Anyone who regularly obtains information and buys products on the Internet has already seen a chatbot. It is a practical digital helper that supports you on a website with problems or questions. It serves as 24-hour support for website visitors or is a virtual salesperson who advises your customers on your products.
A website is specially developed for surfing using web browsers. You can do this with a smartphone or a laptop. However, the trend here is towards responsive websites. They are bots for websites embedded in the development to respond to customers’ needs for effective customer retention.
How do chatbots work?
A chatbot is a program designed to have a written conversation with a human to help boost customer needs. It is fed with information that it filters based on the text entered. It then gives the best correct answer. Chatbots have existed for several decades, but they have only been developed significantly in recent years. The aim is to create intuitively usable, friendly little helpers who are on duty around the clock and thus relieve customer service.
There are two types of chatbots:
The Keyword Chatbot
For it to work correctly and satisfactorily for the customer, the inputs must be specific, i.e., corresponding to the programming of the chatbot.
You want to teach the chatbot to respond to price requests. So you store the keywords “cost, prices” and the answer that the chatbot should give. For example: “Product XY costs you 100 dollars in an annual subscription. If you prefer to book monthly, the costs are 12 dollars/month.” Users then type “How much does product XY cost?” or a variant of this sentence in the text field, the chatbot answers it precisely.
Furthermore, a query such as “Is the price negotiable?” is also answered with the price, which of course, does not answer the question correctly. So the keyword chatbot only works according to rules and without understanding or intelligence. It’s only as good as the knowledge base you give it.
The AI chatbot
AI stands for artificial intelligence. An AI chatbot can learn and also understands a natural language. So no keywords have to be created. It collects the questions from users and can thus adapt better and better to each new request. It is much more complex to program and train than the keyword chatbot. Setting up an AI requires a large amount of data and a lot of testing.
When are chatbots worthwhile for my website?
Many providers offer finished products at around 10 dollars per month, but there is practically no upper limit. The more features a chatbot offer, the more expensive it becomes. It can be about 1,000 dollars and more per month. The question, therefore, arises as to when which chatbot is worthwhile for you.
A chatbot is worthwhile for you if your customer service is not optimally set up or overloaded with website users’ requests. Even if it turns out that the same questions keep coming up, a chatbot can be of great help. A chatbot is also suitable if you have a product that needs an explanation. Then he acts as a virtual salesman and can replace a lengthy sales pitch with a natural person.
If at least one of these criteria is met, using a chatbot could make sense for your company. Of course, the integration of a chatbot does not mean that you can now do it entirely without a human support team. See the chatbot as a supplement and relief for your existing service offering – not as a replacement.
Depending on the provider, the integration of a chatbot can be very simple to rather complicated. There are simple solutions that you can build into your website yourself. Most of the time, you have to embed a ready-made code snippet in a specific place, for example, in the footer. Programming a bot yourself is not advisable – the majorities of the solutions on the market are already very mature and beat in-house development by far in terms of cost-benefit ratio.
The advantages of website chatbots are apparent. After all, with them, you offer 24/7 customer support. You can relieve your staff answer your customers’ burning questions even at night and on weekends – and the chatbot never gets sick either.
Another advantage you should not underestimate is using a chatbot allows you to view statistics and recordings that give you information about the behaviour of your website visitors. In this way, you will learn what problems your customers regularly have and, on this basis, you can take measures to avoid them right from the start.