Chatbots: An Invaluable Asset for Small Businesses - (Don't Ignore)

Chatbots: An Invaluable Asset for Small Businesses — (Don’t Ignore)

A sophisticated way of customer management service, an invaluable asset for small companies and an awesome tool to derive business intelligence — we are talking about Chatbots.

Chatbots, if leveraged in the true and accurate sense can deliver ultimate customer satisfaction and streamline the support functions for small organizations.

One has witnessed a meteoric rise in chatbots over the past few years. Chatbots have become all –pervasive — so where you are ordering food (Zomato), calling a cab (eg. UBER) or booking a movie ticket you could have all your conversations with a chatbot residing in the app/website of your choice.

What is a Chatbot?

Computer programs that can converse to the users like real human are called chatbots. Almost all prominent messaging apps are making use of chatbots. Companies both big/small give an identity to their chatbots and these bots are designed smartly to understand spoken and written text. The bots then decipher the meaning and offer the aptest information/solution to the users.

Technologies used in Chatbot

Chatbots function on two types of technology:

  • AI based chatbots
  • Command based chatbots

AI-based Chatbots are based on natural language processing and thus can answer vague and ambiguous questions too. AI-based chatbots generate answers by making use of the natural language process and improvise themselves from the learnings of the past questions.

Command based chatbots work on hard-coded messages, heuristics, and databank of questions and answers. Command chatbots cannot generate text themselves. However, the bot is intelligent to understand the question of the user and select a reply that corresponds to the query asked. Command Chatbots are more dependable and grammatically correct. However, they cannot offer answers to questions that are outside their preview.

Features of command based chatbots:

  • Command based chatbots can have only a limited set of questions and answers.
  • Answers can only be sought for questions that are fed in the chatbot.
  • Manual intervention is needed for uncommon questions (questions that are not in the repository)

Chatbots are the first line of customer support, they feature a conversational UI and many of them require no coding too. They are must for small businesses that are looking to create customer delight and in turn, earn loyal customers for their business.

Reasons why small businesses need a chatbot

An interactive marketing platform

Chatbots create an active user experience, unlike apps and websites. And thus can be used for an interactive marketing campaign. Chatbots can help a small business reach out to more audience without extra cost. Chatbots on Facebook Messenger is an example of how companies can reach out to more people effectively and at a lower cost.

24/7 Availability

As a small business, you would not need to invest in employing additional resources for your business to engage with your customers or stakeholders. The productive hours or an employee is 5/6 hours. However, the Chatbot can run efficiently 24X7. Thus, no additional shift means no additional cost.

Quick support for customers

Chatbots act as instant support for customers. All important and most asked questions can instantly be answered via chatbots, without customers having to wait on the phone call and undergo the maddening on-hold music. Chatbots also allow small businesses to control & set the tone of the call and ensure brand consistency.

Scales up business operations

Chatbots help small business scale up their operations as they do not have limitations related to time & efficiency. Unlike human agents who can handle only 2 to 3 calls at a time, Chatbots, when used to complement your task force, can offer quick solutions to more customers.

Decreases Customer Acquisition Cost

One of the main challenges for small businesses is lowering Customer Acquisition Cost. Chatbot can be of great help here too. Chatbots can be designed to handle sales. A salesperson can handle only a defined number of customer requests, but a Chatbot can process gigabytes of data at one go. This would lead to quicker response and happier customers.

Helps to Earn More Revenue with Better Engagement

Chatbots can be customized to upsell/cross-sell. Small businesses can stay ahead of competition by making use of Chatbots instead of employing a large sale force. This would help cut down on costs. Businesses that have similar products can also use Chatbots to sell related product. Chatbots can offer the right advice to customers and help them buy related products and the right and meaningful benefits can be pitched through Chatbots. For instance, a lense can be pitched to a person who is buying a camera. Chatbots can explain and convince users to buy expensive products by explaining the benefits & values of a product/service.

Increases organizational efficiency

Small business can lower down their costs significantly by making use of Chatbots instead of a large number of resources for their backend support. Instead of recruiting people for routine and humdrum tasks, using Chatbots would be a better and cost-effective option.

Increases Return on Investment (ROI)

Customer Retention directly influences yours ROI. According to InsightSquared a reduction of 5 percent in the customer churn rate, increases profit margin between 25 and 125 percent. (source:InsightSquared)

Small businesses can make use of AL enabled Chatbots. All they have to do is equip it with the desired knowledge and make it capable to handle all customer queries. The higher customer retention, the more will be the revenue for the business.

Increases Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a key ingredient for the success of small businesses. If the customers are delighted, their tendency to come back increases. With a good, loyal customer base the sales would tend to shoot up. Also, happy customers are more likely to recommend you to their friends and family. Chabots offer quick help and solutions to customers and gain their trust and delight.

Reduces Cost

Chatbots are less expensive than apps. Chabots can be developed at a much lower cost as compared to the whole application. All small businesses have to keep in mind is that Chabots should be developed in such a way that it offers a great experience to the users.

Creates Brand Recall

Chatbots can be programmed to be humorous and funny. As a business you can code a small script that has jokes or witty replies to questions. Such Chatbots attract customers and help small businesses create and identity for their business. Thus, Chatbots are one of the most effective ways to add a character/personality to your brand.

The benefits of Chatbots are enormous for both big and small businesses. However, certain points need to be kept in mind while developing a Chatbot for your business.

What needs to be kept in mind?

  • Chatbots are all about personalization. So, the introductory screen should speak about all the features of the Chatbot. The user should feel welcomed and important. Thus can be achieved by using the name of the user and also with the help of interactions.
  • Make sure that the design of the Chatbot is user-friendly and easy to navigate.
  • Make use of high-resolution pictures and proper text formatting in your Chatbot.
  • Make your Chatbot smart. Ask minimal info from the user and do not repeat the questions. Make sure proper answers are provided with little input from the user’s end.

Some Handy Chatbot platforms:

  1. FlowXO — It is an easy to use Chatbot platform that allows users to develop automated bots.
  2. — It helps you create your Chatbot in just three easy steps. This platform makes use of natural language processing. As a result, the conversational tone of the bot is quite realistic.
  3. Chatfuel — This platform needs coding experience. It is mostly used by the developer community to create Chatbots. The interface is however quite simple and easy to comprehend.

It is time for small businesses to automate their customer experience for better productivity and Return on Investment (ROI). Right from handling customer queries to streamlining sales/marketing operations, small business can leverage Machine learning and AI Chatbots to grow their business.

Are you a small business and looking for interactive way to streamline your sales & business operations? Intuz has a solution. We offer customized and technologically advanced Chatbot solutions for small businesses to help them improve customer engagement. Contact us for free consultation and Chatbot demo.

Chatbots: An Invaluable Asset for Small Businesses - (Don't Ignore) was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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