Did you know that according to recent research by Business Insider, chat apps are officially dominating the mobile journey? In fact, a whopping 46% of smartphone sessions were found to have either a social media or messaging app as one of the first apps launched. Consumers are so active on chat apps that a 2016 study by the same company also found that messenger app use actually surpassed social media platform use in recent years.
Now more than ever consumers are active on chat apps, but their actual activity may surprise you. While many individuals look to messenger apps to connect with friends, research has shown that they are increasingly using these same apps to also connect with brands and browse merchandise.
So, what does this mean for your company?
It means that if you still don’t have a presence on these apps, then you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to grow your business and stay competitive.
So, how do you do it? Chatbot technology.
Chatbot technology is primarily used to enhance the consumer experience and scale customer service capabilities. However, in today’s world, they’re essential for establishing your presence as a brand on messenger platforms. There are literally hundreds of millions of consumers that are using messenger apps every day and as a result, your business can’t afford to not maintain a presence.
If you’re interested in learning more about chatbot technology and how it can impact your business, then look no further than these next few lines. This article will detail several benefits of chatbot technology, as well as help guide you in the right direction when it comes to finding the best solution for your company.
Benefits of Chatbots
If you’re like most people, then you were probably a bit skeptical about the rollout of the chatbot and its adoption into mainstream businesses. However, a little bit of research will show you that not only are chatbots being adopted by virtually every business of every size, but that they are indeed an excellent solution to a number of issues.
Enhancing the consumer experience
First and foremost, chatbot use enhances the consumer experience. A 2018 research project by SurveyMonkey Audience found that 64% of individuals felt that “24-hour service” was the single most important benefit of chatbots. With a chatbot, your company is available 24/7 regardless of whether or not your staff is. Furthermore, chatbots can provide your company with a significantly increased handling capacity. Humans are only capable of handling so many interactions at once, however a chatbot is able to manage thousands of interactions at a time, thus not only improving your customer service abilities, but also enabling your business to scale.
Increased customer retention rates
The quality of your customer service directly impacts your customer retention rates. When your business makes things easy for your customer by being consistently available and providing service at all hours of the day, every day of the week, on numerous platforms (i.e. messenger apps), your customer is more likely to view your business in a positive manner than if this weren’t the case. Happy customers stay with companies they like and this directly impacts your ROI and bottom line.
Chatbots increase the convenience of your business offerings by giving customers immediate access to information when they need it most. Without a chatbot service, your company can easily miss out on potential conversions due to the fact that customers will not be able to get timely access to information they need in order to make a purchasing decision. These decisions are often made quickly and as a result, time is always of the essence.
Reductions in the workload of frontline staff
Let’s face it, your frontline staff probably already have their hands full. By implementing chatbot technology you are able to effectively reduce the workload of your frontline staff by automating an essential part of their workload. This enables them to focus on other pressing matters and gives them the ability to handle the duties of their position more effectively.
Additional sales channel opportunity
One major benefit of chatbot technology is that it provides your business with an additional sales channel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is because chatbots are often integrated on websites, social media platforms and messenger apps and configured to recommend products and business offerings to consumers through conversation based on their particular needs. As a result, your company can essentially sell in its sleep.
Increased business intelligence
Another huge benefit of chatbot technology has to do with the analytics that come along with the interactions that your chatbot has with your consumers. These interactions are a treasure trove of information on consumer behaviors and experiences and as a result, provide a wealth of insight to help inform and drive essential business decisions and open you up to more revenue opportunities.
Finding the perfect chatbot solution for your business
So, you’re thinking about implementing chatbots for your business. If this is the case, then you’re essentially going to find yourself at a crossroads of sorts: Should you develop a custom chatbot from the ground up or should you move forward with a chatbot creation platform?
The truth of the matter is that this all depends on exactly what you’re looking for in your chatbot solution.
Using a chatbot creation platform
A chatbot creation platform, much as its name implies is a platform that is designed for the purpose of creating chatbots for individuals who aren’t exactly well-versed in the technical aspects of the process such as coding. These platforms tend to offer a drag and drop interface that allows you to easily add features, pre-built templates, analytics and a handful of integrations.
