Chatbots: All Hype or Truly Revolutionary?

Facebook has changed the digital marketing world in so many ways. Apart from its robust advertising platform that allows businesses to target their ideal customer base within specific geographic and demographic parameters, one otherwise-overlooked feature is also gaining traction: Facebook Messenger.

Though normally reserved for personal communications, companies have started to develop chatbots to act as virtual assistants, sales personnel, or even just as an extra set of hands to perform tedious tasks. And lest you think this is some kind of marketing gimmick, data suggests that they’re incredibly efficient. JP Morgan Chase, for example, was able to eliminate over 350,000 hours of tedious review time simply by employing bots in their business.

What Are Chatbots?

Simply put, chatbots are automated messaging systems that mimic human conversations through a pre-programmed set of cues and responses. They can be deployed through a medium like Facebook messenger or act as a virtual customer service agent on a website. They’re non-invasive, somewhat-personal, and highly efficient in taking customers through a variety of sales funnels.

Despite their apparent simplicity, chatbots are highly intelligent, taking the information that is given to them by the customer and processing it quickly to move them to the proper department or make appropriate suggestions. They can even provide customer service; If a user has a problem with a product, the chatbot can guide them through a how-to of how to fix the issue at hand.

What Benefits Do Chatbots Offer Businesses?

The benefits to automating various parts of your business is already well-known, but chatbots allow a level of efficiency that makes it a step above.

  • Save Money: Though you could hire a developer to create a chatbot for you (which is much less expensive than it used to be), there are also a host of software solutions that can create them for you.
  • Automate Processes: Everything that can be automated should in a bid to save time, and chatbots help with that process tremendously. They can handle hundreds of different requests at one time, instead of paying an entire customer service department to do the same thing.
  • Room to Grow: One of the best things about chatbots is they don’t overwhelm the user with a myriad of different services, but they also have the potential to do so much more than what they’re currently used for. Once you have them set up and your customers are used to them, you’ll be able to add functionality at will.

What are the Common Types of Chatbots?

There are generally two types of chatbots: simple and complex. Simple chatbots follow a pre-programmed script and very rarely deviate from it, while complex chatbots have the ability to learn from each conversation and develop better responses for future customers. It’s not as sophisticated as some artificial intelligence systems, but it’s far superior to a simple script-based chatbot.

Beyond this, chatbots can also speak to an individual user in a one-on-one conversation or respond to an entire team that is communicating with the chatbots. Moreover, some chatbots are also domain-specific, and can provide a user with unprompted promotional materials or help them navigate the website.

Regardless of what chatbots are used for, there’s no doubting their necessity, both now and in the future. How they’re employed will continue to evolve, but they provide a level of revenue-generating functionality that far surpasses a number of other endeavors.

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