6 Chatbot Benefits for Business
<p>Business benefits of chatbots are the reason you see them everywhere you go on the internet. Facebook alone has more than 30,000 of them. Here’s why.</p>
Engagement with clients is a growing trend and an outright necessity for most businesses. This is one of the most important chatbot benefits. They are something that you encounter everywhere. Whether you spend time on messenger apps for work or browse the web, you have already encountered them.
What Is a Chatbot and How Does It Work?
A chatbot is a tool that works in tandem and on top of a chat application. It responds automatically to certain queries with the pre-programmed messages. It can moderate the chat, answer the frequently asked questions, provide you with links and so on.
There are several types based on different factors. Depending on implementation there are two types:
- Bots functioning in the application (web, mobile, desktop, etc.)
- Bots functioning in the messenger
The function determines how chatbot works. Depending on this there are several types:
- FAQ bots – they answer common simple questions instantly and comprehensively.
- Predictive bots – they use machine learning to anticipate the behavior of users.
- Conversational bots – they ask users questions in order to collect data and keep them engaged.
- Transactional bots – they help users with parts of or the entire transaction process.
According to the Narrative Science research, 44% of respondents believe that automated communications that help people make decisions are the main business benefit of artificial intelligence. This is exactly the function this kind of software is developed for.
Business Benefits of Chatbots
No Labor Expense
Chatbots eliminate the need for dedicated tech support personnel. Not only are the expenses on wages eliminated entirely, but the bots are way more efficient as well.
Low Operating Cost
In addition to cutting expenses on wages, there are other ways it lowers the operational costs of support and data collection. Instead of creating an entire app just to engage and attract new customers, you can simply use a bot. There has been a noticeable app fatigue trend meaning people are much less likely to download anything new. This technology allows you to avoid this problem entirely.
Reallocation of Resources
All of the resources you have saved can be reallocated. Money, time and energy can be spent on other pressing matters. This results in a great return on investment ratio.
Always Working and Available
Bots don’t rest. They work 24 hours a day, gather valuable information, and provide support. The response times are instant as well. There is no risk of losing a potential customer by making them wait, all the necessary information is always available.
Business Process Automation
This type of software is a great example of business process automation. It streamlines a huge part of the workflow. Set it up once and it will work until you turn it off. If it’s set up correctly, you won’t even have to pay attention and visitors will be satisfied all the same.
Improved Engagement and Customer Service
While bots may lack a certain human element, they make up for it with the wealth of useful information delivered to the user instantly. They also drive engagement. This indicator will only become more important with time. Engagements become sales, and engaged customers can become the ambassadors of your brand, further driving your growth. With chat apps such as Facebook Messenger having literally hundreds of millions of people, you can tap into that user base.
How Much Do They Cost?
Let’s say you have decided to get a chatbot. What the next logical step? First, you should determine whether you will get a ready-made solution, use a service model or develop one of your own. This dilemma was already covered in one of our articles, but some pointers should be mentioned again. The costs also vary across each of the options.
The key points you should assess first are, as follows:
- Who’s the target audience?
- What are the tasks you want the bot to do?
- How much will it cost?
- How will you use it?
Most of the popular chat applications support bots. Some of them even have marketplaces where you can install them directly. Among them are platforms such as Telegram and Slack. It is easy to find a solution for any needs, however, this approach has its pros and cons.
- They are cheaper than custom ones.
- Quick implementation.
- They are easy to find.
- Wide range of choices.
- Poor customization.
- It won’t meet all of your needs completely.
- Lack of control over the back-end processes.
As a Service
They can also be distributed as a service. Such solutions are also quite different mostly varying on the degree of customizability. Some even allow you to modify the code. However, they come with limitations in the form of the number of messages a bot can send a month.
The pricing can vary across all the different available solutions but on average it is somewhere around these numbers:
- $15 a month – 5 bots/5,000 messages.
- $50 a month – 25 bots/20,000 messages.
- $100 a month – 50 bots/50,000 messages.
- Customizable to the needs of your business.
- Configurable behavior.
- They can run on multiple messenger services.
- Relatively cheap on a small scale.
- Pricing models don’t always fit the requirements.
- Hard monthly limits.
- No tools for more advanced operation.
You can also create and program your own bot from scratch. Many companies look at this as a last resort when the previous models have failed them. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. If you can code yourself it is definitely a plus but it is not necessary. There are plenty of companies who will gladly develop it for you.
This technology can be pretty diverse, but the vast majority of them share these development components:
- Back-end – this manages the business logic and the functionality of the bot. The rest of the bot is built on top of the back-end foundation.
- Channels – integration with each channel is different and each one requires time. However, the underlying process follows the same principle regardless of whether you are integrating your chatbot with WhatsApp or Skype.
- Natural language processing (NLP) – a type of artificial intelligence that processes all of the messages you receive through chat. The key factor is that they interpret free language in search of queries.
- Conversational interfaces – this the emerging technology that will have entire conversations with the users. It is a more complex version of NLP. It requires meticulous planning of all the possible conversation paths for the algorithms and deep learning but it results in better user experience.
- Integration – this connects the bot to the apps that handle features such as order placement, booking, and so on. This means that a bot needs to interact with business intelligence and process data on an intricate level.
The approximate cost of a custom chatbot is generally somewhere between $6,000 and $12,000 depending on the complexity. This price consists of:
- Integration with a single chat app – 40-56 hours
- Command interpreter – 40-56 hours
- Natural language user interface (NLUI) – 120-160 hours
- Adaptation of business logic – 120-160 hours
- Creation of business logic – 160-190 hours
Rounding Things Up
Business process automation, lowering the operating costs, and 24/7 availability are all among the chatbot benefits. In addition, there are many models to choose from that may suit a wide variety of businesses. If your company interacts with clients at all, then that is reason enough to adopt this technology. There is simply no reason not to.