June 12 2019

Benefits of Having a Chatbot on your Website

AI and Chatbots

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is entering all parts of modern life, including websites. There are different ways that AI can be beneficial to a business’ digital presence, including Visual and Voice Searches and AI-assisted data analysis. One of the most requested AI enhancements for websites is chatbots in the form of live chat windows or banners. Explore some of the benefits of adding a chatbot solution on your business website.

What is Artificial Intelligence? 

AI is defined by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence as “the scientific understanding of the mechanism underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines.” Chatbots, by definition, utilize AI to simulate human conversation through voice command, text chats, or both. That being said, most chatbots used on websites are not true AI because they don’t “learn”. Instead, they have been pre-scripted to understand certain words, patterns and synonyms. When a word or phrase is recognized, the chatbot gives the predetermined answer that fits. Sometimes the answer may not fit and would need human intervention. But that can be a good way to filter out people who may be asking for information that is readily available on the website, such as hours, locations or basic product information.

What is a chatbot?

The term “chatbot” came into popularity when Facebook launched their messenger platform, which then forged the way for Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon to build their own versions. Shortly after, third-parties entered the scene, offering unbranded products that could live on individual websites, and be specific to that organization’s offerings. These Live Chat chatbots could then create the appearance of customized communication with a customer and not need human intervention right away, if at all. A few good examples include LivePerson and BoldChat, to name a few.

Benefits of a live chat chatbot on a website 

  • Better Customer Service – Chatbots are available 24/7 and can mostly pull from a database of frequently (and not so frequently) asked questions. Most customer inquiries can be answered immediately without having to submit an email or call. This in turn helps reduce call volume for live customer service staff.

  • Allows Staff to Focus on more Important Tasks – The ability to weed out all but the most complex queries allows for better allocation of staff, and the 24/7 nature makes the user feel like they are being heard in ways that a 9-5 human staff would not be able to do.

  • Encourages User Engagement – When the users have a way to communicate, they often spend more time on the site because they get to their desired call-to-action destination faster, thus reducing the frustration of searching without help. They also have a way to communicate what stage of the customer journey they may be on, and the chatbot could help them to move to a new level with potential personalization.

Of course, while these benefits can sound like a no-brainer, there are some things to consider when making the decision to add this functionality to your website.

  • How will sensitive data be stored/shared? In the age of GDPR, sensitive data needs to be handled even more carefully than before. When in doubt, don’t ask for personally identifying information beyond a name and email if they need a follow up communication. 

  • Does it feel impersonal? Does it feel like a robot or off-brand in any way? Be sure to infuse some of your own unique brand personality into the script when you are in the programming phase.

  • Does the application run on mobile and any future tech? This is important to ask and to test before you commit to any one experience.

  • What expectations will be set if a human does need to get involved? What if the chatbot can’t answer a complicated query? Does an email link pop up or does it escalate to another channel such as a 24-hour toll-free line? If it is beyond your normal business hours, is it clear that an actual human will intervene when they are back in the office (including relevant time zone)? These are all important to think through and establish before the chatbot is live.

Chatbots, especially in the form of a live chat or customer service messaging program, will need to be tested and treated as an integral part of your website and go through the same update process and schedule. But, when used well, can be a way to attract and retain your customers. Have questions? We can help. Reach out to us at ZAG Interactive for more information.

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posted by
Rachel Avery Conley
Rachel Avery Conley

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.
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