Each year, it seems businesses start preparing earlier for the holiday shopping rush. By next month you’ll already see Christmas displays in all of your favorite stores. So even though it’s only September, it’s not too early to be thinking about the most crucial part of the year for retailers. One thing in particular that you should be thinking about, is developing a chatbot to help you get through holiday season.
Here are four reasons you should consider getting started now.
Your customers want you to have one. Contrary to what many claim, the average customer is actually excited by the prospect of chatbots. Early on, chatbots were similar to automated phone answering systems with archaic question/answer trees that forced you through one of several possible paths only to end up transferring you to a human anyways.
Chatbots have come a long way since then. They’re better at simulating human speech and they’re better at determining meaning from what you’re saying even though it may not have been programmed with a set response to what you’re asking of it. In a recent survey, 25% of US households say they already use chatbots on a daily basis and 83% said that they would be more loyal to brands that offer a chatbot option.
People like the convenience of being able to send a quick text or message to a company chatbot instead of having to make a phone call.
Your customers aren’t the only ones that want you to have a chatbot; your employees would appreciate having one as well. A common misconception about chatbots is that they’ll take all the jobs of customer service representatives. We’re still a long ways off from chatbots that can fully replace a customer service team since that would require the discovery of general artificial intelligence, the holy grail of AI research. But in their limited capacity, chatbots can be a huge help to customer service representatives by helping to automate the more mundane parts of the job. Since customer support is especially busy during the holidays, they’ll appreciate having a chatbot to automate and streamline the process.
Because chatbots can better personalize the shopping experience for individual customers, they’ll help businesses close more online sales by walking customers through the entire process from offering product recommendations based on prior behavior and all the way through checking out and completing the transaction.
It takes time to work out the kinks. The reason you need to start now is that a good chatbot takes time to program. It will make more mistakes early on and you’ll discover patterns of errors that need to be addressed. The sooner you start, the more ready it will be to assist your customers and employees when the holiday rush does hit.
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