Chatbots are a feature on websites that seem to have multiplied almost overnight. Now, nearly every website you browse will have one. Of course, most sites don’t announce that their customer service is, in fact, an Artificial Intelligence program. Chatbots have become increasingly sophisticated. They are programmed with far more nuance than in the early days. Many customers can’t tell the difference, leading to a swift and seamless transaction. As well as giving you another way to optimize the customer journey.
Chatbots can handle many routine inquiries quickly, politely, and accurately. They can do this at any hour of the day or night, in any time zone. They can recognize many languages and are extremely cost-efficient. This frees your human customer service agents up for more complex inquiries. They can deal with those demanding a response, such as a complaint.
Any venture can investigate the latest technology to keep improving your business. A chatbot is the newest addition. It can pop up after a few moments of browsing, discreetly offering to help. Alternatively, the chatbot can appear, offering suggestions, when it looks like the customer is leaving the site. The third option is to have the chatbot in the menu options. When a customer seeks to get in touch, the first point of contact could be a bot. Chatbots are easy to install and can be customized to suit your company completely. In short, they can optimize the customer journey at each and every stage.
How Chatbots Can Optimize the Customer Journey
One of the principal benefits of chatbots to online retailers or small businesses creating their first website is their versatility. Use them intelligently and they can optimize the customer journey at multiple touchpoints. The following are just five reasons why chatbots can so effectively boost the customer experience.
Advantage 1: Chatbots are Great at Routine Transactions
As we know, customer service agents talk about lots of different things. They can help to explain a product, including its features and benefits. They can detail how it stacks up against the competition. They will deal with monetary transactions, processing payments, refunds, and issuing store credits.
Often, they will use the best VoIP phone for this. People will contact them, asking where their parcels are. Unfortunately, even in the best company, complaints are going to be made. The specialized staff is there to deal with those swiftly and effectively. Their job also involves letting people know about the company terms and conditions and the cost of postage. They are there to answer frequently asked questions, etc.
Let’s be honest, many of those last things are probably stated very clearly on the company website. You’ve also added them to the email a customer gets when they buy something. If they only looked, they’d find the answer! But they didn’t, and now they are using your employee’s time, asking them via the small business phone system.
Here is definitely where your chatbot comes in. “How much is postage to the UK & Ireland?” “What is the address to send the parcel back to?” and “When will my parcel arrive?” are all questions that can very quickly be answered by an automated service.
A chatbot doesn’t forget any of the details, either. They are accurate about prices, transit times, and facts and figures. Suppose your company rarely sends items to Scotland. However, the customer would like to know which carrier company you use to do so. Your staff might not know off the top of their head. Or they might actually know but say the wrong company by mistake. The bot knows which companies ship to the Outer Hebrides without a pause.
Advantage 2: Chatbots Never Have a Bad Day
Have you ever phoned up customer services and been waiting for what seems like an eternity? Then got through to someone who appears grumpy? Then, they put you on hold and are away for so long that you suspect that they’ve gone to get a coffee. They answer your questions in an unfriendly manner and flat out don’t try their best to resolve your problem.
You get the idea that they just don’t want to help – today, at least. Yes, even the best, most highly trained, and generally happy and helpful human customer services agent can have a bad day. Obviously, this is not something that happens often! Of course, sometimes you can have a wonderful experience with a human agent that really brightens up your day.
In contrast, a chatbot is never rude. They are always polite and ready to help. If the answer is taking a long time, it might be that your internet connection isn’t so good. It’s never due to the fact that they’ve gone offline to have an unauthorized break. The bot is programmed to be helpful. You optimize the customer journey, then, for every customer without fail.
Of course, you could actually program a chatbot to be unhelpful, or enigmatic if you feel it suits your company image. It could be a good PR stunt, like the notoriously rude waiters in some cafes that keep customers coming back for more. But on the whole, you will want your chatbots to be polite, clear, and easy to use.
Chatbots are made to do just that, which brings me to my next point.
Advantage 3: Chatbots Stick to the Script and Keep to the House Style
You’ve spent a long time working out who your core audience is. You know what they like, and what they expect. If your business is in mechanical engineering, they might want some technical specifications, and for you to be formal and precise in your language.
If you have a business selling t-shirts with quirky slogans to teenagers, you will probably be far more casual. You will want to keep it all simple. The tone of your email marketing has been worked out carefully. When you hire your staff, you do so because they fit in with the company image. You will then coach them further in what you expect of them.
Chatbots can be programmed from the get-go in the correct style. They will only ever use the phrases you’ve told them to use. They don’t make mistakes by hitting the wrong tone or telling the customer the wrong thing.
