The Time to Talk About Chatbots is Now

Nobody wants to talk to you. But don’t take it personally. It’s a trend that’s happening everywhere.

The phone in your office probably doesn’t ring nearly as much as it used to. And when it does, it’s likely you aren’t answering to numbers you don’t know. People prefer emailing or texting to calling. They order their coffee through apps so they can pick it up without talking to the barista. They use a self-checkout line at the store instead of a cashier or hire a shopper through an app. In the age of Covid-19, automation, curbside pickups, and service based apps have risen even more in popularity. See, you’re not the only one they’re not talking to.

After the past year, is everyone becoming an anti-social hermit? While it may seem to be heading that way, it’s not really the case. The real answer lies in how busy our lives have become in this hyper-connected, always-on world.

The Need for Speed

Today’s consumer wants speed. Sending an email is quicker than getting someone on the phone. Ordering on your app is faster than waiting in line. You can pay someone to grocery shop for you and leave it on your porch, no human contact needed. And people want their customer service experience to be fast and easy. 

When customers and potential customers are seeking information, you need to get it to them when they want it and how they want it. You need to streamline your processes to get them to their end game as quickly as possible. They want a fast response, but they still want a quality experience.

Rise of the Chatbots

One way your business can offer consumers the fast response they demand is to use chatbots. Chatbots are programs designed to use AI through various messaging apps or your website to simulate human conversations in a helpful way. An online chatbot can save time and effort for both you and your customers by handling customer support, site search, frequently asked questions, appointment setting, and many other easily automated tasks. They even have bots that can write marketing content for you.

The use of chatbots has risen dramatically. According to the latest statistics, 1.4 billion people interact with chatbots each year. And that number is sure to grow. It is suggested that 85% of customer interaction will be handled without human agents in 2021.

Reasons to Use Chatbots

We are definitely seeing a shift in the way chatbots are being used from a sales, marketing, and communications perspective. Customers today find it much easier to communicate with chatbots online than to send an email or call a representative. Companies benefit by getting rid of routine tasks and being able to process multiple requests simultaneously. And it benefits you, chatbots can cut operational costs by up to 30%. Chatbots give customers the speed they want, processing requests immediately in real-time, which translates into customer satisfaction and loyalty.

A study done jointly by Salesforce, Drift, MyClever and SurveyMonkey found these were consumers’ top potential benefits of Chatbots:

  • Being able to get 24-hour service
  • Getting an instant response
  • Answers to simple questions
  • Easy communications
  • Complaints resolved quickly
  • A good customer experience
  • Detailed/expert answers
  • Answers to complex questions
  • Friendliness and approachability

Yes, you read right. That last one was friendliness and approachability. Chatbots are getting very good emulating real conversations. One company was surprised to see how many people were actually thanking their chatbots at the end of each session. All those thank-yous prompted the company to reconfigure their chatbots to be receptive to the outpouring of gratitude.

But that doesn’t mean you should fool your customers into thinking they are talking to a human. Customers could have ill feelings towards a brand once they find out they’ve been duped if they were led to believe it was a human they were talking to. It might be better to make it obvious you’re being helped by a chatbot and give them an easy way to contact a real human if they need or want to.

The Case for Live Chat

Live chat can also be a valuable tool in your marketing and sales arsenal. This is especially true if you have complex issues for your customers to deal with or need to build trust. Going back to where we began, consumers don’t want to talk to a person (if they can get through your automated phone system to one) or wait for an email response. Getting online and having a person interact in a chatbox satisfies their need for speed and clarity.

Live chat has become a great tactic for creating leads and conversions into customers. It makes it three times more likely that your customers will complete the purchase process. Furthermore, live chats generate a 20% increase in conversions and a whopping 305% increase in ROI.

With those kinds of numbers, there is a strong case for using this technology in your business, if you’re not already doing so. That’s because implementing live chat provides better customer service and drives sales leads at every level of the sales funnel and buyer journey.

So, customers do want to interact with you – just in an easy, fast and productive way. Putting a chatbot or live chat program in the mix is a proven way to increase leads, conversions, customer satisfaction, and loyalty. They also can be a boon to your bottom line. So, if you haven’t talked about chat, it might be time you started.

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