The very word may conjure up fearful images of microscopic gremlins running amok inside our devices, executing their nefarious schemes in a brazen attempt to imitate – or dominate – the digital world we live in.
And that’s only the beginning.
Bots learn. They adapt. If not kept in check, they could end up becoming self-aware, and the next thing we know, we have a real-life Skynet on our hands!
Okay, before we succumb to that level of nincompoopery, what if we told you there are in fact some good bots out there? What if there were bots that are helpful to humanity and serve a beneficial purpose? There are.
Bots get a bad rap largely due to spam; no, not the canned meat-ish substance, but rather all those “Scam Likely” phone calls everyone gets, or the random drivel-filled rhetoric you may see “people” post on social media. And then of course there’s the gibberish and sometimes dangerous emails that fill our junk/spam folders.
Spambots are like the Wicked Witch of the digital realm. But for every one of those, there is a Glinda.
One of the most useful – and safe – bots in existence are of the chat variety. This is a software application a business installs on their website or app designed to help prospects and customers have a stronger user experience, as DeanHouston+’s Vice President of Digital Innovation, Colton Stombaugh, points out.
“When done well, a chatbot’s job is to make for a better human experience – and isn’t that what we’re all after?” he said. “Users can get straight to the self-serve content they need faster than before, especially on mobile, and quickly signal when they want to talk to a human.”
Chatbots engage with visitors on a website, triggered by search keywords or queries, to answer common questions and/or direct people to certain areas for assistance. They also resolve problems for customers (often related to billing or service) and provide human staff with important details on the customer’s account, purchase history, and main concerns. This allows for customized, relevant, and timely messages focused on the individual.
“Internal service and support teams see reduced volumes of minor requests and better initial intel on major inquiries,” Stombaugh says.
The Value of the Chatbot
In addition to serving as a main customer touchpoint, chatbots prove their value in several key areas.
Lead Generation and Nurturing – Users’ conversations with chatbots reveal insights for their intent. These are important data points for gathering and sorting leads, analyzing audience demographics, and tailoring messages.
24/7 Support – For businesses that don’t have traditional round-the-clock support, chatbots can serve that function by providing quick and simple answers to questions, obtain information, or notify users when to reach back out for resolution of their concerns.
Time Saving – Companies can save resources by automating basic tasks such as inbound communication volume. This strategy, depending on the amount of conversation, can free up staff to focus on proactive customer tasks and take over from the chatbot dialogue as needed.
These are just a few ways that chatbots are helpful in maintaining a logical and helpful flow of communication with your leads and customers. So don’t let the name scare you. Not all bots are bad.
“The net is streamlined customer experiences and optimized use of both sales and service resources,” Stombaugh continues. “In the words of Michael Gary Scott, ‘it’s a win, win, win.’”
If you’re still not sure about the value of this application or how it can help improve your business’s communication and lead generation efforts, reach out to us with questions – we’ll be glad to help.