Your customer support team answers “How do I reset my password?” dozens of times a day. Your website traffic is growing every month, but lead conversions aren’t following suit. Your customer service reps have too many messaging apps to monitor.
If any of these ring true for you, then it might be time your business considers “hiring” a chatbot. And you wouldn’t be alone. There are more than 300,000 chatbots just on Facebook, and it’s expected that 80% of businesses will use some form of chatbot automation by 2020.
But first, what is a chatbot, exactly? Similar to live chat, chatbots allow customers to ask questions or present issues through an online (usually text-based) messenger. They simulate human conversation, providing instant responses to simple, fact-based questions. The advantage of chatbots is that they are scalable to handle any number of simultaneous conversations.
To help you determine your business’ readiness to add a chatbot to your strategy, look out for the following signs.
How to know it’s time to use a chatbot for your business
Below are some of the common scenarios we see from companies that decide a chatbot is the best move for them.
You know you need a chatbot when...
1. Your support team spends more than half their time answering simple, repetitive questions daily
There are customer scenarios that need a human touch, and there are ones that don’t. Time spent answering common questions (e.g. “What is your pricing?”) takes away from more complex issues that truly need a human touch. When considering whether or not a chatbot could help answer easy questions, there are a few things to think about. First, how much time does your support team spend on common questions? Avis Budget was able to automate 68% of their service calls with a bot. Another thing to think about: how much time is your team spending rerouting questions to different departments? Chatbots can help streamline rerouting by recognizing language in customer queries and directing them to the right team at your company.
One European telecommunications company successfully set up a chatbot for simple queries. The team set up a chatbot on a pilot program to handle a set of common customer questions, and within five weeks of “chatbot training,” the bot was able to resolve 82% of the interactions itself. When the chatbot was combined with live intervention by a human, the resolution rate increased to 88%.
2. You need to improve your customer experience.
We live in a connected world where information and products are often delivered to consumers immediately. While this means you don’t have to move an inch to order tacos on a lazy Sunday, it also means everyone expects fast service. If your customer support team isn’t able to respond to customers fast, it might be time to bring on a chatbot. How fast is fast enough? 82% of consumers expect an immediate response when they have a sales or marketing question.
3. You want to chat with customers while ensuring their privacy.
Some industries, such as banking and insurance, handle sensitive information. While security is essential to customers no matter what company they’re interacting with, businesses handling personal info should consider how a chatbot fits into their operation. Before building a bot, take time to make a plan about how information is shared and stored within your customer support systems. While it’s important to consider security in your chatbot decision, privacy concerns shouldn’t hold you back. Some of the biggest global banks have adopted chatbots, including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Capital One, and MasterCard. Erica, Bank of America’s chatbot, helped a million new users in her first two months.
4. You need help qualifying leads
Chatbots aren’t just for support—they’re also great at qualifying leads. Tree Ring, a service that creates custom yearbooks, was able to 15X their ROI by increasing the value of their sales pipeline through using a chatbot to qualify leads. Everyone wants more qualified leads, but you have to assess your current sales pipeline before sticking a chatbot into the mix. Do you have a clear lead qualification process? If you do, a chatbot may be able to help. Another scenario in which a chatbot can boost sales is if your sales team is overwhelmed by the number of potential leads coming in.
5. You use multiple messaging platforms to communicate with visitors and customers
If your sales or support teams use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and other social media to talk to leads or clients, they’ve likely got multiple tabs and windows open at all times - which can leave your team open to forgetting to respond to a customer. Some third-party chatbot providers offer integrations with major messaging platforms, enabling your team to manage all customer and visitor communication in just one window.
The business benefits of chatbots
Chatbots enable companies to provide consistent and timely answers to questions from new visitors and customers alike. Chatbots are perfect for:
- Qualifying leads
- Answering simple, common questions without human interaction
- Empowering your support team to spend time on complex issues
While many companies have successfully implemented chatbots, it’s always best to consider your position before making a decision. You’ll benefit from a chatbot if:
- Your support team spend half their time or more on simple, common questions
- You need to improve your customer experience
- You want to chat with customers while ensuring their privacy
- Your team needs help qualifying leads
- You use multiple messaging platforms to communicate with visitors and customers
If you want to learn more about chatbots, check out our guide on The Rise of Chatbots in Customer Service and Support.