Guide to chatbots for business

chatbots para empresas
Table of Contents
If you haven't integrated chatbots into your digital marketing strategy yet, you're a little late. At least 40% of companies with more than 500 employees have integrated chatbots or will do so this year.

This is one of the strongest trends of the coming years. According to research by Business Insider, more than 800 companies in Europe will incorporate chatbots by 2020.

This is our guide to understanding the use of AI-enabled chatbots in business as a way to reduce acquisition costs, improve ROI and gain a competitive advantage.

Chatbots are everywhere

Chatbots, virtual assistants, virtual agents, or simply bots are impacting the way we live and interact with technology.

By 2021, 85% of customer interactions will be handled by a machine and chatbots will be the most effective way for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Chatbots are the present and future of customer service. Today, customers expect businesses to be ready to respond to their concerns almost immediately.

This guide has the information you need to choose an intelligent chatbot to deliver a personalised customer experience, reduce operational costs and gain a strategic competitive advantage.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a computer program or “software” that mimics human-to-human conversation through the use of artificial intelligence. Chatbots can be functional or fun, and can be developed for the purpose of answering questions and performing specific actions such as helping you reset a password.

  • Chatbots can be integrated into any major chat platform such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, Kik or any mobile and web application helping customers.
  • Conversational interfaces such as chatbots are considered the future of customer interaction.
  • Chatbots for businesses offer a convenient and interactive way to connect with customers through the online channel and give them an experience similar to chatting with a live agent at any time of the day.
  • Chatbots scale in ways that human teams can’t, helping your business interact with more customers more efficiently.
  • They can also significantly extend the reach of your brand and your customer service teams.
  • Available 24/7/365, chatbots help enhance your online presence and enable direct customer engagement across all communication channels.

Regardless of the industry, customers want to feel heard. Chatbots increase the ability of human staff to meet their expectations efficiently and cost-effectively.

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Types of chatbots for business

The use of a chatbot is largely limited by your own creativity and business needs. Companies in various industries have implemented chatbots and are achieving positive business results.

  1. Entertainment:

Ticketmaster’s web chat widget offers 24/7 online support for customers to simplify and speed up online shopping.

  1. Retail:

H&M’s chatbot offers online shoppers personalised style advice and outfit combinations. It’s also transactional, so customers can use it to complete their purchases

  1. Travel:

Dutch airline KLM developed a chatbot that uses Facebook Messenger to send passengers booking confirmations, flight notifications, and even their plane tickets.

  1. Finance:

Bitcoin marketplace Xapo has a chatbot to help educate consumers about Bitcoin, answer questions about a customer’s account, purchases, or how to execute a purchase.

  1. Banking:

Kasisto’s MyKai chatbot uses apps like Facebook Messenger and Slack to provide bank customers with an easier way to manage their money.

  1. Food service:

Taco Bell’s Tacobot allows customers to view the restaurant’s menu and place an order for pick-up via Slack.

Why does my business need a chatbot?

The business landscape is evolving rapidly, and technologies such as chatbots are essential to remain competitive. Customers are increasingly demanding and want you to offer them an intuitive and seamless user experience.

The number of customer contact channels is multiplying, customers want immediate answers to their questions. Many prefer social media and mobile platforms for communication and expect businesses to be online when they need them.

As a result, businesses across industries, verticals, and geographies are increasingly challenged to replicate an experience across multiple channels.

More than 85% of consumers have used a help channel with a product or service, and more than 40% expect a response in an hour or less.

Add to this the fact that 60% of consumers change their method of contact depending on where they are and what they are doing, this requires businesses to be more agile and flexible in their customer communications.

Some insights about your customers

  • 85% use the online channel to resolve their queries.
  • 60% switch channels based on location and device.
  • More than 40% expect a response in less than an hour.

Having customer service agents to satisfy all demands presents an unsustainable situation for even the largest companies. This necessitates the need for innovative and automated solutions to help manage the increasing volumes of requests received every day.

Businesses need to get their knowledge bases and help portals up and running, making it easier for customers to find answers, regardless of device or channel.

Many businesses have information, including customer account histories, product specifications, and other essential data, stored in silos in various systems and platforms.

Mobilising this data and making it available anytime, anywhere is one of the biggest obstacles to delivering a fully optimised channel for customer support and self-service.

chatbot empresa

​​Problem 1: Customers expect more

  • Customers expect companies to do more to help them, they don’t want to wait for you to have an agent available and they won’t wait for email responses. They will take their business elsewhere.
  • 40% of customers can’t find information about a product or service online.
  • 90% expect companies to provide some form of self-service. More than $41 billion is lost by U.S. businesses each year due to poor customer service.
  • 80% of current customer service operations will not meet the needs of future businesses.

Problem 2 : Abandoned shopping carts = lost sales

  • Companies are losing a lot of money on opportunities that are generated on their own websites.
  • Over 4 billion euros in sales will be abandoned in shopping carts this year and 63% of that is potentially recoverable.
  • 78% of online shopping carts were abandoned in the six months to January 2017.
  • 27% of people abandon their cart because the checkout is too complicated.
  • Providing even small automated suggestions and support can significantly reduce friction, abandonment and Churn Rate.

