We are in the midst of a major communications disruption, where artificial intelligence (AI) is now stepping into the space where receptionists, customer service reps, administrative assistants, and sales associates were once the front lines. Chatbots aren’t just the future. They are ready for tech-smart businesses now.

Chatbots - AI support - for business

Chatbots are admittedly not tiny robots that you are introducing to your office environment, but these digital tools can enable your business to be more efficient, more responsive, and more focused on your customers’ needs. Are you ready for AI support?

Personalized attention and instant responsiveness are two key factors that can make the difference between businesses that flounder and those that find success. No one wants to endlessly wait in a queue, no matter how interesting the hold music, no matter how detailed the updates on placement in line or minutes remaining before speaking with a company representative.

People are busy. They are quick to move elsewhere if they cannot find exactly what they’re looking for. With the right chatbot on your business website, you won’t just fulfill existing queries but you will be able to begin building and enhancing relationships with your customers.

Chatbots are appearing across websites of all kinds and within existing apps, from WhatsApp and Slack to Facebook Messenger and beyond. According to an Oracle survey, 80% of businesses want to be using chatbots by 2020. Is your business one of these? Or, perhaps, should it be?

So to begin, let’s look at how businesses are using chatbots. Here are 7 ways chatbots can assist your company’s goals.

Chatbots as Your Front Desk

When your human employees are able to focus on their jobs, uninterrupted, they are able to perform at their best. Chatbots can automate the answering of simple queries like an FAQ page of a website but with the personalized communication that people now crave and expect.

By enabling chatbots to work as your first point of contact for existing and potential clients, your human team remains on task with their larger tasks. In this way, AI can answer the simple, repetitive questions of hours, location, and service offerings. They can begin a conversation and collect primary information to determine who on your team is the best point-of-contact for further assistance, as needed.

Chatbots as Relationship Builders

Everyone likes a place where everyone knows your name, and when chatbots can serve to not only remember names but also past questions, concerns, and purchase history, conversations can begin on a deeper level. Communications can include follow-up on past experiences and suggestions in response to new opinions shared.

Chatbots as the Entry-point to your Sales Funnel

Human sales team members can understand how to approach different potential clients, understanding their needs and responding accordingly, and AI can be equally effective—at least in the first steps of the sales funnel. People-to-people relationships are still valuable for closing deals, but as information is being gathered, the process can be a bit formulaic. Chatbots are built for situations just like this.

Chatbots as Recruiters and Pre-screeners

Your Human Resources department already has a full plate. What if the first few steps of the recruitment process could be simplified, enabling red flags to be automated and only the best candidates to move forward to take the time of your staff. It’s a win for your company, and a win for time management.

Chatbots as Ecommerce Associates

Sometimes, when you’re shopping, you want to browse at your own speed, but sometimes, you have queries you want answered. It’s in these moments that online sales can be lost when unanswered questions linger with no response from the seller. However, chatbots can step in 24/7, 365 days a year. They’re present the moment they’re needed without the awkward feel of a hovering sales associate. This is conversational commerce in action.

Chatbots as Customer Service Reps

When a customer or client has a comment or concern, they need to not only be able to easily voice it, but they need acknowledgement that they are heard. They need to be sure that their opinions are being not only recorded but also listened to by those who matter. Chatbots are there to be an ear and to direct this new information appropriately as it comes in.

Chatbots as Internal Virtual Assistants

Chatbots can even be used internally as a resource for your staff, reminding of procedures, how to use specific tools, maintaining and reminding of calendar events, and more. Staff members can sometimes be hesitant to ask questions that they should already know the answer to, but with a virtual partner, they can have that whispered aside with a trusted adviser who will keep them in the know.

In short, AI tools have now arrived to offer nearly everything you might be able to think of when you need extra entry-level hands on deck. You can expand your human team, but expanding your website’s core with AI functionality can be a real growth strategy.

Chatbots are not yet perfect, and debate swirls about how a business should acknowledge that their customers are speaking to a chatbot versus a human representative; however, according to SalesForce, 69% of customers prefer the speed and simplicity of speaking with a chatbot when needing answers to quick questions.

Is your business ready to have an AI team?

Questions about how you can use chatbots on your business’s website?