Humans love instant gratification, so including a chatbot on your website is a smart way to feed that need and provide better customer service.
A chatbot is a program that is integrated into your website that essentially simulates an assistant who can communicate with visitors via a chat function. Using rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, it can respond to questions and comments without the need of human intervention.
Should you incorporate one on your website? Doing so certainly has its benefits. For example, a chatbot enables you to:
- Match consumers’ communication preferences. People love instant messaging and texting and often prefer it to making a call. When you have a chatbot, you offer them one more way to communicate with your business.
- Offer quicker customer service. Chatbots respond 24/7/365 as soon as customers have questions. Customers aren’t forced to wait on the phone or for email responses, so they can learn about products or have their questions answered anytime, any day. Additionally, chatbots aren’t tied to their emotions, so even when a customer lashes out or acts rudely, they will offer polite guidance.
- Engage visitors when they visit your website. Chatbots are designed to pop up very shortly after someone opens your site. They can be programmed to immediately offer information about products or services or to ask a question to get the conversation rolling. Either way, they engage customers, keep them on the website and can answer questions that help to close a sale, even during off hours.
- Gain insights about visitors. Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning can track the type of questions customers are asking. You gain insight to better address their needs or how to make your products or services align with their expectations.
- Cut costs. With a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week assistant available to customers, you can cut down on the number of customer support people you need to staff.
Can chatbots replace humans?
Likely not. While they can help to educate customers and address customer issues, they don’t have the emotional intelligence needed to truly get to the root of some customer issues. They can’t understand how customers feel or empathize with their anger or frustration. As a result, their responses often come across as insincere and they annoy customers.
Because they are limited in their responses, they can’t improvise or offer custom solutions to specific circumstances. Where human customer service reps can adapt and change course as needed, chatbots will simply repeat the same information over and over. Ultimately, they could damage relationships with customers.
So, should you add one to your website? Sure, but not as a total replacement for customer service. Make sure you have some real people on staff who can provide more personal service experiences as needed.