Some of these platforms offer free plans. For example, on Chatfuel you can create a custom bot for free until it reaches a certain number of conversions, at which point you will need to upgrade to a premium subscriber account. Other platforms price based on factors such as the number of conversations that will be had or the number of bots you need.
There are several creation platforms on the market and the one you choose will vary depending on your technical savviness, specific needs or preferences.
The benefits to these are that they tend to be a more cost-effective solution initially than outsourcing for custom chatbot development services. However, this is due to the fact that you’re not receiving the level of customization, features and integrations that you can get with a custom chatbot development solution.
Also, many of these platforms vary in complexity and as a result, manually creating your chatbot can quickly become an arduous process (i.e. you still may have to set up code) depending on which platform you use and your technical prowess.
It’s important to keep in mind that everything is done manually on these platforms. You will have to set up the chatbot yourself and make sure that you have a team in place in order to mange all future updates in a timely manner. This also includes potential technical issues which could result in your chatbot incorrectly answering a question or not functioning in some proper manner. These especially need to be addressed immediately, regardless of the time or day.
Furthermore, when choosing a chatbot creation platform, it’s important to understand that you are always going to be subject to a certain degree of platform limitations. For example, you may find that you need one feature or integration that the platform doesn’t offer (i.e. integration with Shopify). If this is the case, your only option is to switch to another platform entirely or to simply settle with the fact that you’re not going to be able to get a valuable feature that you desire.
As a result, doing your research and making sure you have all of your ducks in a row, as well as a dedicated team to manage the technology prior to getting started is going to be essential to your success when choosing a chatbot creation platform.
Outsourcing for custom chatbot development services
If your company is looking for a customized solution that fits the specific needs of your business, then a custom approach may be your best bet.
There are several benefits to choosing a chatbot company such as VisioneerIT as your custom chatbot development solution. Most importantly perhaps is the fact that you are not subject to the same constraints that you are with a standard chatbot creation platform.
As we discussed earlier, if the platform doesn’t have a feature or integration you need, you will either need to move to a different platform entirely or settle for not having the feature. However, when choosing a custom chatbot development solution with a company such as Visioneer IT, the sky is pretty much the limit as the saying goes. You can get just about any feature or integration with enough time and money.
Furthermore, when choosing a company to handle chatbot development, you can rest assured that no coding skills or technical knowledge will be necessary in any capacity. Deciding on features and integrations can be handled via a phone call and as a result, require no technical expertise or manual setup on your end. This is a particularly great option for companies who aren’t especially familiar with the chatbot industry or are first-time users and perhaps need a little bit more hand holding than others.
Another benefit to choosing a company to manage chatbot development is the fact that you are not only outsourcing the setup, but future updates and any potential technical issues as well. As a result, you save valuable resources such as time, manpower and energy that otherwise would be spent managing your chatbot solution.
Overall, the decision really boils down to what exactly you need your chatbot to do and your company’s resources. If you’re looking for a relatively straightforward and simple solution and you have the resources to develop and manage your updates and any technical issues on an ongoing basis, then moving forward with a chatbot creation platform may be your best bet.
However, if you’re looking for a customized solution perfectly tailored to your business needs and you have the budget to outsource to a company in order to handle the setup, management and technical aspects, then moving forward in that direction will be the best option for you.
Businesses of all sizes and industries are using chatbots now more than ever – especially in the United States. In fact, according to recent research, the U.S. ranks number one on the list of countries who are engaging customers through chatbot interfaces.
If you haven’t made the decision to implement chatbot technology then you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to enhance your consumer experiences at scale, increase conversions and drive down the operating costs of your business. So, what are you waiting for? Get started on implementing chatbot technology today and get on the road to a new and improved, competitive business model in 2019.
Have you thought about using chatbot technology to improve your business operations? Did you follow through with it? Tell us about your experience! We’d love to hear from you!