Chatbots and Social Media Messaging Apps for Small Business Owners: What You Need to Consider

When it comes to convenient customer service, few tools reduce your workload like chatbots can. Although they require some configuration during set-up, your efforts will be rewarded by an efficient, automated approach to customer queries.

Chatbots are now seriously popular, and it is estimated that up to 25% of customer service will be delivered using this method by 2020. In 2017, that statistic stood at just 2%.

With such a significant rise in chatbot usage, you may be convinced that deploying an app of your own can help your small business thrive. Before you rush your decision, however, here are some factors you need to consider.

Chatbots suit high volumes of queries

Medium to large businesses often receive high volumes of queries, which may leave the owners and customer service staff feeling overwhelmed. Among these queries, business owners begin to spot common trends. As a result, they’re able to produce generic answers that deliver what customers need.

When you’re managing a small business, you need to consider whether you’re receiving enough queries to warrant using a chatbot. Unless you and your staff are overwhelmed, you may save money by tackling the workload yourself. Additionally, if you can’t create answers for questions commonly asked by your customers, your chatbot many not provide enough value to warrant its inclusion on your site.

They don’t deliver a personal touch

When your customers tend to ask the same types of questions, chatbots prove useful. They prevent them from having to wait around and allow people to get their answers out of hours. This won’t always work to your advantage, though.

Consider why your customers reach out to you with questions. For example, if you’re a photographer or writer, they’re more likely to pose unique questions that can’t be answered by an automated service. By allowing yourself to remain open to those questions, you won’t deter those who are seeking human contact.

Meeting the customer’s immediate needs

If you’ve ever used Facebook messenger, you may already know that the app tells you how quickly a businessowner tends to respond. For example, you may see the words “Usually responds within one hour.”

When you’re running a small business, being able to respond within an hour isn’t always feasible. This is where chatbots could prove useful, as they can help you meet the same speedy response times boasted by your larger competitors. However, you need to make sure that’s not all they’re doing.

Your customers may still become frustrated with your responses if they don’t gain anything from them. To combat this, consider using a feature that directs customers towards an appointment booking portal or a data capture form that allows them to request a call at a time that suits them. As a result, you’ll keep your response times down, but your customers won’t leave feeling frustrated.

Chatbots won’t always be necessary when you’re running a small business. It’s important not to introduce one just because bigger businesses do, as this may not result in the same benefits, either to you or your users. If you do choose to add automated responders to your site or social media page, make sure they serve the needs of your customers above all else.

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