Building a Customer-Centric Website
As society rolls out new technology innovations, brands are becoming more consumer-driven. In recent years, there's been a focus on making the web more user-friendly and efficient by improving user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). One way is to use chatbots to facilitate conversation between the brand and the customer. Businesses are looking for ways to make their brand more interactive and conversational, and one of the ways of achieving this is through the use of chatbots.
The Value of Communication and Serving the Customer
Branding is a word that we will often mention in this article, so let's talk about what it means. According to Daniel Binns (The New Marketing: How to Win in the Digital Age - by Cheryl Burgess and Mark Burgess), CEO of Interbrand, a brand is "the means by which a consumer or a customer interacts with a company." It's "all of the interaction that somebody has with a company defines their brand." Building a brand is all about creating a relationship with a potential consumer. A good brand continues to communicate with the customer and create a seamless customer experience. Let's be honest; you will fall behind if you aren't building trust or engaging with customers.
Many brands are struggling with this. They are trying to shift from traditional marketing methods to a new approach to help them navigate this new unpredictable environment; even Google is working on climbing these ropes. Take them, for example. When you have a problem and need customer service to help you resolve it, they take you to a dashboard with many tabs where you find a list of articles that are supposed to guide you. Yes, we are humans, and we have the potential to read a long list and follow the instructions to resolve our issue, but who's going to want to read through it all?
Or you could also visit an online forum. For example, if you are looking for assistance on G-suite for business, you could find the answer to your question, but they're not going to provide you an exclusive offer for upsell opportunities. However, through chatbots, businesses can suggest that a customer upgrades their plan after giving the customer a solution to their problem, enhancing the customer experience and increasing business growth. Through bots, you have a good chance of upselling the customer when they find an answer to their question.
We get it, it's a huge company, and it's the #1 search engine in the world. But if it's that BIG, many people are using the services, which means there will be MORE PROBLEMS, so there should be better infrastructure and better service. Nowadays, businesses can be created quickly and quickly fade into the recesses of the economy. If there are enough people who do not like a company's services or support, one of them could be a hyper-focused software developer who might create the next big thing that takes the internet by storm.
What is a chatbot?
First of all, let's talk about what a chatbot is. A chatbot is a computer programmed interactive interface powered by machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) which people use to find information and services to get things done. Before chatbots, the user had to browse information and scroll through a page to find answers.
However, people are busy and don't want to waste time, and they would prefer a magic button that could find the answers to all their questions and problems. This is where chatbots come in. They have a database of general questions and answers. The chatbots will pull out the necessary information when a question gets asked. There could be situations where they don't know the answer to the question, so there's a human customer service executive as its backup to answer. It will add the question and its response to its database through machine learning to know how to respond next time.
The Limitations of a Chatbot
Even though chatbots may seem perfect and ideal for a website, they don't come without their drawbacks:
1) They are expensive: While chatbots can make and save you a lot of money in the long run, their cost for installation can break your piggy bank. They cost a lot of money, so you will need to hire the right professionals to design the right chatbots to match your business.
2) They are not human and sound too mechanical: They are limited by their program and can't tell apart humor and sarcasm from a genuine statement. Also, when it comes across something new, it may deflect the question and provide an incorrect answer which is probably frustrating for the consumer. In addition, they don't create natural-sounding conversations, which can create a disconnect with customers who prefer a human approach to solving their problems.
3) They are not a universal solution: Chatbots can't solve every problem. For example, they can't do customer retention, they can't make decisions, and they don't have research skills. So if you ask them to engage with a customer to answer complicated questions, they'll probably overload and give the same repeating answers over and over again.
4) Chatbots require constant maintenance: If a company creates a chatbot, they can't just leave it hoping it will magically answer customer questions forever. They need to be analyzed periodically to identify and update common questions to its database. A company's inventory of products and services will change, resulting in the need to update the bot for it to be able to showcase the new products or services.
How a Chatbot Can Up Your Game
While chatbots, especially in their early stages, come with disadvantages in some areas, it doesn't go without saying there are many benefits to incorporating them into your business. There are many reasons to integrate a chatbot:
1) Long-term financial savings: Having a human customer support team is a significant expense because they have to be paid a salary. While a company initially invests a lot of time and money to create one, a chatbot will answer all the essential customer queries that would have taken a lot of time for humans. In addition, chatbots can give instantaneous replies, which saves time. And time is MONEY!
2) Can gather Customer insights: Chatbots collect primary data such as potential customer preferences, buying habits, and sentiments, which can analyze and examine market trends. This helps companies solve customer issues easier and create targeted products. The more data they have, the more they can succeed in helping their customers.
