Imagine having an unlimited number of employees who are available all day every day to help your customers with their questions and support related issues, all with no waiting, on the device of the customers’ choosing. And in their language, whatever that may be. That’s basically what Chatbots can provide. They can completely change how your business interacts with your customers, and add value to ordinary interactions.

smartphone chatbot conversation

Chatbot Basics

The biggest benefit of Chatbots to businesses and customers is that the bot is available all day every day, and it is not just limited to one bot at a time. Many copies of the bot can run at once so customers never have to wait to “speak” to someone.

This means that businesses are able to offer pseudo-live customer service 24x7x365. Obviously this helps customers because it offers them support exactly when they need it. And it benefits businesses because they’re not paying employees to speak with the customers every hour of every day. If your business serves customers who speak different languages, your bots can be programmed to accept queries and respond in multiple languages. So Spanish speaking customers are able to get the support they need even if you do not have a Spanish speaking employee working at the time.

In today’s world many people would rather text to get their answers than to speak with a live customer service rep. Why not give them this opportunity? Chatbots can be set up on websites, to respond to texts, and interact with users on social media messaging like Facebook Messenger, Kick, and WhatsApp. Your chatbot is also able to converse with callers on the phone, using natural language recognition to interact with the customer. By giving customers access to your support services through the devices they are most comfortable with, you are providing an added value to them. And by communicating with customers through chat and text bots, the entire conversations are preserved, meaning the history of those interactions are available should a live employee need to pick up the service ticket at any point (no need for the customer to retell the situation, further frustrating them).

What Can Chatbots Do That Humans Can’t

It’s not just the scope and availability the Chatbots offer that are leading to their adoption by many businesses across the globe.

Chatbots have the potential to be more accurate with their answers. Answers to queries are programmed into the bots, so what is entered is presented to the customer in exactly that manner. We use the following scenario to illustrate where this can be very useful:

A potential customer is on your website on a Friday, and opens the chatbot to quickly find out when your physical store or office opens the following morning. A Chatbot will be able to instantly output the time for the site visitor to see. A human answering the query may not always remember that tomorrow is Saturday, and that on Saturdays the opening time is one hour later. It is a very innocent mistake, but one that can be avoided with a Chatbot.

There are countless scenarios like this that play out on a daily basis. And although it does not seem like a big deal to most businesses, to that customer who received the wrong information it can mean the difference between being a satisfied customer to being a former customer.

The sheer volume of information that a Chatbot can manage is basically limitless. As long as it is trained with all the expected questions and answers (and intents), over time a Chatbot can be as knowledgeable as your highly-trained and experienced support staff. By incorporating all the institutional knowledge that your staff members have accrued through the years, your support team will be as strong as ever even when employees retire, move on to different positions or leave the company altogether.

The speed of Chatbots is amazing as well. They are capable of looking up and digesting information in real time, whereas a human might have to reference other materials (whether online or offline), find out what the best answer to the query is, and interpret it for the customer. As long as the question being asked has a corresponding answer in the Chatbot’s database it would be extremely difficult (if not impossible) for a human to provide a result quicker than a bot.

Are There Limitations To Chatbots?

A properly trained and programmed Chatbot will have an answer for everything a customer would need to know about. And a Chatbot that can answer all your customers questions is what you should strive for. But the training and programming it takes to get there uses up time, energy and other resources. Understanding what it will take to deliver the type of bot that your business needs before you start development on it is very important.That holds true whether you are building a Q&A bot that uses static knowledge or an interactive, “intelligent” bot that integrates with your data sources, calendars, or proprietary systems. Both bots are designed to ingest text in many different ways (Natural Language Recognition), so a customer doesn’t have to say/type an exact match to get the right answer. But building an interactive bot takes a lot more time to develop.

The Future Of Chatbots

Understanding Voice/Sound: Chatbots are improving their voice interface capability, implementing sentiment analysis and advanced speech processing to continuously improve the caller experience. Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa are examples of a continuous improvement process based on the millions of audio samples received every day.

Answering Unexpected or Strange Queries: It’s also impossible right now to program a bot to provide all the help a “domestic human” could. If a customer asks about a Chatbot’s family, it is unlikely that an acceptable answer can be delivered. That doesn’t mean designers aren’t getting closer. As developers come up with new ways to connect information and leverage the ever-expanding volume of Internet data, stumping a bot is getting more difficult by the day.

Speed: If Chatbots can provide customers the information they need fast it can only help your business. Some of today’s Chatbots provide almost instant answers to most questions. Sometimes there is an unnoticeable lag in response, but soon they will have the answer before you’ve finished your question.

Want to learn more about what a Chatbot can do for your business? Have a problem you think a virtual assistant can help solve and want to talk it out? Give DiRAD a call or send us a note. Our experienced professionals will be happy to figure out how the next generation of Chatbots can be a key to your successful business.