Chatbots for business: Are they worth the hype? Do they really engage customers? Can they qualify leads? Does your business really need them?
These are valid questions for any entrepreneur or manager who keeps a keen eye on trends. Naturally, you’re interested in new products and technologies that can boost customer satisfaction, bring you greater profits, and boost your general competitiveness in the market.
However, every business has its own specific answers based on a myriad of considerations. So before you decide, it’s crucial that you know the general pros and cons of chatbots for business.
Let’s dive into an unbiased appraisal of the good, the bad, and the ugly of chatbots for business.
The Cons of Using Chatbots for Business
They Have Limited Range of Responses
Chatbots rely on a predefined set of questions and answers, expanded in some cases with synonyms. Therefore, their responses are limited to a predefined set. This means that chatbots, at least for now, are not fully capable of understanding the nuances of human communication. In addition, bots do not understand and cannot accurately respond to questions that aren’t in the predefined set.
Chatbots for Business Can Lead to Customer Frustration
Customers don’t want to repeat themselves. When they have to, this can lead to customer churn. In fact, Zendesk found that nearly half of surveyed customers said that repeating themselves was their biggest frustration.
Also, no one wants to get an answer that isn’t relevant to the question they asked. This could happen when a chatbot for business does not understand a customer’s request. For example, a sarcastic statement will receive a reply as though the statement wasn’t sarcastic at all. We all know how annoying this can be. It’s even more frustrating for customers when they need to solve an urgent problem.
Complex Bots Can Be Costly and Time-Consuming to Build
Bots that can lessen some of the cons of using chatbots for business could require heavy use of AI. Therefore, they can be expensive and time-consuming to build and test. For some, the costs outweigh the benefits. Therefore, implementing this kind of chatbot is simply not feasible for some businesses.
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The Pros of Using Chatbots for Business
They Are Available Around the Clock
Once online, chatbots for business can run non-stop, all day and all night, every day of the year. Thus, they are always available for customer inquiries. Of course, server breakdowns can stop the bot from functioning. However, as long as everything is technically fine, your bot is always ready to work. Any time. Any day.
Chatbots for Business Are Cost-Effective and Scalable
Chatbots for business reduce labor costs, which is great news for any business. They work 24/7 and provide service to multiple people at once. But don’t get ready to fire anyone just yet. It’s always advisable to team your bot up with a human. This way the chatbot can do repetitive tasks while your human reps focus on more complex and engaging work.
They Have a Wide Range of Applications
Businesses are already using chatbots for various tasks in customer support, marketing, and sales. In support, they can answer frequently asked questions. In marketing, they can suggest products based on customer preferences. As part of the sales workflow, they can engage website visitors, capture lead information, qualify leads, and connect prospective customers to a salesperson.
Chatbots for Business Lead to Customer Engagement and Satisfaction
In an era when customers expect fast and personalized responses from brands, chatbots for business fit in perfectly. They deliver fast, accurate, and personalized responses to customers. Even better, they do it in an engaging conversational style.
Instead of using forms, a bot can help you gather information by asking specific questions while conversing with a customer. The customer can then type in their answers or click buttons when offered an option. It all comes across as simple and natural.
Should You Build Your Own Chatbot—or Not?
Chatbots are more beneficial to some businesses than to others. However, given the popularity of messenger apps and customer expectations of personalized and real-time communication with brands, it is important to weigh the pros and cons before you make a decision.
Ultimately, if your business frequently communicates with customers, then implementing a chatbot for your business could save you money, engage customers, and keep you available all day every day, all year long.