Using Chatbots to Improve Online Sales - USM Interactive

Almost Human: Using Chatbots to Improve Online Sales and Service

July 26, 2018 by Dave Saraceno

Artificial intelligence is evolving rapidly, and chatbots are one growing part of how that evolution is affecting ecommerce. Online chatbots save time and efforts by automating customer support. Gartner forecasts that by 2020, over 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human.

Today, more than 4 billion people use messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and Skype. People are even using chatbots to book medical appointments, check in for a flight, and call for a taxi. The bots are efficient and time-saving. Chatbots not only respond to users, but businesses can use them to collect data, arrange meetings, and minimize variable costs.

Definition of chatbot

According to Oxford Dictionaries, a chatbot is

“A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.”

Chatbots generally respond in the same manner as your fellow human being would if you were chatting with them online. You don’t have to be ridiculously specific when you are talking to it. It understands language, not just commands, and what’s fascinating is that this bots gets smarter as it learns from conversations it has with people.

Today, most users access chatbots with various apps and websites like Facebook, Amazon Alexa, and Siri. Chatbots can be categorized as conversational, social, shopping, news, food, and games – to name a few.

Reasons why customers care about chatbots

Instant responses

Instant response is one of the top reasons most online customers go for chatbots. Helping customers learn only what they need to know, chatbots operate faster than extensive libraries or human customer service agents. However, because customers place a high value on instant response, brands need to maintain constant care of these chatbots to avoid the frustrations caused by delays in the responses.

Improved self-service delivery

Chatbots have raised the self-service issue to a higher level. With the help of machine learning and development of  databases, chatbots can quickly and efficiently help users resolve complex issues.

Reducing agent transfers

Bots play a vital role in categorizing different issues concerning various customers and hence in helping reducing wasted time and expenses associated with moving a customer from one department to another.

Minimizing associated costs

Chatbots reduce costs associated with service delivery to various users through the multi-operation workforce reduction.

Roles of chatbots in lead generation

Bots help improve general performance across many sectors not only in improved customer satisfaction but also in laser-targeting lead generation.

Gathering important information

Chatbots can be programmed to provide a company with information about an individual lead’s product interests, location, and the characteristics of his or her search. By doing so, bots help locate, vet, and direct prospective leads in far less time than a single agent would need.

Consistent content delivery

Using the information acquired, businesses can easily identify and target their various prospective clients. Knowing a lead’s interests and location gives an brand key insight on what content will engage that lead. The bot can also acquire an email address much more easily than a human can do since (paradoxically) customers are more willing to type an email address into a chatbox than they are to give one to a live person.

Continuous engagement

Immediately after the first contact is made, chatbots ensure that the relationships between customers and their service providers remain strong. Brands can easily contact potential customers at any time after a request is made. This system ensures that no time gets wasted in dealing with disinterested or disengaged leads since only the most-likely potential customers are contacted.

Reasons why chatbots are essential to entrepreneurs

Productivity

Most entrepreneurs’ primary aim is maximizing production though this goal often proves elusive due to the daily challenges any business faces. With the introduction of chatbots into our business activities, however, our productivity can increase significantly, resulting in enhanced revenue.

Collaboration

Introducing new business technologies can scare current employees since most of them believe robots are a cheap way to render them jobless. This belief is simply because most don’t yet understand that the new program is meant to help them improve efficiency. Entrepreneurs can help workers understand that their efforts are appreciated, and chatbots will supplement – not supplant – their efforts by letting them focus on the really important tasks.

Chatbots are growing in number and intelligence quickly. But many business people and customers are still not conversant with the technology, thus failing to exploit the full potential of chatbots. As chatbot technology develops more and more, though, entrepreneurial businesses will find that the seamless experience and two-way benefits of chatbots outweigh any technological fears.

Final Thoughts

Chatbots are growing quickly in number and intelligence. But many business people and customers are still not conversant with the technology, thus failing to exploit chatbots’ full potential. As chatbot technology develops more and more, though, entrepreneurial businesses will find the seamless experience and two-way benefits of chatbots outweigh any technological fears.

As Aharsh MS, the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder at Accubits Technologies Inc, puts it, “Chatbots are evolving, getting better each day and changing the front face of e-commerce with a new and better purchase experience for the customers.”