We all know the importance of customer service. If the people who buy into your company are dissatisfied with the level of service they receive they probably won’t even tell you- you’ll just never hear from them again. And you can bet your bottom dollar that if they’re really peeved, they’ll tell other people about it- even more bad news for your business.

It’s essential to respond to customer enquiries and complaints quickly, but how do you manage that when you’re already juggling a million different tasks and don’t have a dedicated customer service department? The answer for many modern businesses is chatbots.

Now, firstly it’s important to say that a chatbot can never really replace a proper conversation with a living, breathing human being. However, artificial intelligence technology has become so advanced over recent years that it’s now possible for them to be a very close second. With a good chatbot system you have the ability to respond to customers’ immediately- 24/7, 365 days a year. Often, simply acknowledging a comment or complaint goes a long way towards appeasing an unhappy customer and can mean the difference between them returning to your brand and looking elsewhere.

And if you’re short on resources, they can also significantly cut labor costs.  According to a report by BI Intelligence, bots can slash customer service expenditure by as much as 30%- that’s a huge saving that can be better used on other important business tasks.

Bots work particularly well with sale, return and exchange scenarios. Because they’re pre-designed to recognize particular words and order numbers they can handle simple transactions like this quickly and easily. Their simple navigation options make it easier for customers to find a fast resolution, which again greatly improves your chances of a repeat sale.

If you are going to take the plunge, here are a few do’s and don’ts you should bear in mind.

DO:

Offer an online payment facility

The ability to make online payments is perfect for quick and seamless sales transactions- chatbots can usually complete the whole process in just a few clicks.

Be precise

You absolutely must be sure that the bot’s functionalities work around you and your customers, not the other way around. The key to success is in the programming, so it’s essential that the user experience is a good, straightforward one that makes total sense throughout.

Use data to analyze results

Chatbots can map customer behavior like purchase patterns, engagement and customer satisfaction. Taking full advantage of this intelligence can give you valuable insights that can only serve to boost your business long term.

Add a human element

People buy from people, not computers, so it’s important that you keep a human touch.  Adding the customer’s name into the bot’s greetings will make the whole experience more friendly and realistic.

DON’T:

Over complicate things.

The whole point of using a chatbot is to provide a fast, efficient and easy to understand alternative to an actual customer service representative. If you offer too many functions you’ll almost certainly compromise performance, so keep it simple.

Overdo the contact

Nobody likes to be spammed with messages, so if you do use a chatbot take care not to go over the top with your marketing. A good bot will respond to your customers’ enquiries, not bombard them with messages they’ll end up blocking out.

To find out more about how your business can use customer service more effectively, contact Ethos today.

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