The Pro’s and Con’s of Chatbots on your e-commerce website
The dawn of Artificial Intelligence is up on us and we can choose to embrace it to make our lives easier, dealing with customers cheaper and run our businesses more efficiently, or not.
Like it or not, AI is all around us, giving us advice on where to drive to avoid traffic, recommending restaurants in our area, and even finishing our search requests in our favorite search engine. Computers have been assisting our lives without us even knowing it.
But now, with business, it has come to the fore, as we can start to use machine learning and predictive behavior to make our business more profitable, and if you speak to the accountants, that is the ultimate aim, right?
Every business in the world has a website where they are either showcasing their products or transacting through. Either way, their customers have a contact point in which to engage with them.
Every company should be asking what the interaction they want to portray for their customers and how using technology can assist with this?
Benefits of using a chatbot on your website
Save time: One of the main benefits is a massive time saver for both the customer and customer service team that would normally engage with that customer via an email or a call center.
Most questions can have automated answers to them, which would exclude any human interaction from the company’s side. These frequently asked questions are often also on the company website in some shape or form, but the chatbot can expand on them specifically.
These speed up responses, as some delays can be hours or days for someone to get back to them on a simple question.
They do take some time to set up initially, and they should be reviewed often, as questions can change depending on product and service offerings.
Customers should have the option to speak to a human at some point if they cannot find the answer to their question.
Save money: Investing in a chatbot is much cheaper than employing more staff as a resource to service clients one on one. Paid chatbots vary in price, but they are far more effective and efficient than hiring a person to do that job.
Improve customer engagement and satisfaction: Your customers have the opportunity to engage with your company on a platform they are already on, so there is no requirement for them to make a call to get a quick answer. Chatbots never sleep, so when customers are researching your product or service at midnight, the chatbot is ready and waiting to assist.
The immediacy of the responses increases customer satisfaction as they are not wasting time on a call waiting for their turn to be helped. If they can get an instant answer, they have a far higher propensity to purchase, thus increasing business profits overall.
Reduce errors: Humans, unfortunately, make mistakes, which is circumvented with the use of chatbots, who can’t forget things or make bad jokes; they will always give the right answers, which makes them a great asset to the business.
You decide on the tone of the message: Some companies want their chatbots to be formal and respectful, whilst other companies want to include a persona or humor in their responses. Whatever your choice, the tone and mannerisms are consistent every day, all day. The trick is always to remain relevant and respectful.
Downfalls of a chatbot on your website
Limited responses: Even though you can spend a lot of time setting up the questions and answers, there will always be a customer looking for an answer to a question you have not included or even thought of yet. These can be stored and added to the list of questions to improve the service and lead to frustration.
It is black or white: There is no compromise with a chatbot, and a lack of empathy could result in a customer getting upset thinking they were speaking to a person and not an automated response.
They can’t improvise nor make calculated suggestions to the customer to solve their problem.
It can be clinical: If your business prides itself on being warm and helpful, a chatbot service can come across as quite clinical and stiff in its responses. The lack of human connection can be a disadvantage and leave the customer unsatisfied.
Complex chatbots can become expensive: If you are looking for a complex chatbot, you may need to invest in the higher segment of the cost graph. Some packages charge on usage, so you need to be sure of your needs before you do an initial setup, as this can be time-consuming and costly down the line.
Should you be using a chatbot?
If you are unsure whether a chatbot is right for your business, consider some of these scenarios.
You make online sales: If your business is an eCommerce store, you should definitely be considering a chatbot for your site. It is too time-consuming to have humans answering customer questions, especially if your site is busy. Customers want to engage with the brands they are looking to consume, and they want that to be a two-way conversation.
Chatbots can increase sales and conversions by answering a customer’s question regardless of the time of day or night.
You have a lot of customer engagement: Government portals are probably the best example of companies using chatbots to answer frequently asked questions about documents, requirements, etc. Often their sites are large and complicated to navigate, and their chatbot can do a lot of the heavy lifting.
You need to limit staff engagement: Instead of hiring more call center staff, using chatbots can handle situations far quicker and more efficiently. It can lead to some sensitive conversations as this can replace a human’s job overall, but there are definitive pros to this being a service offering for your business.
Do customers like using chatbots?
More and more customers are becoming familiar with the option of using a chatbot on a site to find out the necessary information.
There have been reports of over 70% of people surveyed have already used a chatbot in the past, and over 50% would prefer to use a chatbot over speaking to a human being. It is not saying much for our desire to communicate with our fellow earthlings. Still, the ease of communication, speed of responses, and the ability to cut the conversation short when you are done can all contribute to the overall preference for chatbots over people.
For many companies, the decision to include a chatbot service as a 24/7 offering is marred by their desire to stay in control of the conversation with the client and only allowing it to be available if there is a human at the other end of the query box. This is short-sighted and very limiting to the opportunities that can benefit the company if the time is invested in doing the initial setup properly.
Our reluctance is to allow machine learning and AI technology to help us better serve the customers and reduce costs in the business while opening up time so that we can focus on building the business and not on the time-consuming elements of customer service queries.