The expectations of modern customers are growing year after year; however, something remains unchanged. Most of them want exceptional customer service, which can be challenging to deliver. Fortunately, today, you can leverage the power of customer support automation and start using a chatbot for business. In this article, we have explained the benefits and risks of this idea, plus provided step-by-step instructions on how to use a chatbot to boost sales and improve on-site customer experience.
The Benefits of Using a Chatbot for Business in 2023
Before discovering how chatbots can work for your business boost, let's dwell on the benefits their implementation can bring to your company.
- 24/7 availability. Chatbots are automated customer support and sales generation tools that are accessible around the clock. For your customers, it means additional convenience since they can get support and resolve their issues outside business hours as well.
- Cost savings. A chatbot is a technology that requires implementation and maintenance costs only. Usually, the cost of running a chatbot is predictable and more affordable compared to having a large customer support team. However, some issues still require human interaction, so you should rely on something other than a chatbot.
- Better user experience. The opportunity to get in touch with your brand 24/7, ask a question, or resolve an issue quickly significantly contributes to user and customer experience. What's more, the majority of modern customers consider a chatbot an integral part of customer service.
- Scalability. While scaling your in-house customer support team requires hiring new people and significant costs, enabling a chatbot to work with a larger amount of customer queries is more accessible and more affordable.
How to Improve Customer Support Using a Chatbot
Keeping the benefits of chatbot for business in mind, let's discover how to use this tool to improve your customer service operations.
- Address common issues. Before implementing a chatbot, define your customers' common questions. Automating the responses with the help of a chatbot makes the most sense in this case since the majority of the customers have the same issues. Usually, they want an update on their order or delivery, ask for details about the product or service, or resolve a post-purchase issue.
- Integrate a chatbot with a CRM. In the next step, integrate a chatbot with a customer relationship management system (CRM) so that chatbot interactions are automatically transferred to the system. In this way, you will be able to get a better insight into customer queries and find the areas for improvement.
- Handle after-hours support. 24/7 availability is one of the main benefits of using a chatbot for business, so ensure your customers have this advantage. Your chatbot should operate seamlessly regardless of the website traffic.
- Ensure multi-channel integration. If you have a mobile app, integrating it with a chatbot and using it on a website is essential. In this case, ensure that the chatbot delivers personalized customer care, identifying each customer correctly.
- Consider human agents' hand-off. A customer support chatbot should be trained in such a way that it can transfer complex issues to human agents automatically. Otherwise, for customers with non-standard questions, such a tool is more likely to spoil the user experience.
- Leverage proactive assistance. This can be done by analyzing user behavior and previous interactions to identify potential issues or guiding customers through their journey. By being proactive, chatbots can help address customer concerns before they become problems, enhancing the customer experience.
- Collect customers' feedback. Chatbots provide a valuable opportunity to gather feedback from customers. During interactions, they can ask for feedback on various aspects, such as the quality of service, ease of use, or specific product experiences.
- Ensure data security and compliance. Customer information, conversations, and feedback collected by chatbots should be handled securely and in compliance with relevant data protection regulations. Some of them are encryption, secure data storage, and strict access controls.
How to Boost Sales Using a Chatbot
In addition to improving customer service, you can use a chatbot to boost sales. Below are some actionable tips to do it right.
- Offer product recommendations. Offering product recommendations through a chatbot effectively increases sales by guiding customers toward items they may be interested in. After analyzing customer data, reviewing purchase history, and browsing behavior, intelligent chatbots can suggest the most relevant offers, leveraging different recommendation algorithms. Some of the most popular ones include but aren't limited to Related Products, Popular or Trending Items, Recently Views, and Bought Together recommendations.
- Provide shopping cart assistance. Offering shopping cart assistance is a valuable way to reduce cart abandonment rates and increase sales. When a customer adds items to their cart and then navigates away from the site, the chatbot can send reminders through push notifications, emails, or chat messages to encourage them to return and complete the purchase. If the customer encounters any difficulties or has specific questions about their cart, you can offer a seamless transition to live chat support for more in-depth assistance.
- Share promotions and discounts. Sharing promotions and discounts through a chatbot is an effective way to incentivize customers to purchase. As an option, an on-site chatbot can notify your customers about ongoing promotions, flash sales, or limited-time discounts. Also, consider sharing coupon codes during the checkout process.
- Cross-sell and up-sell. Recommend products that are complementary to what the customer is already viewing or has purchased. For example, the chatbot can suggest laptop accessories or software if a customer is browsing for a laptop. Also, identify opportunities to cross-sell related products. If a customer buys a camera, recommend lenses, tripods, or memory cards.
Main Risks to Avoid When Using a Chatbot
Despite chatbots becoming a must-have tool for customer support and sales boost, implementing such technology also has some limitations. Below are the main risks of chatbots for businesses to consider when making the final decision.
Misunderstanding customer queries
One of the significant challenges in chatbot implementation is the potential for misinterpreting customer queries. Chatbots, especially those lacking advanced natural language processing (NLP) capabilities, may need to be more accurate and understand the nuances of customer questions or requests. As for the solution, you must update the chatbot's knowledge base to ensure it stays up-to-date with current information and customer needs.
Complex implementation and maintenance
Implementing and maintaining a chatbot can be technically challenging and may require significant resources, both in terms of development and ongoing support. To mitigate this risk, hiring a professional chatbot development team is essential.
Over-reliance on chatbots
More reliance on chatbots, particularly for complex or sensitive issues, can lead to customer satisfaction. To prevent such a risk, you must ensure that the chatbot clearly communicates its capabilities and encourages customers to reach out to human support for more nuanced or emotionally charged interactions.
Lack of emotional intelligence
Chatbots lack emotional intelligence and may not appropriately handle dynamic customer interactions. In this case, human-to-human interaction will be more effective.
Implementing chatbots, especially in industries involving sensitive information like healthcare or finance, can raise ethical concerns. Chatbots must adhere to ethical standards, ensuring privacy, data protection, and unbiased decision-making.
As technology advances, chatbots will only become more sophisticated and capable of delivering seamless customer support. By embracing the power of chatbots in online business, companies can streamline their customer support processes, improve response times, and provide personalized assistance that meets their customers' evolving expectations.