Several years ago when social media sites like Facebook and Twitter were really starting to get big, many brands were hesitant to jump into social media marketing because they believed it was a fad. Fast forward a few years and social media is a crucial element to any company’s marketing efforts and brands that never invested in it were left in the dust.
Today a similar thing is happening with chatbots. Marketing experts are seeing the tremendous value that chatbot technology can add to a business and many forward-thinking brands are already early adopters. Others point to its shortcomings (of which there are many) believing that the hype surrounding chatbots will eventually fade. While no one can perfectly predict the future, chatbots seem like they’re here to stay and each year the technology only improves. Putting off investing in chatbots now while it’s still new can have long term consequences. Here are a few reasons why now is the time to invest in chatbots.
Better customer service
If for no other reason, you should invest in chatbots because of how it can benefit your customer service efforts. On average, every chatbot-customer interaction will save your customer service team four minutes. By automating some of the simpler customer service issues and frequently asked questions, your customer service staff can focus their attention on the more challenging issues facing them. Not only does it improve the quality of your customer service team, it also allows your customers access to 24/7 support, something the average small business can’t normally provide.
Faster customer service
By automating much of your business’s customer service workload, chatbots can reduce wait times for those trying to message or call to speak with live agents. Even in chatbot interactions where the chatbot is unsuccessful, chatbots can handle some of the preliminary steps such as pulling up relevant customer information and determining the nature of the problem to connect the customer with the appropriate customer service team member.
Contribution to the advancement of chatbot technology
Chatbots depend on artificial intelligence to do their job accurately and efficiently. A subfield of AI is called machine learning and it is focused on finding more effective ways to program computers to learn and to learn in the way that humans do. The more early adopters of chatbots, the faster chatbot technology will advance. One study found that in 2017, only 20% of chatbot-customer interactions will be successful (the chatbot will resolve the customer’s issue unaided). While some might see this as a reason to not invest in chatbots, it’s important to note that the same study predicts that by 2022, just five short years from now, chatbots will be successful in approximately 93% of interactions.
Chatbots are still relatively new and the technology isn’t perfect. If you decide to invest now, your chatbot will make many mistakes. You will have to repeatedly return to the drawing board to improve your chatbot’s effectiveness. But in five years when every company has one, yours will be more fine-tuned through failure and you’ll be riding the wave of success instead of trying to catch up to it.
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