Chatbots already are a widely-used solution for customer service, sales, and support processes. The continuous growth of technology processing natural language with AI (artificial intelligence) is expected to cause a massive growth in retail sales (reaching $112 billion by 2023). Chabot’s will not only increase retail sales, with it will also cause an increase in savings due to the automation of customer sales, customer service, and support processes. “Retailers can expect to cut costs by $439 billion a year in 2023, up from $7 billion this year, as AI-powered chatbots get more sophisticated at responding to customers,” claims Juniper Networks after conducting a study that examines retail brands.

The same study shows that switching to chatbot technology
makes consumers feel more comfortable interacting with chatbots to solve
customer service issues and make direct purchases. The interest in chatbot
experiences from brands in on the rise, and a large number of consumers have
already had a generally positive interaction with chatbots.

What are chatbots?

A chatbot is a computer program that simulates human
conversation through artificial intelligence. Bots are software that performs
an automated task, while chatbots in particular are the class of bots that are
used in online chat platforms or on social media. To understand better what a
chatbot is, it is also useful to know what a chatbot is not:

  • A bot that converses with a human in the way
    another human would converse with a human – this is not possible using the
    current technology. However, Ray Kurzweil, an inventor, futurist, and engineer
    at Google predicts
    that chatbots will reach human-level language ability by 2029 and people will
    be able to have meaningful conversation with AI
  • A robot – a misconception caused by science
    fiction. This probably the reason why most consumers (around 75%) want to know
    whether they are chatting with a chatbot or a human, and 50% of these people
    considered chatbots pretending to be human “creepy”
  • A program communicating only through text or
    voice – there are also bots that use graphical interfaces or graphical widgets,
    and the trend is in this direction.

The concept of conversation is central to a chatbot,
although a chatbot’s capabilities to converse with a human are limited, and end
users should be aware of these limitations.

Chatbot types

According to the Chatbot
, there are three types of chatbots and choosing the one that’s
right for you allows you to get the best results.

  1. Menu or button-based chatbots

They are the simplest type of chatbots and are based on tree
hierarchies presented to users in the form of buttons. They are similar to
phone menus that we use every day and their main disadvantage is that you need
to make several selections to reach the ultimate answer. Also, they are
unsuitable for situations with too many variables or when they need to predict
human behaviour.

  • Keyword recognition-based chatbots

These chatbots use customisable keywords and AI to determine
the right response to the user. Their limitations are obvious when they need to
answer multiple similar questions using the same keywords, but having different

  • Contextual chatbots

They are the most advanced chatbots and use Machine Learning
and Artificial Intelligence to learn and grow by remembering previous
conversations. Contextual chatbots are able to self-improve and will eliminate
unnecessary steps when they’ve already had a conversation with a specific
client. For instance, they can determine the most common food order for a
client and ask them if they want to order the same again.

Chatbot benefits

An obvious fact of doing business is to keep overhead lower
and profits higher. Smart entrepreneurs will utilise all the tools that can
make this happen, and one of them is represented by chatbots. Let’s see exactly
how chatbots are beneficial for your business:

  • Saving time

Most questions that customers ask can receive an automated
answer from a computer program. It’s a win-win situation: customers don’t have
to wait hours or days to receive a response, and employees can concentrate on
other tasks that require more complex problem-solving skills instead of
informing 10 customers a day on something as simple as the return policy of
your company. Costs decrease and at the same time your business is able to
serve a larger number of people all at one time.

  • Saving money

Instead of hiring more workers to handle customer support,
you can try chatbot use, which is cheaper. Costs vary from 2K to 10K, depending
on chatbot complexity. It’s an investment, and once you start using chatbots,
you will save money in the long run.

  • Improving customer support

Chatbots can provide greater customer satisfaction than
humans as they are always available and don’t get fatigued completing
repetitive tasks. The answer provided by your chatbot can even be just the
thing that completes a sale and thus, increases your business profits.

  • Increasing customer retention

Customers are increasingly demanding these days, and a
frustrated person that doesn’t get a quick answer may leave the website and
never return. Chatbots eliminate this scenario and please even the most anxious
and short-attention span consumers.

  • Reducing errors

Employees are well… humans, and humans are prone to making
errors. Common mistakes that humans can
make include transposing numbers and, and forgetting small other things.
Chatbots, on the other hand, will always give the right answers and prevent
complicated customer service issues that require a lot of time and efforts to

  • No bad attitude

Aside from making errors, humans also have a problem taking
things personal. An employee who’s had a bad day at work may provide an angry
response to a customer, turning them away. Chatbots never get angry, no matter
how difficult the customer is, and can even be programmed to have a bit of humour
and seem more humanlike, making people to feel more at ease and releasing

  • Handling multiple requests at the same time

A human can really concentrate on one task at a time and can
juggle between 3-4 tasks by switching their attention from one to another. If
the number of tasks you concentrate on is higher than 4, then you are very
likely to make errors. Chatbots, on the other hand, can simultaneously have
conversations with thousands of people. Every single person will be answered
instantly, something that would be impossible by relying on humans only.

  • Adapting chatbot capabilities to your needs

If all you need is a chatbot to inform your customers on
simple things like delivery details for a product purchased online, you don’t
need to spend money on an elaborate chatbot with amazing AI capabilities. In
this case, you need a chatbot based on clickable menu buttons or with simple
keyword recognition. Chabots have excellent ROI (return on investment) as long
as you choose the right one.

  • Automating repetitive work

Doing the same work again and again is boring and tiresome, and can cause errors. Slack bots that automate repetitive tasks help people save time and increase productivity. And they don’t complain about their work not being meaningful either.

Chatbots are a must for your marketing if you want to rank
highly in your sector. The advantages of using chatbots when you have a large
number of customers to handle are too high to be ignored: responding up to
thousands of requests at the same time, reducing costs associated with
employment, being available 24/7, eliminating human emotions that can have a
negative effect on customer interaction, eliminating errors, and ensuring 100%
customer satisfaction. 2019 is the moment to invest in this cutting-edge
solution for your business and take your marketing and customer support to the
next level!

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