Nearly every company today is utilizing automation to reach more customers as efficiently as possible. Workplace automation is gaining momentum because it reduces costs and helps teams respond to customers faster. Automation with chatbots in particular is predicted to save businesses nearly $8 billion in 2022 alone. That is huge!

What is a Chatbot?

A chatbot is a program used to interact with customers automatically based on predefined conditions. Although some advanced bots use artificial intelligence to understand and react, the majority of chatbots today still rely on a set of rules programmed by a human. Usually, these rules are programmed using if-then statements that are then aligned with pre-written responses.

Advantages of using Chatbots:

  • Consistent responses every time
  • Quick responses
  • Cost-effective
  • Convenience
  • Collects more data
  • Can be accessed on-the-go using mobile service
  • Little to no development costs

Do consumers want more chatbots?

Before a company decides to use a chatbot, there is one important question to ask: do consumers really want more chatbots? The short answer is yes. Based on a recent study, companies found that 87% of users rated their chatbot experience between neutral to positive. Although consumers still prefer to talk to a representative, when it’s outside of business hours or when agents are bombarded with other tasks, chatbots can act as a solid stand-in.

This is because chatbots are available 24/7 and can offer quick responses. When properly configured, they can be easily customized to address the user’s issues. In fact, studies predict that by the end of 2021 over 50% of large enterprise companies will most likely spend more on implementing chatbots each year than mobile apps. As the technology gets smarter and the AI functions grow out of their infancy, chatbots’ ability to help consumers will only grow. This makes them an essential ingredient to a future-focused inbound marketing mix.

Just how “smart” are they?

Chatbots are as smart as you make them! Their workflows can be as simple or complex as you desire. It all depends on how many if/then branches you want to utilize and for what purpose. Many businesses today utilize chatbots to engage through their website. The bots can gather information and route requests for human agents to follow up on. By enabling chatbots, businesses never miss an opportunity to engage with a potential customer. Chatbots can do the following tasks:

  • Send a message
  • Ask a question
  • Book a meeting
  • Help you collect data
  • Personalize customer experience
  • Submit a ticket
  • Direct a specific question to a specific team member

Whether using chatbots for B2B or B2C purposes, their use can make experiences more convenient for customers.

7 creative ways to use chatbots

The power of chatbots isn’t limited to a website conversation. Many businesses today are finding creative ways to use chatbots to further engage and delight customers. Here are a few examples from across industries.

#1 Retail

If you had absolutely no idea what to make for dinner, instead of roaming around Whole Foods, you may decide to ask their chatbot to search for recipes. With a few comments, or even by chatting an emoji, Whole Foods’ chatbot would search the knowledgebase to gather all the recipes that include the individual item you indicated, thereby helping you curate your list of new recipes to try!

#2 Healthcare

Let’s say that you wake one morning and you really don’t feel well. You decide to call you primary physician’s office, however, they do not have any appointments to accommodate your schedule. You just need quick answers. Healthtap implemented a bot to help patients ask questions and quickly find out what they need to do to feel better. The bot uses specific knowledge lookups to answer questions, providing recommendations to help patients feel their best.

#3 Media & Entertainment

Disney gives its audiences many wonderful, magical experiences. In recent years, they implemented a clever chatbot to further engage fans. In the 2016 movie Zootopia, Lieutenant Judy Hopps investigated an endless number of crimes, making her one of our favorite characters! Through Facebook Messenger, Disney gave users the abilty to speak to Lieutenant Hopps and help her solve crimes. Many fans engaged with the conversational bot, returning eagerly ask for more clues to help her solve more cases. This complex bot was used to provide an enjoyable Disney experience, right from users own homes. 

#4 Fashion & Beauty

Shopping for makeup, skincare, or even fragences online can be difficult, but with Sephora’s virtual artist bot, clients have the option of recieving expert advice without ever having to leave home. Sephora created a bot using Kik, a popular app among teens in the U.S. The bot provides personalized product recommedations. Users are asked a number of questions about products, their skin type, and what they are looking for, and the virtual artist provides a list of items that are targeted to the indiviudal client.

#5 Travel

Traveling is stressful as is, but what if there was a better way to help book your next vacation without having to hire a travel agency? Snap Travel created a bot that helps travelers book flight and hotel reservations. Within each conversation with the bot, travelers can ask specific questions such as “ When is the best time to travel?” or “Give me the best deal”. The bot uses AI to search all criteria, thereby serving up the best deal without the users ever having to leave the Facebook bot to find it.

#6 Insurance

Choosing your insurance can be confusing. It is important to be sure you are not only getting the best service, but at the best price. Insurify implemented a Facebook bot powered by natural language processing and machine learning to give users the capability to ask as many questions as they like. The bot gives users the ability to share key information about what they are looking for, and the virtual agent then compares insurance policies and quotes, and makes recommendations to fit the individual’s needs.

#7 Financial Services

Wells Fargo recently implemented a ‘banking assistant’ that took the industry by surprise. The company used an AI powered bot connected to Facebook to deliever specific, individual answers. Users could ask the bot questions like, “What was my most recent transaction?” or “How much did I spend on food last week?”. This bot was also available through Facebook Messenter, making it easily accessible anywhere the customer went, 24/7. 

In the end, a chatbot is used to make your life easier. Setting up a chatbot for your business purposes can help you reach a large number of customers, at a faster rate, but still provide great service.

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