Ok. Let's get this one thing straight. I saw I, ROBOT. I'm scared crap-less of those robots. They had no chill. Will Smith could barely handle those robots and I am no Will Smith so thanks, but no thanks. I'm fine with being one of those OGs who is happy kicking it old school because most of the bells and whistles of modern technology give me butterflies in my tummy, and not the good kind.
With all that said, are there 2 very specific times and places where robots are OK? Of course there are. One of them is the robot in the soda machine at fast food restaurants. The ones where you can pick literally any flavor of Fanta you've ever imagined. I don't know how any of us lived so long without those robots.
The other is the chatbot. I know it took me a minute to land that plane, but bear with me.
This post is for business owners, but the best way to illustrate my point re: the chatbot is for you to imagine yourself as the patron. In fact. I just used a chatbot this morning when driving to work in a torrential downpour, my car started making a crazy sound and I pulled into the Toyota dealership to have it looked at. The tech thought it was the heat shield on the exhaust and since I have no idea what a heat shield is (or an exhaust for that matter - what even are cars?) I pulled up my warranty provider on my phone to see what would be covered.
The first thing I was met with was a pop-up chat bubble asking if I'd like to chat. WOULD I LIKE TO CHAT? DO ONE-LEGGED DUCKS SWIM IN A CIRCLE? Hell yeah, I want to chat! I quickly typed in a question about heat shields and exhausts and Platinum coverage and yada yada. A few short moments later, I had my answer. I never had to pick up the phone. I didn't have to click through pages and pages of auto warranty lingo looking for something to make sense. For a rain-soaked mom in exercise leggings who's already late for work and looking at sudden, unexpected auto expenses, this was huge.
Now, let's stick with the rain and storm motif I've already built here. Say you own a gutter maintenance business. It's 2 a.m. Your distressed, potential client is frantically searching gutter companies in your areas because theirs are clogged and the rain from the storm has created a leak inside their house. They've been through 4 websites that show a phone number with no emergency contact. Meanwhile, you're fast asleep when your prospect lands on your website and is greeted by a bot who offers to schedule a maintenance appointment with you first thing in the morning. And boom. You've got a new client. A happy client who knows help is on the way in a few short hours.
NOW IMAGINE you've got 10 potential clients in the same storm, all with clogged gutters. Now, because of your business's chatbot, you're in a whole new ballgame. And those other sites without chat services? All they're offering up is radio silence. They don't even have pitchers on the mound.
All of this has been a long road to simply say that bot technology is revolutionizing the way businesses service their clients. Chatbots create opportunities, cost-effectively, that would never be able to exist if we had to rely on humans in your business to manage them, simply because THEY'RE HUMAN. Humans have ON/OFF switches. Humans require downtime. Bots do not. Bots can keep up no matter how many inquiries are coming in at once. Chatbots are a 24/7/365 combination of salesperson and safety net.
They tell customers that they've got your immediate attention without you having to pay attention immediately. They're the modern day answer to old school, quality customer service.
And what's more than all that, chatbots are data jackpots because they address customer concerns and questions in real time. Questions are invaluable because you can engineer your bot to ask specifics questions that YOU specifically want the answers to. Answers that lead to important data to use in your company's marketing efforts.
If you're currently operating an online business without a 24/7 chat feature, look into how you can bring a chatbot service into the mix. The benefits are beyond what you can imagine just looking at this from the outside. And they can propel your business into the future. But not in a scary I, ROBOT - robot cars trying to drive you into a tunnel wall - way. I promise.