By 2020 around 80% of all businesses will be using a chatbot. It’s mad to think that there will be such a huge uptake in AI technology for businesses. But why would a business need a chatbot? How can a chatbot be of benefit and become indispensable to a business?
Here are five reasons why every business needs a chatbot.
1. Always open. Always available.
How many businesses can you think of that are open and functioning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? Maybe your local A&E and a few supermarkets in your local area will be physically open. Some other multi-national corporations might have a call centre open all day, but that’s the extent of always-live businesses. With a chatbot, you can remain available in one form to all potential customers all day long. Imagine operating a small independent cafe. You might be open from 8am until 5pm. Once the key turns in the lock your customers can’t get in touch. They can ring and leave a message or email, but those questions will not be answered until 8am the next day. Even the most diligent of small business owner will need to sleep and stop answering calls and emails on their phone. However, with a chatbot, you can allow customers to ask questions and get answers. They can make bookings, buy products and find a wealth of information about your business. With a fairly inexpensive chatbot, you can run a small business like it’s a billion-pound industry.
2. Answer questions. Build trust.
For the vast majority of business owners, they are one of many similar businesses in a saturated industry. Most small businesses start in sectors that are already established – it’s a lot easier to get a bank loan if you’re working with a business model that already exists! Standing out from the crowd becomes vital for every small business in a saturated marketplace. When a potential customer is checking out the five restaurants in their local area to find one to go to for Valentine’s days they will be drawn towards the one that answers all of their questions. The best way to answer every question a customer might have is to use a chatbot. You can build in frequently asked questions and the correct answer for these questions. Even trickier questions about allergies or dietary requirements, that might not make the website, can be easily anticipated and answered with a bot. You can’t flood a website with hundreds of snippets of information, but you can task your bot with the arduous task of answering questions and providing key information about your business.
3. Connect with customers. Market effectively.
How does your business connect with customers, especially with previous customers who you want to convert into repeat customers? The vast majority of businesses have spent the last decade relying on email marketing to promote and connect with their customers. Sadly, email marketing is failing businesses. At best only 34% of marketing emails are opened by the recipients. Even fewer people actually read the email and less still will click on buttons or take action due to the email. Because of the heightened risk, people view emails due to spam and malware, most emails get deleted without ever being opened. So how can you connect with customers, especially those who you want to bring back to your business? The answer is to use a chatbot. You can send out regular marketing messages and promotions to all subscribers to your bot. The best part? Around 84% of Messenger bot messages are opened by the recipient. So it’s very simple – if you want to interact with your customers don’t bother spending time and money with email marketing. Get a Messenger chatbot and see your conversions increase significantly.
4. Go Viral. Unlearn marketing.
Part of the marketing clout of a chatbot is that it can help increase sales. With email marketing, the recipient needs to open their email client or app, read the email and then click on a button to open the link in their browser. Quite a cumbersome way of interacting with a business. A chatbot is frictionless. You customers never need to leave Messenger to interact with your business. They can open a marketing message about your new products, click on a button in the message and continue in Messenger looking at products and finding out more about your current promotion or sale. This will only drive up sales for your business. That’s not all, though. The very way you launch products or run promotional sales can be changed with a bot. In a recent blog, we talked about our ShoeFinder demo bot, where we used a ‘choose your own adventure’ type of activity to encourage customers to find their perfect shoes. Chatbots allow you to be creative in how you interact with customers and run promotions. Once they’re in the bot they can be taken on adventures. You can even use the chatbot QR codes to create a treasure hunt in-store or around your local area. Basically, with a chatbot you can unlearn marketing and be as creative and as fun as possible!
5. Not just chatting. Complex functionality.
So a chatbot is just for telling people when you’re open and what you sell, right? There is so much you can achieve with a chatbot. Firstly, as an example, you can allow customers to request a booking for a salon, restaurant or other similar businesses. If you have a play with our Salonius demo bot for a hair and beauty salon, you’ll see how easy it is to send a booking request within a bot – something you can, of course, allow customers to do 24/7. Also, being a technology service you can do complex mathematics with a chatbot. In our most recent demo bot we’ve built a price calculator for a fictional burger restaurant or takeaway. You can allow customers to build orders or get quotes for a wide variety of businesses, all within a chatbot. Moving away from complex tasks, you can simply use a chatbot to send customers downloadable files, such as a menu for a restaurant, or provide links to Google Maps. Both of those simple tasks are something that you can’t do on the phone or in person and both can be achieved all day long by a chatbot without any effort from you! As it’s a fairly new concept, in time there will be even more amazing ways you can interact with customers with a chatbot. We’re at the inception of AI bots, imagine what we can do in 5 years time!
This could’ve been 10 reasons why you need a chatbot. There are so many reasons why a chatbot would benefit your business.
Going back to the stats, 63% of consumers think a business should be on Messenger and 55% of customers prefer to talk to a business via a chatbot.
The bots are coming and you can’t stop the invasion of business chatbots. Rather than be left behind by this shift in the business landscape, it’s best to get on board as soon as possible and discover the power of a bot.