Chatbots are here to help. These artificially intelligent conversational agents are perfect partners for small businesses and entrepreneurs who want to do the maximum but have only a minimum amount of time (or money) to spare.
This year, 42% of consumers have already used chatbots, as have 72% of business executives, and 53% of millennials. Around 35.6 million Americans use a digital assistant at least once a month and Facebook Messenger now has more than 100,000 bots – compared to 33,000 in September 2016.
So why have chatbots been beneficial to so many people? And how can they help you? Consider just some of the things you can employ chatbots to do with your business:
Chatbots are especially ideal for businesses that handle a high volume of orders or frequently receive the same types of questions. You know from experience that responding to the same customer queries can eat into your time tremendously.
Chatbots can provide instant answers, thus leaving you free for other pressing matters. And they can probably answer some of these customer questions better than you because they can instantly source data across multiple apps. By using chatbots on your website, you'll save your visitors' time as well because they will no longer have to contact you and wait for a response.
You can use Chatbots to engage closely with consumers around the clock, any day, anywhere in the world. Potential customers can specify their price range, for example, and your chatbot can instantly access what's available, and then respond to queries about your product.
Does it come in different sizes? Colors? Your chatbot knows what the options are and what's in stock. Those with an advanced learning capacity can remember a customer's answers, tailor responses, and even provide advice.
You can customize chatbots to handle payments in as many ways as a retail sales associate can do. They can ask customers what card they'd like to use and verify billing and shipping addresses – all without forcing customers to leave your website and pay on a third party's page. In short, they ease the purchasing process by guiding your customers confidently through each step in a friendly, conversational style.
Chatbots are good with other money matters too – they can help your business with its accounting by tracking expenses, revenues, and outstanding invoices, making sure you take care of all your payments on time.
You've probably caught on by now: chatbots can free up your work life and save your consumers' time. But they can also help with bookings, cancelations, and rescheduled appointments – areas that normally take up too much of your workday. Because they have instant access to your business's availability, they can set up appointments for customers in real-time.
Without chatbots, customers might decide they can't wait for a response from you to see when an appointment is available and will search for a faster alternative elsewhere.
Consider how much more honest your customers would be if they didn't have to give their opinions face-to-face. Chatbots give your consumers a less intimidating forum to provide constructive criticism. Customer feedback is integral to any business looking to improve and grow and chatbots help you see your business from a consumer's point of view.
Chatbots are an easy way for small businesses and entrepreneurs to increase their competitive advantage. By delegating tasks to these virtual assistants, you'll save time, ensure accuracy, and provide instant customer service and response. But while chatbots might seem intimidating at first, keep in mind that you don't have to be a tech genius to use them. Chatbot experts are here to help you get started, whether you want to brainstorm ideas, develop a chatbot for your social media, or go straight for a genius.
Have you used chatbots before? How have they helped your small business or brand? Are there other areas they excel in? Tell us in the comments below!