Delivering great customer service should be a core part of your business planning. And, if people land on your website and have questions, you want to keep them on your site, help them make their buying decision and give them the opportunity to sort out any issues. On a standard website, your customers would need to call or email you. But with a chatbot, you can provide virtual customer services that work hard while you get on with running your business.
What is a chatbot?
You’ve almost certainly used a chatbot before – on your bank’s website, perhaps, or when you want to ask questions about a product you’ve bought. Essentially, it’s a computer-based method of communicating with your customer, allowing them to ask questions and get an immediate, useful response. Chatbots are a cost-effective way to effectively outsource customer service. Small businesses in particular can benefit from the technology, which supports customers without taking up lots of your team’s time.
There are two main types of chatbot – the route you choose will depend on your budget, and the type of customer service you need to deliver.
Rules-based chatbot – this is the simplest version, covering the most common questions you might be asked. When you are developing the chatbot, you’ll create a list of those common questions and put together a list of useful answers. Working with your chatbot provider, you can build a set of options that help your customers choose the type of support they want. And then you can guide them to the question that’s most relevant to them. Answers can point to relevant webpages, give product discounts and provide useful information – but every question and answer is pre-planned.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot – AI is a type of machine learning that can learn from the questions posed over time and interpret the words that your customer uses to help guide them to the right answers. They make the virtual assistant customer experience more ‘human’ and more interactive – more like a standard conversation that you might get on a helpline.
Why use a chatbot?
There are several good reasons for introducing a chatbot to your website – as customer service outsourcing solutions go, it’s a great option. Benefits include:
Frees up your team – instead of spending time answering customer service emails and calls, all your basic customer service is taken care of automatically. This frees up time for your team and also reduces the cost to you. And it can operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Delivers instant customer service – today’s customers expect instant replies and high-quality customer service. They expect the same level of service from a small company as they might get from an international brand. A chatbot helps to give them the instant service they are looking for, helping to build a better relationship.
Automates processes – there are some sales processes that can be mostly – if not completely – handled by a chatbot. So you are letting your online presence work hard for you. This could extend your sales reach, qualify leads faster and deliver a better customer experience.
How to get started
For most businesses, a chatbot is a simple feature that can be easily added to your website. The best place to start is probably with the supplier who built the website for you – depending on the platform you are using, there will be particular ways to add this type of online customer service outsourcing. You can do it yourself, but it may be more cost-effective to get someone to do it for you. However you manage your chatbot, make sure you take the time to pick the right type of approach, and set out your strategy – a poorly thought-out chatbot can do your brand more harm than good.
We can support you with virtual customer services, helping you to give your customers the best service levels without taking up your team’s precious time. Why not call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above to find out how we can help?