Chatbots: A Bane or a Blessing?

 Chatbots: A Bane or a Blessing? 

New tech always attracts those who believe in the power it delivers, along with doubters who refuse to think a ‘better mousetrap’ is even possible. This is especially true when it comes to Chatbots, as it has been one of the most discussed topics among internet marketers, at least in the last year. 

Have you ever visited a website, opened their “live chat” box for immediate support, then shortly thereafter, come to realize you were speaking with one of the recent, trendy forms of artificial intelligence? Odds are if you do much online, this experience is one that’s not a stranger to you. 

More and more brands today are utilizing Chatbots to help lower overhead, answer questions, and streamline their operations. However, not everyone agrees it is a truly valuable addition to the marketing mix. Which means there’s a roadblock. 

In order to assist elite internet marketers up their game, let’s dig into the nitty-gritty details with directness and transparency so as to really understand the pros and the cons. 

What Do ChatBots Do? 

You may have heard this type of modern tech formally referred to as “conversational agents,” depending on where in the internet you tend to hang out. The concept is that intelligent computer programming – sometimes powered with machine learning capability – can provide brands with the ability to replicate actual human interaction with their application (or bot to be more specific). They’re either web-based or available directly via a standalone application that you’d install yourself. 

The most common duties of these digital robots are to provide first level (Tier 1) support or initial interaction with customers. The idea is that many of these customer inquiries are fairly simple and straightforward, and since there may be many requests, this is a place where labor costs are known to rise rather rapidly. Engaging in non-complex interactions and addressing common problems are just a couple of the ways a bot might resolve issues, queueing the more complex questions for a live customer service agent to step in and handle. 

Should Businesses Use ChatBots? 

It all links back to something savvy ones know as NLP (Natural Language Processing). Over recent years, the barriers went from a significant size to non-existent. Using NLP, it embraces the power that Apple, Google, and Microsoft have always used for as long as one can remember with their virtual assistant technology that many of the world’s leading brands utilize daily. 

Since the barriers are low, so are the initial costs. If you have a higher demand for customer service/support, it could save you more money than you must pay for a reliable automated chat service to fulfill the needs of your daily business operations. 

How has this recent tech development changed how customer service is done? 

Instead of having to hire tons of people and maintain a physical call center to support the workforce, the amount of customer service reps needed to help brands run things has greatly decreased. Not to mention, the amount of work hours decreases since most of the common situations are solved using automated processes over the need for humans to be on the other end. 

Using Chatbots to Generate Leads Needed in Order to Further Grow Your Business 

Generating leads with this form of automation is also possible. The best example can be found over at WordStream where they compare using a chat bot with using pop-ups which were the golden key to lead generation in earlier days. You’ll also notice that they covered a few different tactics that you can use to your own advantage for the best results feasible in this modern-day and age. 

Here’s what it all boils down to with automated chat representatives/robots. 

Cost savings, delivering solutions to tier 1 issues and questions from clients, and reducing the number of leads not generated are just a few of the driving forces of NLP. It has changed the world as well as just about every industry one could think of and provided consumers with what they need when they need it rather than after the fact. If you can afford the expense, it’s well worth it, but smaller businesses with limited funding might find it to be more of a burden than a blessing. 

It’s all a matter of the nature of your operations specifically, the needs of your business, and how much demand/usage of internal resources it takes to provide a quality customer service experience. When you know the ins and outs of your daily operations, you’ll easily see if this is a logical step to make or not. 

Summary 

The public is in a state of curiosity when it comes to chat bots. Some think it’s a pain in the rear while many leading brands have found it to provide a much-needed enhancement to the way that business is done. The ones who found the latter have uncovered new levels of success and more efficient methods. 

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Author: Kim Figor

Kim Figor has over 13 years’ experience in a plethora of marketing disciplines that encompass SEO & Paid Search Online Marketing, Loyalty Marketing, Marketing Communications, and Project Management. Her educational background includes a BABM and MBA in Marketing as well as Certifications in AdCenter, Adwords and Market Motive (Paid Search, Display, SEO, and Conversions). In addition to working at Google, where she assisted thousands of companies succeed online, Kim has been a key player in the start-up and growth of several technology and marketing companies. Kim’s exceptional analytical skills relating to online marketing has proven to be instrumental in the success of online campaigns for companies in all industries and sizes.