business messaging blog
The many ways a chatbot could be helping your small business
Scott Navratil

Chatbots have come a long way in the short time they’ve been around thanks to advances in machine learning, natural language processing, and other branches of artificial intelligence that go into creating these incredible programs. Though they may not have initially lived up to the hype, chatbots have shown that they have real implications in the world of business. If you haven’t already looked into developing a chatbot for your small business, consider the following reasons that you may want to.

A more personalized marketing approach

Imagine having an employee that can remember every single shopper’s personal preferences and was prepared to offer personalized suggestions to every single individual that walked through the door. Chatbots can do this. Unlike humans who have very limited storage in their brain for minute details, chatbots can remember every interaction they have with every single customer and can draw from that knowledge with each successive encounter with those same customers.

Proactive customer support

Customer support is by its very nature, reactive. Your customer service team can’t reach out to customers before they have a problem, they have to wait until called upon. Chatbots, however, can be proactive. You’ve probably already experienced this when you go to a website to find an answer to a question. Maybe you’re trying to see how many payments you have left on your phone or you’re wondering when you’re due for an upgrade. Perhaps you’re trying to set up automatic payments for a loan you just took out. When you get to the website and can’t find what you’re looking for, a chatbot can recognize you’re stuck based on how long you remain on a page (a long time on a single page or a very short time on several pages in quick succession) and initiate a conversation to get you the help you need.

24/7 service

The average small business doesn’t have the resources to pay a customer support team to be available around the clock. But a chatbot can work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can assist an unlimited number of people simultaneously. Customers will no longer have to wait until the next business day to get some form of assistance, even if it’s just an acknowledgement of the problem and a scheduled call back by a live person at a given time.

Gather and analyze customer info

As already mentioned, chatbots aren’t limited in the amount of memory they can store. This makes chatbots ideal for gathering and analyzing large amounts of data to obtain valuable information. Chatbots can be “fed” hundreds or even thousands of transcripts of actual customer service interactions and find patterns whether it’s common mistakes being made which, if avoided, cut reduce the average time for each interaction. They can also use this ability to become more efficient themselves.

Make customer service interactions fun

Chatbots are new enough that they are still a novelty for many consumers. In other words, people still get a kick out of talking to a computer program once they realize that’s what’s happening. Programming your bot with a little wit or some other personality trait adds a level of realism that customers will really appreciate.

Chantel Fullilove

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