Chatbots Explained Simply, Why You Need Them.

A chatbot is at its core a computer program designed to mimic the types of actual conversations that humans have all the time. It works based on artificial intelligence (and in a lot of cases, via machine learning and similar techniques) to analyze the words someone uses, get a better idea of the context behind those words, and offer information to benefit the human user in some way.

Because chat bots use natural language processing systems to not only understand human language patterns but also imitate it in their responses, the technology has gotten to the point where you might open a “Live Chat” window on a website and have an entire conversation with a chatbot without ever realizing it.

Chatbots have thus proven to be a huge boost to both customer service and marketing teams for several important reasons which are outlined below.

What Can Chat Bots Actually Do?

A chatbot is ultimately only as effective as the data that you provide to it, but because your organization is creating more and more data every day, it becomes a very powerful technique.

Chatbots can provide a massive volume of information to users – from detailed product information like technical specification breakdowns, to phone numbers, exclusive offers, and so much more. Many brands even use chat bots to perform basic customer service functions such as providing customers with their shipping or order information.

If a customer opens a dialog window with a chatbot and says, “How can I troubleshoot my Model XYZ Product?”, the chat bot already has a great deal of information to use. It knows the model of the product, which means it can instantly provide support documentation. A chat bot recognizes the word “troubleshoot,” which means it knows the customer has a problem. It can then ask more specific information to pick up on more relevant keywords, thus improving the level of support it is able to provide as it goes along.

Not only can chatbots provide service, but often they can aide in order conversions. Plenty of people would like to speak to someone before they click the order button. This is an excellent use of technology to increase conversion by engaging with the customer. You will start to see these pop up in places you might not suspect; abandoned cart could show up as an SMS/text message bot to complete your purchase.

Some of the more powerful and familiar voice activated chatbots, like Siri are already in your pocket.  Siri was introduced to the world in October of 2011 as your personal Virtual Assistant made available via your iPhone 4S. Siri can find you directions, retrieve information, send messages and dial phone numbers. Another popular voice activated chatbot is Alexa. Alexa is turning analog homes into smart home globally. Alexa can turn your lights on and off, order products from Amazon and many more useful functions such as setting a timer.

The Power of Chat Bots

The biggest benefit of chatbots comes by way of the fact that they are totally automated. Once you get a chatbot support system up and running, it is essentially self-sufficient – meaning that aside from a few tweaks and other instances of fine-tuning here and there, you will never have to worry about having a human available to operate that window.

Plus, the robot is programmed and continually optimized by a self-review of analytics on its own use – meaning that the more the system is in use, the more efficient and more accurate it becomes.

Ultimately, what this leaves you with is something of a perfect storm. Suddenly you have a friendly, knowledgeable, and proactive employee that is available to address any customer concerns or answer any questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. This employee never eats, never takes a break, and never goes on vacation. It’s also the best type of employee – the one you don’t have to pay. Count your savings and start investing back in your products and services.

This of course brings with it the most important benefit of all: your actual, human employees can spend less time focusing on important-yet-routine, low level customer service issues and can spend more time focusing their energy on those efforts that matter the most to your core strategy. Make no mistake: this is an incredible position to be in and it’s finally here, thanks to the power of modern technology.

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