How Do Chatbots Work? A Guide for Businesses

Chatbots lurk everywhere. The robots really are taking over! If you’ve used FB Messenger, Slack, Skype, or WhatsApp, you’ve interacted with them.

How do chatbots work? By relying on machine learning, artificial intelligence, and human interactions to create a conversational experience.

These chatbots deal with a specific problem: customer frustration. Often, customer service is an oxymoron. Instead, customers are left to struggle through endless hours on hold, painful elevator music, and no answers to their questions.

Customer service fall-throughs are why buyers abandon sales funnels. With the implementation of chatbots for businesses, you’ll be able to patch holes in the sales funnel, increase customer satisfaction, save manhours, and increase revenue.

How Do Chatbots Work?

How chatbots work seems like a robot mystery. Fortunately, it’s pretty simple! Business chatbots are crafted to perform automated tasks.

What are chatbots? A chatbot is just a computer program. They’re made to be embedded into websites and respond to information-seeking users.

To make it as easy as possible for users, chatbots rely on a tennis-volley interaction style. It’s like texting your best friend! The software is programmed to combine machine learning and reestablished scripts to provide answers.

Picture this. You want to schedule an appointment. You go onto your dentist’s website and start interacting with the chatbot. It’s just like interacting with an online customer service rep, with no pesky wait times or human error.

You say you want an appointment. The chatbot rifles through its programming and extensions, and tells you the appointment times that are available.

You select one and the chatbot asks what doctor you’d like to see. Then, the chatbot collects your information in return.

Will It Understand Me?

This basic interaction is highly automated and is the product of machine learning and the knowledge built into the software so that the chatbot knows what doctors are available and what empty slots exist on the calendar.

This saves so much time. You won’t have to get on hold and can do other things while waiting for the chatbot’s response. Better yet, most chatbot responses are instantaneous, which is a major timesaver.

If a business chatbot can’t understand your request, there’s usually a fallback. It may ask you to select from pre-provided options, rather than typing in your own. It’s possible the chatbot isn’t developed enough yet to understand normal nuanced human speech.

Or, it may ask if you’d like to speak to a live representative. This will place you in the ‘normal’ funnel of speaking with a human being.

The Benefits of Chatbots

Sometimes, customer service can feel like talking to your least favorite aunt at Thanksgiving.

Eventually, it’s a broken record, even if that’s what the customer service team is for! However, many requests repeat themselves.

What are your hours? What’s your address? Is this dress out of stock?

A chatbot could be answering these questions. This will save your actual customer service team a lot of time and frustration!

In today’s world, people often don’t want to interact with others. Everyone has a customer service horror story, and no one wants to waste their time.

We live in the information age, and customers prefer answers that are as quick as Googling something.

However, when it comes to human employees, that’s impossible. They take coffee breaks, weekends, and have personal emergencies. Fortunately, chatbots can help even if someone’s shopping for a new dress at 2 AM.

One of the benefits of chatbots, then, is saving time and providing around-the-clock support.

Saving the Sales Funnel

It also brings your business into the 21st century. If you’re trying to promote a modern, technology-first brand, then chatbots will help do that for you. With intelligent design and nuanced machine learning, your customer service will be a step ahead of the pack.

Another benefit is immediate sales. Abandoned carts cause a significant percentage of lost revenue. And unless someone is wildly in love with their product, minor inconveniences can prevent sales.

They’ll walk away from their computer, casually exit out of the tab, and never come back. If you can answer their question before they jump ship—does this dress come in an XL size, or in plum color, for instance—congratulations! You’ve kept them in the sales funnel.

Another advantage is being able to gather insights about your customers. This translates to real-time feedback on your site content, design, the products themselves, and how people are interacting with each of these elements. Information gathering tools like MailingBoss help generate leads easily.

Customer service teams can do this as well, of course. Since they’ve got a finger on the pulse of customers, they can give feedback.

But what they can’t do is automatically calculate numbers and give data for each interaction they’ve had. For instance, 76% of customers want to know what the store’s location is.

That’s a huge indicator that you should put the address of your brick-and-mortar location in the footer of your site, or on a Contact Us page.

That type of data is invaluable because it allows you to course-correct. When customers see that they’re being heard, they’ll trust your brand even more.

Another of the benefits of chatbots is that they’re emotionless. (This can be a disadvantage, too, depending on how the conversation is going!) If a customer is rude, the chatbot won’t be affected.

If you work in a difficult industry where emotions often run high, this can be a big plus. It can lower the turnover rate for customer service representatives and can help ameliorate the conversation.

Using Business Chatbots

How do chatbots work? By making you money. With every manhour they save, with every frustrated customer they redeem, they’re making your business work for you.

However, savvy chatbot integrations can make your experience even better. From gathering emails for your newsletter to generating leads, the right tools help you knock your performance out of the park. See what MailingBoss can do for you today!

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