Chatbots have become a hot topic in recent years due to their ability to simplify several marketing processes. These intelligent automated messengers speed up the process of qualifying sales leads by providing instantaneous responses to customers’ questions. According to a study done by the Harvard Business Review, if companies don’t respond to leads in five minutes or less they risk losing them forever which emphasizes the importance of providing your customers with quick responses.
The use of chatbots is still a new idea and their immense potential often goes unnoticed. Of the websites that currently do have a chatbot implemented, 58% of those are for B2B businesses. This is a fascinating statistic given the fact that historically, chatbots were used far more often by B2C businesses. This increased use means there are some serious benefits to implementing a chatbot for your B2B business.
Keep reading to learn more about the reasons behind the recent boom of the chatbot industry, and how B2B brands are starting to uncover the value that chatbots add to their online presence.
Push Towards Convenience
Let’s be honest – nobody wants to wait around for hours on end just to get an answer to one of their questions. Customer service phone lines are slowly fading out as technology has become more advanced and customers have drifted towards more convenient customer support methods.
Chatbots have started to pop up on multiple social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger. This makes it even easier for customers to have quick and seamless customer service interactions. They can simply hop onto social media and have their question answered within a matter of seconds.
These bots are also available 24/7 – the same can’t be said about most company’s customer service representatives. If a customer has a question after regular business hours it can be frustrating for them to wait for a customer service rep to come online and respond, especially if the question is time-sensitive. Keeping customers waiting can lead to a customer taking their business elsewhere, and ultimately, a substantial loss of profits. Due to this, the consistent availability of chatbots has been one of the most appealing aspects to customers and businesses alike.
Consistency is Key
Consistent customer service is a goal for just about every B2B business. Two customers who ask a customer service representative the same question should always receive the same answer. This builds trust with your company and ensures customers are never misled.
When it comes to human customer service representatives, you can provide them all with the same training but their answers are always going to vary slightly. And that’s normal – after all, they’re humans, not robots, and it’s easy to make a mistake every now and then. At the end of the day, it is a flawed system for companies to be using, which is where chatbots come into play.
Chatbots can be programmed to answer questions with a specific response every time which ensures that every user gets an identical response to their question. This leaves zero room for confusion and ensures consistency across the board.
But that is only the beginning. The technology behind chatbots is rapidly improving, enabling smarter responses and greater capabilities beyond simply ensuring consistent customer service.
Technology is Getting Smarter
The very first chatbot was developed in 1966 by an MIT professor. This bot was only capable of answering basic queries, but nonetheless, it was a huge breakthrough in technology. Since then, there have been over 50 years of research and development that has gone into making chatbots the incredibly smart systems they are today.
In many cases, it has gotten to the point where it’s hard to tell if you’re speaking to a chatbot or an actual human, and technological innovations will only continue to make it harder. These complex systems are programmed to identify keywords and respond appropriately. With years of engineering, these systems have evolved to the point where they can closely mimic the speaking patterns and thought processes of the human brain. Their human-like language and ability to pick up keywords makes these conversations almost identical to those with human customer service representatives.
A great example of a B2B company that has a highly advanced chatbot is Hubspot:
Hubspot’s chatbot goes by the name of “HubBot” and starts off all chat conversations with a friendly, inviting message that steers the direction of the conversation. Users of the bot can choose from a few pre-written answers or type out their own message which offers both convenience and flexibility.
The Economically Friendly Choice
Every business wants to save money where it’s possible, so cost is a huge factor that plays into the push towards chatbots. Depending on the complexity of your chatbot, you can expect to pay anywhere between $500 – $2500. Chatbots may pose a hefty upfront cost, but their maintenance fees are very minimal, which makes them far more cost effective than employing a whole team of customer service representatives. In fact, according to Chatbots Magazine, chatbots can reduce operational costs by a whopping 30% – it’s easy to see why so many B2B businesses are making the switch.
Another thing to consider is that the average customer service rep can only handle about 100 chat conversations a day, while chatbots can essentially handle an infinite number. These bots are able to interact with multiple customers at the same time, which means you can simultaneously answer incoming questions or concerns with just one bot.
The benefits chatbots can provide for your B2B business are unparalleled. If you’re willing to make the upfront investment, chatbots can be an incredibly valuable tool for you and your business. Chatbots can simplify business processes and create lasting connections with web visitors, so their popularity will only continue to grow.