Does my business need a chatbot?

Does my business need a chatbot?

Does my business need a chatbot? 1500 800 Sip Creatives

chatbot for my businessThe term “bot,” a shortened version of robot is used a lot in tech, and gaming. In the context of business or marketing, the term may first be heard when someone brings up a chatbot.  This specific type of bot responds to a visitor through either your website or a messaging app.

Consider how many apps you have on your mobile device.  Have you ever been annoyed when you have to install a new app to access simple services or navigate a site?  In many cases, it would be preferable and more user friendly to implement a chatbot rather than nudge your customers into installing yet another application that only serves as a unitasker.

According to Acquire, the growth in chatbot use for businesses has exploded from 30,000 websites in 2016 to over 100,000 businesses today.  There is strong supportin business for using chatbots.  What explains this growth, and is a chatbot the right solution for your business?

How does this help me?

A chatbot is an interactive program that you can deliver from your website or other platforms, like your business Facebook page or customer text messages. Some chatbots may work so seamlessly that they are able to accept payments, such as Facebook Messenger integration.  When a consumer begins to interact with the chatbot, the software is capable of delivering answers to common customer questions, sort of like a flowchart. Some chatbots can learn over time. A chatbot provider hosts the software that “learns” to better serve your business but it is possible to build your own!

According to TechCrunch, smartphone users may spend up 84 percent of their time using only 5 apps. This suggests that building a new app for your business may not be an ideal solution.  How many people enjoy downloading a new app for a business they may only visit once or twice a year?  It is possible that a chatbot can deliver a better customer experience.  A chatbot can integrate into your social media presence.

A business owner can save money using a chatbot by reducing the level of customer or support services.  As described in Chatbots Magazine, cost savings can rise as high as 30 percent.

Risks of using a chatbot for my business?

Experts in testing website usability have determined that visitors to websites usually spend between 10-20 seconds on a website.  Chatbots are often deployed to engage a potential customer.  The chatbot may be useful in guiding a customer to specific parts a webpage or resolving a checkout.

The cost for paying a provider to set up and host a chatbot for your business can vary from $2000 up to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your business and the demands placed on the bot.

It is thought that one risks alienating your patrons by deploying a chatbot for customer service.  However, as explained by Business Insider, the number of US customers that would actually prefer to interact with a chatbot is increasing.

How do I get started?

The most basic question a business own must ask is this: Will I be building my own chatbot or hiring a chatbot service.

You can also pay a service to setup and maintain your chatbot for business. Remember when Watson won Jeopardy!? You have the option of outsourcing your chatbot solution to a third party:

Build-a-robot

If you or someone you know or employ feel comfortable deploying your own chatbot, there are many resources available to you online.  Some examples include:

How to develop a chatbot from scratch
How to build a chatbot from scratch
Botsify
Free Code Camp: You don’t need a chatbot creation tools

So, is a chatbot right for you and your business?

A lot of evidence suggests that hiring a chatbot will improve customer engagement and reduce operational costs. If a business owner is willing to either spend money on a third-party or the time building their own chatbot, this technology presents exciting opportunities.