Chatbots. You know what they are. You know that they’re growing increasingly popular as a tool for businesses. You know they’re useful. But just how useful are they?
Chatbots can handle many different areas for businesses, from supporting customers with FAQs, to streamlining the transaction process. In fact, as their popularity waxes, chatbots are infusing more and more of our processes. With artificial intelligence making them ever smarter, chatbot use cases are set to grow even more extensive.
But what uses can they cover now?
Chatbots can act as an alternative channel for helping customers with FAQs. Using a chatbot as an FAQ assistant means that customers can ask their question to a bot and receive their answer as a friendly message — right there on the spot.
Creating an FAQ chatbot takes more than transplanting your FAQ materials into a chat interface. You need to make sure the bot can deliver a truly conversational experience. That means maintaining context for follow-up questions and being ready to escalate to an agent if the question is not in your knowledge base.
Having an effective FAQ assistant chatbot would mean that customers can get quick answers to simple questions when conducting self-service. The chatbot can also provide a link to the relevant FAQ content if the customer needs or wants to explore further.
This brings us to another type of chatbot use: the navigational bot. A navigational chatbot uses a conversational interface to help visitors locate the content relevant to them. So, it might link to a useful web page, blog article or resource if a visitor requests specific information.
A navigational chatbot can also direct website visitors to the products most relevant to them. For instance, a visitor tells the bot they’re looking for blue ladies’ shoes in size 6. The navigational bot can find all products that match the request and provide a direct portal to that content.
Improving content findability this way means that the customer has a shorter and more streamlined journey from brand discovery to purchasing. Plus, unlike your navigation menus, a chatbot can adopt changing themes and messages. It could give seasonal greetings or mention an active sale, for example.
Lead generation and retention bots
Chatbots are also useful tools when it comes to lead generation. A chatbot can integrate with most lead generation strategies, from social media to your content marketing. This makes your brand more accessible, as your chatbot can cross channels to meet customers where they are.
Lead generation bots engage prospects with conversation and maintain contact with useful answers and information. So, the lead is kept entertained on a platform they regularly visit, all while being immersed in your brand.
A chatbot can reach out to anyone that’s expressed an interest in your services. Take a lead or old customer that hasn’t been active in a while, for example. A chatbot could automatically send an update or sale alert based on their past preferences, to entice them back to your brand.
Transactional bots are a bit different from the other chatbots on this list. Transactional bots focus on doing one thing really well, but can’t understand unrelated queries or provide information.
This isn’t to say transactional bots are stupid. They aren’t the answering machines of old, forcing users to follow a predefined conversational path. Rather, transactional bots simplify the user experience by providing a quick, convenient channel for one specific purpose.
Transactional bots allow customers to make a transaction within the context of a conversation. This is particularly powerful for repeat purchases or actions. (A good example is Domino’s use of a transactional bot, allowing customers to order their favorite pizza with an emoji.)
So, rather than completing several steps to place an order or make a payment, for example, customers can ask the chatbot to do it for them.
Internal assistant chatbots
Finally, chatbot use cases aren’t restricted to your customers alone. You can use them as assistants for your team as well. Chatbot assistants can help team members get quick answers without disturbing their colleagues with menial questions.
For example, an internal assistant chatbot could help with project management. A team member with a question about deadlines or pending tasks could quickly ask a bot. (Provided it’s been fed this information in advance.)
Likewise, a chatbot could answer common onboarding questions for new employees to save everyone time and effort.
Chatbots are useful in many ways, from customer service to marketing to boosting employee productivity.
As chatbots improve alongside artificial intelligence, more uses could become apparent. For now, there are plenty of ways for businesses to benefit from the technology.