Do you really need a chatbot? It's a more complicated question than you might think. While chatbot technology might look exciting at first glance, it's always tempting to jump straight to the 'next big thing' without thinking it through. As with apps, there's no real point to having your own chatbot simply because the business next door does. It's worth applying a bit of logic first before you decide to part with your money. There are some key points you should consider before commissioning or purchasing any chatbot software.
What's The End Goal?
What will the chatbot actually do and what is it meant to achieve? This simple mantra will keep your chatbot ambitions focused, affordable, and realistic. For example, is it meant to boost sales? Reach a KPI target? Market your products? Market just one product? Suggest more products? Automate an existing service? Provide a brand new one? All of the above?
If you're looking at a personalised piece of software, come in for a free consultation. Brandon Cross will be happy to discuss what sort of chatbot you might need.
What's Your Budget?
Ideally, the budget you set aside for your chatbot should match both the size of the task and the depth of your bank account. While top-of-the-line neural processing may be out of your reach, off-the-shelf software and set menu applications can cut costs while incurring little risk to you as tried and tested marketing methods. Keyword chatbots are recommended for combined services, particularly if you're running a hub webpage distinct from your presence on social media.
Carefully consider how much money you're willing to throw at automating your problems, as well. Is there a cheaper, quicker, or more efficient way that could use your existing website or human staff to solve your issue?
Will It Turn Away More Customers Than It Attracts?
This is a critical consideration. Consumer surveys still indicate a relatively high level of distrust in chatbots and automated software. Building that trust in your service through getting the tone of the bot right and commissioning a quality piece of software is vital to getting those initial leads, building rapport, and gaining return customers.
Inadequate scripting or limited, inappropriate responses can end up infuriating or confusing users. If you're handling an emotionally sensitive conversation or confidential information it can also prove tactless, inappropriate, or even illegal to use a chatbot to handle orders and customer communication. The key is to strike the appropriate balance for you customer demographic.
Again, refer back to your set budget and carefully consider what it is that your business actually does. How easy is it to automate the phone and email conversations that your employees are currently having with other businesses or your customers?
Do You Have A Set Tone In Mind?
Chatbots that use a passive voice, pre-packaged responses, and no personalisation to deliver set services can seem bland. They fade into the background. While this may be useful for quick and predictable businesses such as taxi companies, retail chatbots can suffer from severe underperformance if you don't have a brand image.
Do you have the time, money, and (most importantly) the creative staff to make this happen? Similarly, you should also consider any localisation, local customs, and language issues before they arise. Knowledge of local slang and informal, friendly phrases can boost the emotional response your chatbot gets enormously. Chatbots can be set to have regional and demographic variations, on request.
Can Your Business Handle The Results?
So you've commissioned and implemented a great chatbot, it's running smoothly, and the customers love your tone and product suggestions. What about the human end of the chain? Make sure that you have enough staff in place to handle any increase in purchases that might result. Make sure the chatbot is kept up-to-date with how your business runs, as well. The information it provides to customers is only as good as that which you give it.
The Escape Clause
You should also provide an option to speak to a human in your chatbot. For personal reasons or oversights and bugs in the program, many users may end up requesting a traditional phone or email conversation to resolve their problems.
Chatbots are a positive technology with many applications in business, and are increasingly used to automate a variety of customer service, admin and sales functions. To find out more, please call 0208 144 2000 today!
Image source: Pixabay