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Chat-bots - How they're changing the game

What is a chat-bot?   

Chat-bots are a concept that has been around since 1966 when the first ‘chat-bot’ was created specialising in psychotherapy. It is defined as a computer program that communicates with human users on a given topic. Chat-bots are completely automated, meaning there is no need for human interaction from an operations point of view.  

At its most basic, a chat-bot is a piece of software that uses a messaging system to interact with visitors to your site to provide information and assistance when needed. If needed, chat-bots can also be programmed to accept payments, schedule meetings, set reminders and more.  

We have seen a trend in recent years of companies using chat-bots with a lot of success on their websites to give their customers another method of communicating with the company from everything from general FAQ’s to order specific help.   

 

Okay, so why should I use one?   

In recent years, the use of chat-bots has increased dramatically, with many sites using one to convey information or facilitate contact with a potential buyer. Read more for my top 5 reasons to use one:

  1. It will save you money

    While a chat-bot does have a comparatively large upfront cost, the overall cost of running one instead of employing a human is much lower. Not only do you not have to pay a chat-bot a salary, they won’t get sick, they won’t take holiday and they can work 24/7. When you compare that to the cost of hiring yet another call centre representative, you can see why many companies are starting to use them more and more.   

  2. Your customer engagement will increase

    A lot of the time, people hate speaking on the phone, whether that’s because they feel like they don’t have the time to take a phone call, or they just feel more comfortable making enquiries where they don’t feel ‘pressured’ by a sales representative to take on the product. Additionally, because they respond in seconds, your customers will feel valued and more likely to want to discuss issues further.

  3. Your customer experience will be improved

    We find that the use of chat-bots have a positive effect on the customer service experience for your users. The bot won’t get angry, it won’t feel frustrated with being asked the same thing over and over again and it doesn’t need to log-off for toilet or lunch breaks. This means that no matter the time of day if a customer has a query, they can get an instant response.   

    Traditionally, customer service was about being reactive rather than proactive. Using chat-bots, you can reach out to your customers as soon as they land on your site to offer assistance. This can help avoid a frustrated customer leaving your site if they cannot find the information they were looking for, as they can just type a quick question and the chat-bot can provide instantaneous information. 

  4. You will have full control over what information is relayed to customers 

    Humans make mistakes. A bot is programmed with specific answers to questions. This means that the information it hands over to customers will always be correct and up to date. You will be able to analyse the metrics from the chat-bot to discover many different things about how users interact with your site and use this data to improve your chat-bot over time.   

    Chat-bots can also be programmed to refer the customer over to a real agent, this can be when they start to detect that the customer is getting angry, or if they have asked a question that the bot does not know how to answer. This can be very efficient as by the time the customer reaches a live agent, the agent will have had the chat history sent to them so they can seamlessly take over the conversation.

  5. You will be able to engage easier with your mobile users

    Mobile usage has skyrocketed over the last few years, with now more than 50% of users choosing to use their mobile device for web browsing over their laptop or desktop. At Netshell we design all our web solutions to be mobile-friendly.  

 

Building chat-bots has now been made even easier by Microsoft, who have released a new framework for bots to be created. This means developers can create chat-bot software quicker, and therefore cheaper, than ever before. Microsoft’s chat-bot has a range of customisation skills and features that can be utilised for your business.

As Microsoft Partners, Netshell has an in-depth understanding of Microsoft products, meaning you can trust that your solution would be created by a team of developers who understand the product and how to get the most from it.   

Chat-bots are changing how customers use your sites and are considered a positive investment for many companies using them. If this sounds like something you think could benefit your business, or just want to chat through your ideas please get in touch!   

Danielle Stevenson
Danielle Stevenson, Operations Manager

I am the Operations Manager at Netshell responsible for managing the day-to-day work streams and keeping our fantastic team of coders coordinated with client needs and company goals.