For anyone starting up a business, there is never enough time and always too much to do. The same is true of information flow within a startup, with often way too much input and not enough output. Chatbots can play a key role in helping the business manage that information and organise customer contact.
With many businesses increasingly reliant on websites as the first point of customer contact, the old-style contact form is becoming less useful. People would like to communicate with the business now, and a chatbot is an ideal way of starting a conversation without tying up you or your team.
Chatbots, either on the website or social media avenues like Facebook Messenger can ask what the person wants, help provide valuable information about your products or services, respond to support inquiries with advice or specific problem-solving answers and much more.
Creating a front-of-house chatbot doesn’t take long. It saves users searching your site for information and is more interactive. It can route any specific queries that require further action to the right member of your team via email, chat or SMS depending on how your business operates.
This saves you having to wade through a stack of varying types of contact form messages, and means the prospect or customer should get a faster response. A simple scripted bot can help with this task, and as many businesses use cloud services, it is just another small cog in your IT machinery that can provide substantial benefit.
Chatbots are also being used as internal-facing tools for growing businesses. Companies that have next-to-no human resources can use a bot to manage the holiday booking and absence form, booking appointments and meetings, along with other tasks as they become too much for staff to handle.
The benefit might be limited for a small business with under 10 people, but as the company grows the benefit magnifies and means you don’t need to invest in full-time staff to manage these tasks. It is also easy to show someone how to use a bot rather than go scurrying after elusive staff or forms to handle these tasks.
As the business grows, and knowledge management becomes an issue, all sizes of companies are resorting to chatbots to help manage information. For distributed companies, perhaps operating around the world, the benefit is also there 24-hours a day, helping the business stay on an even keel.
Finally, there comes a time for any business when it gets hit with a sudden burst of sales, queries or interest. Perhaps your product has made major trade or even mainstream news. All of a sudden your business is expected to cope with a deluge of inquiries. Realistically, the only way you can handle the load is with a costly centre engagement, or through a chatbot.
The bot can handle thousands of queries at once, and be easily updated with the latest information on your product or service. The bot can help augment your web store, if that’s where the product is sold, or handle queries if the store goes down under the load. On the flip side, if your product or service ever suffers a major failure or outage, the bot can also help with the deluge of requests for help and support, and keep an army of unhappy customers off the phone.
As your business grows, you will find there are times when the business needs to save money, and chatbots are part of the wave of technologies that help reduce costs, by saving time, freeing people up for value-added tasks and helping save money on other bills or resources.
Chatbots can also generate revenue, either by directing people to your products or stores, or selling the products or services directly online as part of the chat. They can also help upsell services or suggest additional products that customers might be interested in. For any business with a limited sales force, every extra effort helps and the chatbot as a sales tool is just a new part of the business landscape.
Whatever your business, a chatbot can help play a part in its growth, saving the company staff time and helping in your customer service and business efficiency efforts.