How to empower my business with chatbots?

Customers expect to be able to get the support they need when they need it.

At this point, chatbots won’t completely replace human agents. But when built with the right platform, they can help offload some of the most repetitive questions that support teams solve every day.

This platform should include robust integration with your knowledge base and natural language processing (NLP) capabilities to understand the meaning of entire sentences. Ideally, the platform should also include real-time analytics to optimise future results.

Enterprise-class chatbots can help reduce support tickets by up to 90%.

They can also be programmed to provide helpdesk and contact centre support so that staff can prioritise and deal with complex tasks that are not answered in your business FAQs.

The advantages of chatbots for your business

Chatbots have multiple applications across the enterprise.

Look for: Chatbots can leverage semantic technologies and natural language processing to help customers locate the information they are looking for, faster. To do this, your bot needs to be able to understand the meaning behind what is typed or said, not just the individual words.

Self-service: A well-designed chatbot can go beyond semantics, searching for and helping customers execute simple transactions such as resetting a password, requesting time off work, booking flights or ordering a pizza. All of this can be achieved without taking up call centre staff time.

Multi-platform support: In a call centre you have a limited number of people and they can use a limited number of tools at the same time. A well-designed enterprise chatbot can help multiple customers on different platforms, including Facebook chat, and will be able to successfully serve the customer or refer them to the human agent who is available.

Five steps to take before choosing your chatbot

  1. Do your research. AI may seem like the solution to all your customer service worries, and it can be, but you need to invest time and resources to optimise it. Familiarise yourself with natural language processing and FAQ optimisation.
  2. Figure out what you want your bot to do. Create a list of potential suppliers who have experience in the field and can provide the services you need. Find innovative and trusted partners whose technology is flexible and who can demonstrate a range of AI and NLP-related services. Also look for a proven track record of implementations in different industries.
  3. Try before you buy! Schedule a live demo and get someone to walk you through some live customer interfaces so you can see in real time how other businesses are using the technology.
  4. Ask all your questions, the only bad question is the question that doesn’t get asked. Dive deeper and really find out what capabilities or functionalities suit your business needs, such as machine learning vs. assisted learning capabilities or multi-language adaptability.
  5. Plan for the future: Don’t just talk about what your chatbot can do for you today, but what it will be able to do in the future. Ask salespeople to brainstorm about possible future applications for your business and your customers. Exposing your team to the potential and possibilities of AI-enabled business chatbots can be the most effective way to sell their benefits within your business and to your customers.

1-to-1 experience: giving your chatbot personality

Creating a chatbot is an exciting development for many businesses that want to capitalise on emerging technologies, improve their customer experience and gain a significant competitive advantage. But in order to really make a big impact on your business, especially for your customers, your bot must emulate a real person with natural interactions.

Give your chatbot personality by enabling free-form conversational capabilities using Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML) and web forms to extend the reach and utility of your existing lexicon database.

AIML is the foundational language for an intelligent chatbot, enabling natural language processing based on Meaning-Text Theory (MTT) linguistic modelling to understand what customers are communicating.

You can add to the experience by building an avatar, a visual representation of a chatbot or virtual agent, for further interaction. Avatars can be created from scratch, or from a menu of pre-built avatars to speed up the process.

Make users feel like they are chatting with someone by adapting your avatar’s gestures, appearance, tone of voice or accent (if voice is enabled). Dress up your avatar to better represent your brand and, more importantly, to better reflect your audience.

Chatbots should evolve with the needs of your users and your business. Use back office analytics to identify gaps in your knowledge base, assess search query trends in real time, and optimise content for relevance and accuracy so your customers can find what they are looking for.

Key considerations when building a chatbot

  • Leverage a platform that uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to help your chatbot understand your customers.
  • If you plan to build a chatbot from scratch, choose a partner with appropriate programming experience and a proven track record.
  • Enable entity detection to locate, identify, categorise and analyse keywords and phrases in a conversation with a customer.
  • Set up chatbots that can handle transactions such as password resets, balance transfers and online bookings.
  • Connect your chatbot with your entire business technology stack – CRM, ERP, CMS and other business-critical applications.
  • Save time by working with a provider that has years of experience and understands your needs and those of your customers.

Conclusion: Chatbots are worth investing in

It is estimated that by 2021, 80% of businesses will be using chatbots. Businesses large and small, across all sectors and markets, should consider getting ahead of the curve and using chatbots now to take advantage of opportunities in the near future.

Building a chatbot for business means investing in improving technology, maximising integrations with various business systems, and designing an engaging and interactive interface for your customers. All of these things can take time and money that many organisations feel they don’t have. But an investment now means a greater potential return on investment in the medium term.

How your business uses a chatbot will be limited only by your own creativity and with chatbots set to generate over €600 billion in revenue by 2020, few businesses can afford to wait.

What should I do now?

If you have more questions and want to know how we work, contact us and one of our consultants will contact you for advice.

For further information on this and many other topics you can check out other articles in our blog where you will find references on this, and many more topics.

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