The evolution of consumer behaviour and expectations never stops. As they become more sophisticated, today’s consumers expect a certain level of interactivity with the brands they deal with, whether it’s sharing a compliment, concern, complaint, or question via social media, or even the ability to quickly reach out to a member of the customer support team.

This phenomenon is partly responsible for the rise of chatbots. Bots, by definition, carry out repetitive automated tasks. With the case of chatbots, they can deliver a personalised content experience, answer common customer service FAQs, and streamline product purchases.

Without automated help, these activities can put a labour strain on frontline customer support teams. This is why chatbots have become particularly valuable under our new paradigm of ultra-high consumer expectations. They enable several workflows to be automatically executed, freeing up choke points at work and giving staff time to carry out other revenue-generating tasks.

1. Boosting conversion rate by prioritising conversations

By using AI technology for conversational marketing, businesses can automate routine processes to engage with and help customers more effectively. For instance, bots equipped with natural language processing capabilities can initiate conversations with customers to assist them, taking up higher volumes of support tickets across various channels, even translating it into useful information and business insights to later personalise customer experience.

Going beyond customer support, a chatbot’s role with sales is that it can contribute to higher conversion rates. With conversations that were once only happening within DMs (Direct Messages), the bot stretches such exchanges into the page that a lead is browsing. Chatbots can attend to every incoming prospect without missing out on an opportunity to engage. In turn, they can also qualify leads and refer them directly to sales. Their presence helps you secure the sales conversation and act on it, instead of letting it slide by due to the absence of a human agent.

2. Fetching more relevant search results 

While chatbots are adept at improving the experience for customers, they can also improve your employee’s experience.

Take simple web searches as an example. Performing one via an online search engine can deliver results that may be irrelevant or otherwise useless to employees. One of search engines’ most glaring limitations is their dependence on keywords and phrases that attempt to translate human thought into something machines can understand.

Chatbots have the potential to change the way employees across an organisation seek information. Instead of listing hundreds of results, specialised chatbots in different domains can do the legwork for employees. A well-customised one unifies searches and touchpoints. In the process, it also helps remove duplicates and identify more relevant searches.

3. Gathering and maintaining customer insights

A chatbot can also gather insights on customers and analyse variables such as purchasing patterns and habits. By monitoring customers’ patterns, businesses can learn more about the products and services individual customers prefer. They can also gain visibility into key areas such as common problems or issues with specific products or services, and then make the appropriate adjustments on the fly.

Chatbots can also store and analyse information on the types of questions they are commonly asked. The information collected can be used for data enrichment to segment customers and then better personalise messages for them in forms of text or graphic, depending on the enquirer’s preference. This humanises the conversation while better equipping the chatbot to answer future questions and upsell additional products. It also gives decision-makers a better understanding of what their customers need to know to complete a purchase.

4. Pushing valuable notifications out at the right time

AI-powered chatbots can intelligently predict customer behaviour, allowing them to push appropriate notifications to the right people at the right moment. This sort of timely communication is a powerful marketing tool to reach leads when they are most receptive to marketing messages, helping businesses connect with and retain customers.

Generally, there are two types of push notifications that are the most common and most effective in engaging with consumers. The first is notifications on product updates. Chatbots can send customers messages about new product features, bug fixes, maintenance updates, or product usage statistics. In addition, businesses can utilise notifications for promotions. Chatbots can push out advertisements, discounts, deals, and sponsored messages to engage customers and get them to take action.

5. Automating everyday workflows

Chatbot automation considerably reduces the time businesses need to invest in repetitive tasks such as pulling leads, parsing them, processing and pushing data into another system. With chatbots, organisations can streamline a variety of business processes across all of their departments and teams. Instead of employees spending a significant part of their day completing routine yet essential tasks, chatbots can do these automatically and give teams more time to focus on revenue-generating activities, the type of work that is typically more rewarding for employees.

Chatbots give businesses a multitude of possibilities, and the technology will only continue to improve by being available in more end user devices and experiences. It’s one example of how AI can give any business the potential to succeed. As always, those who embrace the technology and use it most shrewdly will be the ones that come out ahead.

When it comes to chatbots specifically, they are a proven way to improve the experience for customers, and more businesses are beginning to realise they can help streamline day-to-day workflows to impact business outcomes.

This article was contributed by Gibu Mathew, Vice President and GM, Asia Pacific, of Zoho Corporation

About the author

Gibu Mathew is the vice president and GM, Asia Pacific, of Zoho Corp, where he primarily focuses on setting strategies and vision for regional growth. Over the years, he has varied experience in go-to-market strategy, product management, marketing and architecting software products for many of the company’s cloud and on-premise solutions. This year marks his 21st year with Zoho, as he continues to spearhead numerous go-to-market strategies that prioritises product localisation for the region.

Mathew has appeared on podcasts with the likes of MoneyFM, and authored work in The Business Times, alongside other leading publications. As a prolific speaker and thought leader, he has also been featured in many online coverages, specialising in topics on SaaS and Cloud market.

A family man himself, Mathew enjoys playing soccer and badminton with his kids.