by Phil Birss
3 min read
Do chat bots add value to your brand?
Author: Phil Birss
Posted in Technology on 27th September 2017 9:00 am
The challenge of the Turing test is for a computer to engage a person in conversation via text, and to mimic language and responses so effectively that it is indistinguishable from a human being. Until relatively recently, computers have been very bad at this – after all, understanding what someone means and what an appropriate response for them would be are both difficult problems. However, technology companies are today in the process of definitively achieving this objective. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant are all able to provide responses to a wide range of questions and requests, ranging from ‘Order me a pizza’ to ‘Tell me a joke’.
However, chatbots aren’t just for mega corporations – businesses of almost any size can create or commission a text-based chatbot to communicate with customers on Facebook Messenger, for example. There are now over 100,000 Facebook chatbots, accessing a market of over 1.2bn monthly active users on Messenger. And a chatbot just might be able to add a lot of value for your business.
When seeking information about your brand or your offering, the first port of call for today’s customers will be to visit your website or your social media pages. Making it fast and simple for customers to find the right information is a crucial part of providing a positive user experience. These consumers expect companies to be accessible via all their channels – if you have a Twitter or a Facebook account, for example, then you better be watching it or comments and complaints will inevitably mount up.
A great way to quickly connect customers with the information that they’re looking for is to twin customer self-service FAQs with a chat interface. However, having customer service representatives always on hand is both expensive and logistically challenging (especially for small businesses) – customers expect a fast response time, and no one wants to be left on hold, after all. A simple solution to this is to automate the process via a chatbot.
By recognising keywords and phrases, the chatbot can then provide meaningful responses to resolve the customer’s query fast, cheaply and easily. What’s more, the integration of additional functionality (via providers like Shopify, for example) can mean that the customer can place orders and make purchases directly within the message thread – which, due to the use of sensitive information, would be something that you would rarely want to do in the same way with a human operator.
There have already been some significant success stories regarding the use of chatbots. Canadian telco firm Rogers, for example, reported that the use of a Messenger chatbot resulted in a 60 percent boost in customer satisfaction levels while the Sephora cosmetics chain saw an 11 percent rise in the number of bookings made after directing users to their Messenger channel from ads.
Chatbots have faced challenges, though, and if executed poorly can struggle to answer queries. Because of this, it’s important to commit to adding as much information and as many uses cases as possible, to give the bot the best chance of succeeding; and backing this up with accessible online information as well as human agents.
If implemented effectively, chatbots can offer a powerful new channel for you to connect with your customers and to provide a high level of service that will truly differentiate your business.
If you have any questions about including chatbots or instant chat on your website or social media channels then please say hello.
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