Is My Company Ready to Implement a Chatbot?

53% of service organizations are expected to use chatbots within the next 18 months

Chatbots are gaining popularity in the business world because of their versatility in meeting a wide variety business needs, and the efficiency with which they perform their tasks. Some companies, however, still questions whether they should use this tool, and how to take full advantage of their potential.

There are critical factors to consider before implementing a chatbot to maximize its potential for success.

"Some years ago, the functions of chatbots were very basic. They only reacted to specific commands and their responses were limited. Today, chatbots work with Artificial Intelligence and interact with customers without errors or omissions and can respond to hundreds or even thousands of requests at the same time. They also clarify consumers' queries, make suggestions, finalize transactions, and attract new customers. What’s more, they do this while providing a friendly, instantaneous and satisfying experience for the user. “Chatbots are a company’s greatest ally," explains Gustavo Parés, CEO of NDS Cognitive Labs, a software development and technical talent company. “It’s like having your best salesperson on the sales floor 24/7.”

"As new technologies take hold, customer expectations are growing rapidly. Customers demand real-time interactions, which is exactly what chatbots deliver," said Salesforce, a provider of sales software, in a recent “Key Chatbots Statistics report.

The same study indicates that 86% of customers would choose to get answers from a chatbot over filling out a form on a website. In addition, 77% said that chatbots will transform their expectations of companies in the next five years. As for the benefits to companies, 53% of service organizations are expected to use chatbots within the next 18 months.

NDS Cognitive Labs points out some core considerations before implementing a chatbot:

Analyze your sales channels. Due to the pandemic, many companies had to modify their strategy and opt for online sales. It appears that this channel will become the most effective option for both customers and businesses going forward. It doesn't matter if your company is B2B or B2C, whether your digital sales channel is strong or weak, a chatbot will improve results.

Evaluate the accessibility of your products. Browsing a website can be tedious or complicated, which can cause customers to seek better solutions from your competitors. No matter the day or time, chatbots help customers find what they are looking for without difficulty and without wasting time.

Listen to complaints. Before embarking on your chatbot journey, gather and analyze complaints and suggestions from your customers and identify how you received them. This information will help you program the chatbot so that its responses can answer questions before users even know they have them.

Talk to your customer service and sales team. Find out what are your customers' main inquiries and the number of calls you receive before, during and after hours. If there are too many inquiries waiting to be answered, or if you don’t have personnel available 24/7, you could lose sales. If your team can’t handle all the calls you receive, whether due to tight scheduling or high demand, a chatbot will do it efficiently, regardless of the day, time or number of inquiries.

It is safe to say that every company that has an online presence should use a chatbot. Implementing them, however, depends on being very clear about their purpose and objectives. In other words, identify what you hope they’ll improve and where their use will lead to new and better business. Here are a few more recommendations:

  • Define the aspect of your business that needs a chatbot most. Regardless of whether your business is B2B or B2C, keep in mind that the chatbot will solve specific problems and opportunities. Clear objectives will help you streamline the implementation process, avoid delays and save time, effort and money.
  • Define your customers and their needs. Understand your customers, their needs, doubts, preferences, age, gender and even their language.
  • Define objectives. Establish priorities for the business and talk to your marketing, sales and customer experience teams to define KPIs based on real needs.
  • Prioritize. Even though a chatbot has multiple utilities, you must prioritize to address specific tasks that guarantee success. It is possible to have more than one objective as long as they are clear and well defined.
  • Define the chatbot's personality. You can get involved in the creative process of the virtual assistant by thinking about what kind of personality it should have (based on previous analyses and your brand strategy). Focus on things like language type (formal or casual), conversation flows, functionality and customer profile.

With all of the above in mind, your company is ready to use a chatbot. Today, the market offers a wide variety of chatbots for every budget which makes them a very affordable and useful investment.

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