3) Instant Service: People are extremely busy these days, and they want to get service at the snap of a finger. Statistics show that a vast majority of consumers rate an "immediate" response as essential or very important when they have a sales-related question, and 75% demand immediate service (within 5 minutes) from online contact with a brand. Chatbots can perform this magic by quickly answering questions and directing customers to the right places.
4) They are working 24/7: The big businesses are already following a 24/7 schedule. There's no 9-5 schedule where you as the customer are forbidden to call outside of those times. Have a question you need to ask? Just prop open your laptop right away. You don't need to hire around-the-clock support staff to answer a few questions.
5) They keep conversations flowing in business: It feels natural that you may forget that you're chatting with an AI computer program. Also, they don't have emotions, so it won't affect the chatbot or have a bad day if the human becomes emotional. Bots treat everyone equally with undivided attention and respect so companies can still provide superb customer service.
6) Real-time Interaction: You get instant, personalized conversations to chat with people. Many brands and businesses use them for marketing, sales, and support strategies like Tommy Hilfiger, Netflix, and Sephora. They can initiate trending conversations and recommend products to users based on their preferences.
7) It can be a marketing boost: Chatbots can be used for marketing? Indeed. By automating interactions with prospects and customers, they can initiate conversations, qualify leads and engage leads by collecting basic qualification details such as email and company size. Chatbots can also book a call with your sales team and upsell customers, generating more business for you!
How Else Can They Be Used?
As you can see, having a chatbot can generate many benefits for a business. If you don't have a chatbot for your business, you're going to have a period of a rude awakening. Let's talk about some industries where chatbots are extremely useful.
Chatbots are necessary and prevalent in eCommerce websites where they provide customer service support, answers to FAQs, and direct customers to certain areas of a site. They can also be used in any niche from retail to healthcare to banking and surveys.
One of the spaces it could make a difference in are nonprofits:
1) Speak to a younger audience: While older generations prefer talking over the phone or engaging after seeing an ad, millennials and Gen Z prefer talking to companies on social media.
2) Messenger Ads: These ads appear as a sponsored message in the Messenger app. A chatbox is necessary because the customer feels like they received a surprise message and expects an immediate response.
3) Start engagement on the website: Add the Messenger app to your website through an app or plugin. It can help gather information and data from leads, and with a chatbot, it can easily engage website visitors.
4) Assisted browsing: Chatbots can help answer common FAQs without the user browsing for information on the site.
5) Lead to Conversions: It can turn a potential donor into an actual one. It will prompt the user how often they would like to donate, the amount, and whether or not they will pay now. You should split test to see what type of conversation could lead to more donors.
A New Segment of Users
As I have already stated, many customers expect an immediate response when they interact with a brand's site for the first time. There's an increasing demand for chatbots to be advanced and have seamless conversations with humans. There's a newer segment of chatbot users called the Power Users. They are the type of users who actively seek out services from chatbots because they will regularly engage for highly personalized issues, including managing a subscription or initiating a new order or payment. That's where AI and machine learning come in.
Next-gen chatbots offer robust insights and can have intelligent conversations with customers. The simple ones, also called legacy chatbots, have limited understanding of words and phrases, lack analytics, and usually send consumers to FAQ pages without solving an issue. Customers are getting frustrated by these simple marketing ploys by companies, so the business that incorporates next-gen chatbots will be at a high advantage in the long run.
Power users currently number ⅓ of respondents but that number's expected to increase in the coming years because of technological improvement. You definitely can't expect to create a chatbot without updating the software. To build an effective chatbot, businesses should train their teams to become conversational AI experts, continuously improve user experience, troubleshoot issues, and create new use cases that add value to the user. Companies not improving their chatbot feature or incorporating AI will be leaving money on the table.
Technology Moves Forward
Imagine asking Elon Musk, "What's going to change in the next ten years?" and he says, "we're still going to have the same crappy autopilot. Some of the models' rearview cameras might still be damaged by the opening and closing of the trunk lid. There will still be latch problems that may cause a front trunk to open, leading to an increased possibility of a crash." Would you like to hear that from an innovator? I guess probably not unless you were fond of danger. The same applies here. Technology and innovation is one-way street. Everyone will seek solutions that benefit them, give them the best return on investment, and receive the best experience(s).
The future is bright for artificial intelligence and virtual assistants. Chatbots are helpful in so many areas of web development, such as improving SEO, personalizing search systems, and making web apps more conversational and personalized. There are many resources and inspiration you can draw on before creating a chatbot yourself.