If you thought chatbots are just another internet fad, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Chatbots are here to stay. In fact, they have been around in one form or another for decades.
Most of us didn’t even know they existed until Facebook launched their chatbot platform, which has since then seen over 11,000 bots added to the platform. Businesses of all sizes can now reach out and connect with over 1 billion people who use Facebook Messenger every month.
If you’re a small business owner looking for ways to streamline your customer service and marketing then a chatbot is something you should seriously consider using.
In this post, we look at what a chatbot does and its benefits to small businesses.
So, What Are Chatbots and What Do They Do?
A chatbot is an interactive software program which can be integrated with Artificial Intelligence to mimic human conversations.
Chatbots are often used in social media, apps, SMS platforms, email, and Live Chat platforms to converse with customers and to capture leads and customer data as well. They are often incorporated in some of the major messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Slack.
Chatbots are normally guided by a combination of predetermined rules and sometimes combined with Artificial Intelligence to facilitate informed decision making rather than use scripted responses repeatedly.
The chatbot works 24/7 whether your customer support team is available or not. It can also guide potential customers through the customer journey to take the expected action such as sign up to an offer or make a purchase.
Benefits of Chatbots for Small Businesses
One of the many reasons why small businesses should adopt chatbots is because chatbots have better performance and results than regular emails.
According to a study done by Social Media Today, chatbots have higher open rates and CTR than regular emails. Chatbot click-through rate (CTR) ranges between 15% and 60% while email has a CTR of just 4%.
Here are a few more reasons why small businesses should be using chatbots in their marketing and customer service.
1. Chatbots Keep Your Business Running 24/7
Your human staff work for a maximum of 8 hours a day but a chatbot remains active 24 hours every day of the week.
If you had to employ a human task force to run your business 24/7, it would cost you twice your current labour cost.
A chatbot is only set up once and left to handle your customers and other stakeholders 24/7 without being exhausted.
2. Chatbots Provide Better Lead Generation, Nurturing, and Qualification
Chatbots assist customers in their “journey” towards purchase. The chatbot asks all the necessary questions and provides answers to persuade and guide the user. It helps to generate and nurture leads to take the expected action.
3. Chatbots Increase Engagement with Customers
The importance of keeping your customers engaged can never be overstated. Research shows that businesses that engage with customers on social media platforms increase customer spending by between 20% and 40%.
Chatbots help to boost engagement by making the conversations more interactive. You can even add a sense of humour to the interaction using emojis and a little creativity.
4. Chatbots Provide Instant Customer Service
Chatbots are gradually replacing Live Chat, email, phone calls, and other forms of slower contact methods.
This is because chatbots aren’t only cheaper to maintain but they are also more convenient and provide immediate customer service. Most chatbots are already programmed with concise answers to most of the questions your customers frequently ask.
Your customers will love instant solutions without going through the hassle of navigating through countless menus or waiting for an email reply that often takes an eternity to arrive.
5. Save on Customer Service Costs by Using Chatbots
Studies show that there are more than 256 billion customer requests every year while businesses across the globe spend trillions to service the requests.
The good news is that with chatbots you can save up to 30% of what you spend annually on servicing customer requests.
If you hire support agents, you’ll need to incur huge costs in salaries, training, and setting up the required infrastructure.
6. Chatbots Help to Minimise Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
One of the major challenges small businesses face is how they can reduce customer acquisition costs.
A chatbot provides the perfect solution to CAC problems because it can process hundreds of requests at the same time. It saves you customer acquisition costs, time, and resources.
7. Chatbots Can Be Used to Drive In-App Purchases
If your business offers free apps, you can take your marketing strategy to another level by including a chatbot to drive more in-app sales.
Just make sure that the chatbot provides the best engagement and guidance to make the customer complete the purchase process.
8. Chatbots Give You Data-Driven Insights
You can also use a chatbot to collect data that helps you to track your customer’s sentiments, understand customer behaviour, and even predict market trends.
Such data is useful when you want to tailor your products and services to suit the ever-changing customer needs and expectations.
There are many types of chatbots for small businesses including chatbots for customer service, marketing, and sales.
They all offer an effective help-desk that promotes better engagement with customers and other stakeholders. For the best results get a smart chatbot that handles multiple tasks from answering basic questions to providing guidance in the customer journey.
Remember that with every conversation, you make more sales and provide better customer experience. You can achieve this goal 24/7 with a perfectly programmed chatbot.
Give us a call on 03 9043 4444 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are planning to implement a chatbot on your website.