How to gain maximum business and customer value from your chatbots

Chatbots are exploding as a technology, appearing on the sites and social media of big brands, small business and all manner of services. But ensuring your business provides and extracts most value from the conversation, and you have happy customers is a tricky balancing act.

For business, a chatbot is the latest feature that can help the customer along their journey. Whatever the interaction with your business, you either want to sell them something, provide a service, set up an appointment, access their contact details or so on. The chatbot can help do this in an automated and smart fashion using a scripted conversation, links to the right contact point, product, service or store.

Time is of the essence

Both the business and customer want to save time when it comes to interactions, businesses want their customer support or front desk agents to spend as little time as possible on low-key issues, while customers don’t want to spend time on hold because “your call is valuable.”

Chatbots provide the perfect answer, triaging enquiries for the business and provide instant results to the customer. A chatbot can eliminate many phone calls, reduce the number of emails that need to read and so on. Their 24/7 gate monitoring, helps companies expand their presence around the clock, and maintain a concierge presence.

A script-based chatbot should be able to handle the basic information requirements of any company or customer. However, advances in chatbots such as natural language processing can help establish what a customer really wants to discuss, while sentiment analysis can help establish their mood. These advanced features can help a chatbot find the right information to pass on, or know when it is time to pass the customer over to a human agent.

For maximum success, bots need to be highly visible, on front page of websites, prominent on Facebook and other platforms to encourage users to try them. Too many businesses still consider chatbots as experiments, and run them stealthily, but that defeats the benefits of the technology. If there’s a problem, a chatbot can be updated to fix it in minutes, it is not like when an app goes wrong.

In some areas of customer service, chatbots are already popular among consumers. With use rising fast among banks, healthcare and service companies around the world. The likes of Dominos and Pizza Hut can take orders using Facebook Messenger.

Improving and adding advanced technologies to bots

The most common issue for a customer is that they are using a chatbot but then want to talk to an agent. While they might have started the process not planning on talking to someone, that change of heart is a very human thing that businesses need to be aware of and factor into the bot.

This might happen if the user finds the bot getting stuck in a loop on the conversation or not providing an answer despite repeated attempts. The business needs to monitor these conversations and build a route to success that provides the information people need.

Making the chatbot effective and useful will limit the user’s desire to talk to someone, and efforts need to be made to create a fully-rounded bot. Most businesses are happy to experiment with their own script-based chatbots, but even advanced-sounding features like NLP and sentiment analysis can be added as features to improve the service offered.

Check out this piece on sentiment to see how it can operate in the real world. Meanwhile, NLP has been added to several bots including the free to use SnatchBot platform, making it one of the best ways for businesses to experiment with and deploy fully functional chatbots. Enabling NLP interactions with their script-based bots, businesses can experiment with the feature and see where it adds benefit to the conversation.

For example, persistent use of the word “color” might suggest the user wants to look at the options available, or “help” might suggest they need more advanced instructions or passing to a person.

Any business can gradually adopt these features, build them into their existing bots without having to consider a major overhaul. This level of dexterity is what makes chatbots powerful allies for any business, and with plenty of deployment options, fast results and feedback will ensure that the business understands how users respond to chatbots and how to make them better.

You can check Strategies you need to create a chatbot in 2018.

Using advanced features like AI, NLP and sentiment analysis is the next step in the evolution of chatbots, but it need not put them out of the reach of any business.

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