Chatbots are the new craze! Does my business need one?

Living in a time where consumers are used to quick responses and expect instant gratification, the advent of chatbots has soared. Consumers are no longer okay with calling a company and staying on hold for minutes or maybe even hours trying to get a question or concern resolved. They have immediate needs that if not met, are quick to move to the next competitor that will. 

To address the need for an immediate response to their customers, the artificial intelligence used in chatbots has continued to evolve making them even more responsive and intelligent than ever before. Of course, there will always be limitations since there is no real substitution for human contact however, chatbots have proven to be very impactful. In fact, according to a recent Oracle report, 80% of businesses said that they already use chatbots or plan to use them by 2020. Also, a recent HubSpot Research Study showed that 47% of shoppers are open to buying from a bot and that 71% of messaging app users are willing to receive customer service through a messaging app. With over 5 billion messaging app monthly active users, you can start to see why so many companies have decided to use them. 

So before you jump on the chatbot bandwagon, you should consider the following:

Will launching a chatbot be worth the time and energy it takes to implement?

Consider the volume of customers you serve and assess whether or not a live agent(s) can meet the demands of your customers or if a chatbot is needed to assist with the surge of customer service demands. Keep in mind that for your chatbot to be successful you’ll need to review and compile transcripts from your customer service agents, which will help be used to train the artificial intelligence that powers it. This process takes time and is a long-term commitment if you want to have a good chatbot. 

Who are your customers and will they want to use a chatbot?

Are your customers tech-savvy? Are they part of the 5 billion consumers that use messaging apps and who are interested in utilizing chatbots to meet their customer service needs? If so, then maybe this is a great opportunity you should explore. If not, you should reevaluate. You wouldn’t want to spend time and money implementing a chatbot that your customers aren’t interested in using. 

Is your team prepared to handle escalated situations? 

While it would be great for chatbots to address all of your customers’ needs, unfortunately, some situations are too complex for them to handle. In those cases, it’s best practice to train your chatbot to detect those encounters and hand them off to a human

Do you have the dedication and patience needed to ensure long term success? 

Keep in mind that creating a chatbot is not just a one-time effort. Creating a quality chatbot takes time, constant improvement, making iterations, and refining as you go. Consider your level of dedication to this project to make sure it’s a worthwhile venture. 

As you can see, there is a lot to consider before deciding whether or not chatbots are the right fit for your business. Chatbots have several advantages but they have some disadvantages as well, so you’ll need to consider how much time you want to dedicate to this effort. A successful and impactful chatbot can’t be made overnight. There is some legwork but it can definitely be something worth doing. Take the time to weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision for your business, chatbot or not.