You know them, you’ve probably seen them on multiple company websites you stumble upon, the chatbot. “Hi there, can I help?”. Chatbots have become the new way to interact with your customers and they provide many benefits. This blog will particularly look at some of the benefits associated with having chatbots for your business and also address some potential drawbacks from their use that are good to consider.

Research conducted for the Harvard Business Review (2018) indicated that firms achieved the greatest performance levels when both human and machine were working together; machine intelligence and human emotion. The first benefit is communication with consumers; chatbots are generally available 24/7 to answer queries and converse with customers. In a modern world of anywhere, anytime communications, consumers expect to have on-demand interactions with organisations. Chatbots allow this to be done, cost effectively around the clock. Whilst not yet a complete replacement for humans, chatbots allow more limited interactions to be handled automatically.

“Consumers want to talk to brands, hence enabling chatbot feasibility can be extremely useful for building brand relationships”

Another potential benefit associated with chatbot technology is that they can open doors into global markets by being accessible and learning multiple languages. The chatbot permits this sort of interaction; consumers wants to talk to brands, hence enabling chatbot feasibility can be extremely useful for building brand relationships.

Furthermore, if one considers the most recent technological advances that have taken place, the transformation of AI and machine learning has taken the business world by storm. Consumers now seek smarter, more agile and receptive interactions from businesses; having a chatbot as part of your online offering can not only encourage your customers to interact with your brand, but also aids in boosting brand image. Having advancing technologies incorporated demonstrates that your business has unique prowess and intelligence and wants to provide a better service to your customers, keeping up to date with technological trends.

Utilising chatbot technology is also very useful for monitoring consumer data and gaining insights into consumer activity and satisfaction. In addition to checking how many people are viewing your brand online you can notice what encourages them to interact, what sort of questions they are asking or what they wish to know more about. Since chatbot interactions ultimately result in captured textual data (rather than audio recording of human telephone calls), there are opportunities to perform automatic analysis more easily identifying patterns including types of queries as well as customer sentiment.  This could act as an indicator to how your business can improve and better serve your customers.

“Having advancing technologies incorporated demonstrates that your business has unique prowess and intelligence”

However, there are some potential drawbacks that must be considered. The most apparent problem is that chatbots require intelligent programming in order to be able to sufficiently answer and respond to questions. Moreover, chatbots can open doors to international markets, so it must have a level of linguistic ability to be effective, and eventually you will need staff who understand that language to handle interactions which go beyond the chatbots capability. Interacting with consumers puts a great deal of trust within chatbots, if the system is slow, unresponsive, or does not provide appropriate answers then consumers will only build a negative opinion, which could tarnish your brand reputation. However, being upfront with customers to let them know they are speaking with a chatbot, not a human, can help lower the expectations of a customer and help the interaction.

According to Forbes (2018) chatbots are the most significant and useful tool that a business can adopt, improving customer service and indicating toward marketing insights that help businesses grow and develop.

Therefore, it is imperative, as is the same with any sort of technology, to build a quality chatbot which is thoroughly tested, especially when it comes to serving your customers and making your business run more efficiently. Poorly designed and configured chatbots will only hinder your process, create unneeded issues and probably some angry customers. Thus, in order to ensure effectiveness of chatbots, creating positive brand equity, relationships and grow your business then the right developer will be key to success, having clear objectives and a commitment to technologically innovative advancement.

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