Chatbots: Good, Bad or Necessary?

May 21, 2018 | 2  min
author Pyxl Development

Chances are, you’ve probably engaged with a chatbot without even realizing it. Used frequently to take the place of basic customer service requests online, chatbots can be designed to respond automatically, either with a consistent message or with one that is tailored to a specific request, based on keywords in the customer’s message. Some chatbots are even created with machine learning, allowing them to adapt their capability to respond based on experience as they interact with more people.

But this post isn’t to introduce the concept of chatbots. They’ve been around for a while. Instead, we’re trying to answer the question, why are they so popular?

The short answer is that they make our lives easier, especially when you take into consideration the following data from Facebook:

  • 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses monthly
  • 56% of people would rather message than call customer service
  • 53% of people are more likely to shop with businesses they can message

While chatbots can be used for digital platforms outside of social media, these facts demonstrates that the amount of messages businesses receive through social media (and other platforms) is an increasingly huge burden—one that chatbots readily help carry.

Even for smaller brands, at least one member of your staff would need to remain regularly dedicated to responding to online inquiries in a timely manner because while the number of customer service messages is increasing, customers’ perspectives and expectations for instantaneous replies have not changed.

According to research from Convince & Convert, 32 percent of respondents who have attempted to contact a brand, product, or company through social media expect a response within 30 minutes. Of the remaining survey respondents, 42% expected a response within 60 minutes. That’s a tight turn around for any company during a busy 8-hour work day. But the workday isn’t where these expectations stop.

“Our research found that among those respondents who have ever attempted to contact a brand, product, or company through social media for customer support, 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours.”

-Jay Baer from Convince & Convert

Sound impossible to keep up with?

Enter, chatbots.

While it may be possible (but probably very time- and resource-consuming) to constantly monitor and respond to customers via messaging, this is a great place for chatbots to take some of the heavy lifting. These digital helpers may not be able to complete a customer’s request, but they can at least handle the first interaction, showing consistency from your brand and making customers feel heard.

Outside of improving customer support, Exastax offers these potential benefits of chatbots:

  • Increased customer engagement
  • Monitoring consumer data & Insights
  • Cost savings
  • Better lead generation and nurturing
  • Easier approach to global markets

The benefits can be easy to get behind, but you might be thinking, what about those people who are opposed to speaking with a robot instead of a “real person?” Actually, the preference for or even indifference to chatbots is stronger than you’d think. According to Business Insider

In a survey by LivePerson, which included 5,000 consumers from six countries, 33% of consumers rated a positive perception of chatbots, compared to the 19% of participants that rated a negative perception. The remaining 48% were indifferent as long as their issue was resolved.

So while some customers will always prefer to speak with a human, investing in effort-saving digital solutions is a must in this increasingly digital world.

If you’re unsure where to start or aren’t completely sold on chatbots, reach out to a digital expert at Pyxl! We’d love to hear from you.

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

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