT and Software companies engage with their audience. Want to learn more? Give us a call!