Technology is getting smarter day by day, and digital users couldn’t be happier. As cliché as it sounds, anyone can practically do anything online with the click of a button. From asking for information, ordering food, giving feedback, making a purchase, locating places, getting a ride, name it, and there’s probably a bot for it.
Bots are computer programs that have been in development as early as the 1960s. Back then, the idea was to explore chatbots as a system of communication with humans using natural language and computational algorithms. That’s why iPhone’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa can speak to customers like they are humans.
Indeed, chatbots are most useful in real-life applications. A study done at Leeds University in 2007 “surveyed several chatbot systems” and found that chatbots “succeed in practical domains like education, information retrieval, business, e-commerce, as well as for amusement.”
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, chatbots are now being directed by either artificial intelligence (AI) or script. To date, chatbots can help businesses automate and speed up repetitive tasks in their customer support services.
Bots in Business
Apart from driving responsive customer services, bots can have a huge positive impact on your company’s sales or marketing efforts. Here are the reasons why you should make a business bot: :
1. Deliver customer support
Bots can be programmed to do what customer service agents do like pick up a chat message. Chat bots are especially helpful if your business involves giving information that’s commonly requested by people who use your service.
If you’re into car rental, for example, you would probably expect your clients to ask roughly the same things time and time again including the availability of car models and rental rates at any given weekday in a particular location. Your bots could then supply appropriate canned answers or direct users to relevant links to your website.
2. Provide new payment options for customers
You can now also leave it to bots to receive payments from buying customers. To give you an idea, Facebook’s Messenger platform is bringing this functionality that enables its users to complete a purchase directly via chatbots.
As the merchant, you can integrate payment options on Facebook Messenger so that you can offer a fast and seamless payment mode for your customers. All the information you’ll need from the customer such as payment option and shipping address is stored in the user’s Facebook account, and you’ll only need to set up your payment page to receive payments made through credit card companies or other payment systems like PayPal while following security and privacy protocols.
3. Sell your products and services
From fashion retailers and hotel accommodations to food delivery services, bots can be leveraged to help you sell your offerings to the online community. If you’re a budding entrepreneur, building a bot for your startup business is especially recommended to help you manage your time while maximizing your opportunities to earn.
Since bots can be made available 24/7, there’s no opening or closing hours associated with physical stores that may limit your business’s opportunity to make sales.
4. Use data to know your customers, market your brand, and deliver personalized service
In relation to the previous item, selling could be done with extra layers of personalized customer service. For one, chatbot systems can keep a history of customers’ so-called digital footprints such as purchasing patterns and search history—all of which can help your company customize its future interactions with clients.
You may also choose to have a bot that can quiz your customers’ product preferences, giving you valuable insights about your market. You can then build a business model that can deliver what your customers specifically need, or make improvements to your product line to make it stand out from the competition.
5. Engage your leads and customers
If there’s one more thing that bots can do for your company, it’s giving easy and ready access to your target audience. Considering that there are now millions of people keeping an online account, whether it’s via email, social media, or cloud, among others, the most logical thing to do is to launch your company bot through these channels.
Once people connect with your bots, you can use it as an opportunity to engage them and keep them in your chatbot environment, given that bots are designed to be interactive and fun to use. So, aside from responding to basic questions and commands, your bots are better off making engaging conversations and creating memorable experiences for your customers.
Indeed, the bot technology deserves credit for helping businesses and organizations change the way they connect with and support customers in today’s very digital way of life. And mind you, things are just heating up. In the near future, we may see yet again bots evolving with more capabilities, making their presence more crucial for big and small companies alike.