Customer service and engagement is the lifeblood of many small businesses. Even if you have a great product or service, your ability to attract customers and engage with them in an effective manner can determine your future growth and success. One unique tool being implemented for years amongst large corporations and small businesses, are chatbots. The benefits of using a chatbot might surprise you, and their effectiveness will only increase with advancements in AI, voice recognition and command, and IoT interconnectivity.
What is a Chatbot?
A “Chatbot” is an “online or offline bot [software] programmed to give automated and adaptive responses to improve the customer experience” . Chatbots range from the simplest scripted bots with pre-defined questions and responses, to AI supported chatbots that can handle more complex inquiries. This type of software service is proving lucrative and growing as the “global chatbot market was valued at over $190 million in 2016”  and is showing now signs of stopping.
Who uses Chatbots?
In today’s modern world where human to human interaction is being substituted by technology, it may seem impersonal for a business to use an automated bot to answer client questions, but studies have shown that a large percentage of the population prefers a quick, automated answer. “According to a study by Aspect Software Research, 44% of consumers said they would prefer to interact with a chatbot over a human customer service representative” . This preference actually travels across generations as a joint research project between MyClever, Drift, and SurveyMonkey Audience found that of 1,000 adults in the U.S., “baby boomers were 24% more likely than millennials to see greater benefit from chatbots in five out of the nine uses cases studied” . This may seem counterintuitive to the stereotype that baby boomers are not a tech savvy as millennials, but when you consider “61% of baby boomers and 51% of millennials” saw the main benefits of chatbots as “their ability to provide instant responses to questions” , it’s not hard to realize the majority of people prefer speed over human connection, in this scenario.
The Benefits of Chatbots for Small Businesses
The immediate benefits for chatbots, are that they can handle immediate customer service questions directly and efficiently because they do not have working hours. Even a simple bot can answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) 24/7 with little to no delay, and AI powered chatbots can handle even more complex client communications before needing to refer to a human representative.
According to Salesforce’s “State of Service” survey of 3,500 customer service professionals around the world, the main benefits of chatbots revolve around providing “support triaging issues, and can even resolve them quickly, allowing humans to focus on the more complex issues that require their attention” . Common uses include, “providing self-service in simple scenarios, gathering initial information about service cases before handing off to an agent, providing agents with guidance and recommendations as they handle cases” .
Chatbots also change the way consumers view companies with chatbots. Salesforce’s “State of the Connected Customer” reports also indicates this viewpoint amongst B2B buyer and consumer expectations.
- 58% of customers say emerging technologies such as chatbots and voice assistance have changed their expectations of companies
- 54% of customers say companies need to transform how they engage with them.
- 77% of customers say chatbots will transform their expectations of companies in the next five years
Consumers are familiar with chatbots. Consumers want chatbots. Consumers expect chatbots to give them a variety of what they need quickly, and efficiently:
As a small business, review your customer service processes and see if your business model could benefit from adding a chatbox to your online presence!
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Vission Technology Inc. is one of the only teams in the Greater Vancouver Area that provides Marketing and Web Development Services in addition to Managed IT services. Web Development Services entail Vission Technology Inc. assisting small business owners in helping to establish an impactful digital presence at any stage of their business. Vission Technology Inc. can be involved at any stage of the creation of a digital footprint starting from content creation to server hosting. With its excellent project management skills and years of experience, Vission’s services span every part of the Greater Vancouver Area (Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster, Delta, Coquitlam, and Langley).