Should you add a Chatbot to your website?


What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a piece of software that can simulate the experience of conversing with a real person on a live chat facility. A good chatbot will provide instant responses to customer service requests in a way that still feels personal to the user but requires no input from staff members.

The first chatbot was created all the way back in 1966 and was named ELIZA. The technology used today isn’t too far removed from this original conception and centres around looking for keywords in the data the user provides and then using a script to help match these keywords with an appropriate response.

How can they improve customer experience?

Chatbots now use advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to provide answers in an efficient and helpful way. They can access databases to find out information about specific products, check parcel tracking data, give you directions to your nearest store, make a booking or direct you to a customer service agent if the query needs human intervention (and much more).

One of the primary reasons chatbots have become increasingly popular is the speed at which they can signpost a user to the information or help they require. Not only can chatbots perform this service faster than a human customer support agent, but they also don’t need to sleep! They can provide support 24/7 and they can respond to many people at once, meaning users no longer have to wait in a queue to have their query addressed. Another benefit is that chatbots will always respond in the way they are programmed to; that includes ensuring the language used is grammatically correct and polite, and also that they cover important messages that need to be explained to the user. Thanks to advances in modern technology, chatbots can even detect changes in the customer's tone of voice, so if it became agitated, they can try to calm the customer down and problem-solve the issue.

When assessing whether a chatbot would be a worthwhile addition to your website, it's important to factor in your customer base, what their expectations are, and the sort of things they might need help with. If you receive a lot of enquiries or support calls about the same things, it may well suggest that users can't find information quickly enough on your website and a chatbot may well be a great solution to quickly address these needs - both for your users and for reducing strain on your team. However, if your customers are less technologically savvy, or place high value in speaking directly to a person, then it might be more worthwhile investing in ensuring your contact details are very easy to see and use across all types of device. 

Chatbots can also be great for increasing sales and other conversions by assisting users at different stages of their journey. Chatbots can be programmed to ask specific questions or to make suggestions depending on where the customer is in their journey, ensuring that the right information is always available and reducing any potential friction along the way. If a customer exhibits certain behaviour, like stalling with a purchase decision, a chatbot can popup to provide them with a special offer or to check-in if they need support. This can often encourage customers that are sitting on the fence to make a purchase decision. 

What if I don't have a website?

Chatbots can also be integrated into social media platforms such as Facebook chat, which many people turn to for help when looking for a quick response. According to a recent study, 42% of users expect a reply on social media within an hour. When a customer has an issue and reaches out, this period of time is considered a key window where the successful resolution of an issue increases the likelihood of a customer being satisfied with your service. Rather than trying to ensure your team responds within this timeframe, a chatbot will provide an instant response, helping the customer to feel they've been heard and helping to troubleshoot or escalate the issue as quickly as possible. A bad experience on social media has been seen to result in customers telling others about their problems, and in over 50% of cases, avoiding the company altogether.

Overall, Chatbots can be a great addition to your website if you have a high amount of contact with your customers who expect a fast response. They are highly configurable and the potential uses and applications are extensive - not only providing better customer experiences but also helping to streamline the burden on your team and provide new sources of data and feedback to analyse.

If you’d like to find out more about adding a chatbot to your website, you can contact us for more information.

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