Say that you’ve just had a training day at your t-shirt business. The staff learned all about the way the t-shirts are printed, how heavy the cotton used is, and how to manage your files online. You feel that when your staff knows all this, they understand your product better. And when they know it, they connect better with it. This shows through in their dealings with customers.
However, you don’t want them to go and pass on this information to the teenager buying your clothes. While the sales agent is enthusiastically giving all this information to the customer, the customer might be feeling very bored, or overwhelmed. They feel like buying a cool t-shirt is complicated and back away from the sale.
A chatbot can indeed be programmed to give information like this out if they are asked. But they are unlikely to tell a customer unasked. The chatbot sticks to the tone required. You optimize the customer journey, then, to suit your target audience perfectly.
Advantage 4: Chatbots are Flexible
Just because the chatbot experience is dependable, it doesn’t mean it feels robotic. There are many ways to use different communications to improve customer services. While the idea isn’t to deceive customers, many wouldn’t know they were talking to an AI.
This is because the programs used for them have significantly improved recently. In addition to the approachable script, bots no longer give inconsequential or odd-sounding answers. They do not say anything which a human would not have said.
There is also the option to switch backward and forwards between the chatbot and a human. More than one person can also seamlessly join the conversation. It is the perfect team collaboration tool. The chatbot can gather initial info, such as account number and name. They can then find out the nature of the query.
If it is a routine question, they will answer it. If it is more unusual, they can seamlessly transfer over to a human agent. If the answer starts routine but becomes complex, the trigger to go over to a person can be activated. After the matter is dealt with, the human can then let the bot take over again. It offers final information and automatically says goodbye.
It’s also important to let customers know how to speak to a human agent if they wish to at any time during the conversation. Optimizing the customer journey, after all, is about creating a seamless experience at every touchpoint.
Advantage 5: Chatbots are Fantastic at Selling and Upselling
For most people, a personal stylist is something that only a celebrity could afford. A styling session is also something that would take a lot of time. It would probably require travel to lots of different shops. Consumers can do something similar by going to a boutique and asking for a shop assistant’s suggestions. But they may not be trained. Or they might not have time or care enough to find clothes that are right for you.
Customers may actively avoid such a situation, fearing the “hard sell” and seeing themselves walking away with clothes that they don’t like. They may feel nervous about entering a shop in the first place, in case this happens.
For these people, shopping online can be the answer. It gives plenty of time to browse without feeling pressured. But what if there could be a helpful assistant on hand to suggest styles and other garments while you shop online, too?
Chatbots can fulfill this role. The advantage to the nervous customer is that they can avoid the hard sell. After all, a chatbot can simply be switched off, with no hard feelings. It’s much more difficult to cancel a pushy sales assistant who is trying to get you to buy a pair of jeans that don’t fit.
Here is an example of how a bot can optimize the customer journey in this way. Talking of jeans, Levis has many styles and options. There are so many that they felt that their customer was getting lost in a sea of denim. Their chatbot helps the customer pull out exactly what they are looking for using simple language. “How do you want your jeans to fit through the hip and the thigh?” it asks.
It then offers a short series of options for the answers. It can check on the preferred color and finish before making suggestions. Chatbots can recommend the right size based on measurements, not size labels.
Once a customer has the garment they are looking for, the chatbot can upsell. It suggests items that would also suit the customer’s size and taste. The option to ignore the suggestions and close the website is always there. According to Forbes, figures at Levi’s suggest that up to 80% of customers guided by the chatbot then make a purchase.
This is why we recommend a mixture of automated chatbots and human agents to help your business run smoothly. But they can do a lot of the heavy lifting to optimize the customer journey. The price is a fraction of that of an employee. In fact, they reduce the strain on human staff, ensuring they don’t get bored with routine questions. It frees them up for more exciting tasks.
Advantage 6: Bots Don’t Have to be Expensive, Time-Consuming nor Complicated
However, your business is set up – with a website, social media, or a mixture – it can benefit from excellent communication. Adding a chatbot widget to the mix improves this.
You don’t have to be a technical whizz to add one either. Many companies like Landbot make bots easy to install while offering accessible prices. Furthermore, conversations can be multi-channel. They can appear on an instant messaging app like WhatsApp, within your website, or on your social media.
As we have mentioned, the tone can be chosen specially for your needs. The choice of font and color, is, of course, up to you. Graphics can be added or omitted as you prefer. In fact, the whole package is customizable. Rest assured, it will match both your company appearance and its intention.