Artificial Intelligence or AI is a term you hear more and more. It used to be only for the real nerds who loved robots more than humans and who loved programming, coding and engineering. That time is now over. AI becomes more important for industries other than IT and sales, including marketing. In this blog we focus on chatbots and the possibilities.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a virtual assistant that collects and links you back to the customer. An example. On marketing website Hubspot you immediately see a pop-up of a robot with the text "Hi there, I am here to help you find your way". You can then click on what you have questions about, such as prices and packages or the courses. By clicking and typing, you get closer and closer to the answer to your question. You can post this on your website, as Hubspot has. Facebook also has options for chatbots. At Spotify, you can discover the best playlists and KLM gives you the option to reserve a seat for your flight.
Benefits of a chatbot
A chatbot offers advantages for customer service but also the marketing and sales department. Your chatbot can sometimes handle customer cases completely, because it knows the questions on the most frequently asked questions. A lot of actions on the customer service are routine and can therefore be taken over by the chatbots. Chatbots don't make typos, don't argue with colleagues, and answer very quickly. In terms of efficiency, therefore, it is a positive development.
Chatbots are accessible. You can ask for anything, because you don't talk to a real person. If you don't like making a phone call, this is a quick and easy way to get answers to your questions. You don't have to be ashamed of what you're asking. The decrease in social pressure can be pleasant.
Finally, a chatbot knows much more than an employee. The bot can read the IP address and then already know what you are going to ask, based on the websites you have visited and all the other things you have done online. Speaking of intelligence!
Cons of a chatbot
There are also disadvantages to any technological development. Here it's pretty clear: the unpersonality. Especially for older people, the lack of personal contact can be seen as non-customer-friendly. People see it as an easy way to help customers, i.e. "laziness". Maybe you don't mean it that way and you only see it as an efficiency innovation, but your customers might. Therefore, think carefully about who your target audience is and whether he/she thinks the chatbot is as useful as you are.
A chatbot is expensive. It is not a one-size-fits-all product and is also quite new. It takes a lot of time and money to get one made, especially because of the fast-moving innovations. A perfect chatbot is the only option. How annoying is it when you're on a website and talking to a bot, but who doesn't totally understand what you mean? Then you get frustrated and your confidence in the company goes down considerably. Of course, you don't want your company to suffer reputational damage, so it is necessary to invest in this in terms of time and money.
Tips for your chatbot
Allright, you know what a chatbot is now and we've mentioned the pros and cons. Do you outweigh the disadvantages? Then a chatbot might be for you! Here are some tips.
- Don't just leave it on the IT and marketing team. Within a company there are many people who know all kinds of processes. These are the people who train other people to provide the best customer service. The same people can "train" the chatbots.
- Keep working on your bone. Doesn't anyone use the feature on Facebook Messenger? Look at the options to post it on your own website. Technology needs innovation, trial & error.
- Start small. Your chatbot doesn't need to replace the entire customer service department right away. Depending on your company, it's fine if it starts processing the returns and simple questions about your opening hours. Then you have all the time to make mistakes and experience the pros and cons.
- Still give the possibility of personal contact. It's really annoying when you don't get the answer you want because the chatbot doesn't understand you. Therefore, give the option to continue chatting with an employee (provided it is within business hours) or provide the phone number or address. This way you give people options and they still feel taken seriously.
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