COVID-19 pandemic affected many business areas. Some companies currently do not have enough resources to process orders; some had to cut the number of employees to stay afloat. Others are separated from their customers and do not know how to retain them. That is why online support is more important than ever. Chatbots can help fix the situation assisting people and automating business processes!
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a virtual interlocutor that is able to imitate human behavior while communicating with potential clients. It is, in a nutshell, a virtual assistant that is always there for your customers, and that can alleviate your employees by doing some of their time-consuming and routine tasks.
As a robot, it relies heavily on established rules and algorithms and can improve when paired with well designed artificial intelligence algorithms. It can run in almost any messaging service or social network, for example, a Whatsapp or Facebook chatbot.
Facts: 70% of support questions can be replied by a robot chat; 76% of customers prefer message support as their initial channel preference for flexible communication.
Chatbot in business is, first of all, a tool for immediate interaction with potential and existing customers. They help you scale your business by automating interactions in the first stages of your sales funnel. They also reduce the cost of customer service by relieving operators from the most frequent issues. Unlike operators, chatbots do not need lunch breaks, sick leave or holidays, and work for you 24/7, facilitating contact with customers in every timezone.
What Problems Can Chatbots Solve During A Pandemic?
Problem 1. How to deal with a sharp increase in incoming queries (calls, emails, etc).
Who were affected: grocery stores, online stores, hospitals, medical clinics, pharmacies, travel agencies, hotels, airlines and carriers, banks, insurance companies, water, and electricity providers.
Many companies were not ready for a sharp jump in customer requests. The number of incoming calls is growing like a snowball: people call the hotline and text to messengers, and without receiving a timely response, they call and write even more.
Robot chat can help as a support on the website, in social networks, messengers such as Facebook and WhatsApp. These bots can answer the most common questions and reduce the burden on your employees, allowing them to focus on more important issues.
When developing a chatbot, collect the most pressing questions, think over the answers, decide where and to whom you will direct a person in a difficult and atypical situation.
Problem 2: How NOT to lose a customer when there are too many orders.
Who were affected: delivery services, online stores, cafes and restaurants, pharmacies.
The number of online orders during quarantine has grown significantly, and the number of entrepreneurs who go online is also rising every day. The demand for food delivery has grown 3-4 times, leaving many stores with online queues. Companies that can’t reply in a timely manner will lead their clients to direct competitors.
A chatbot will benefit both the business and the client. The client will be able to place an online order through the WhatsApp or Facebook chatbot, make the payment and check the status of the order, in a quick and convenient way.
The business will be able to use the robot chat as a CRM system to collect customers’ personal information such as contact information, interests and feedback for broadcasting personalized messages to different client niches, promotion of relevant products, advertising or any other campaigns.
Problem 3: How to retain your customers if the business is quarantined.
Who were affected: offline stores, shopping centers, fitness centers, beauty salons, restaurants, coffee houses, bars, cinemas, hotels, office spaces, water and electricity providers, etc.
No one knows how long the quarantine will last and how long your business will be out of service. If there is a chance that customers can be saved, you need to do everything possible.
Use chatbots to remind your clients that you remember and value them. This is a difficult time for business, but show your concern and customers will appreciate it. Let them know you are closed, but this is not forever. Offer bonuses, collect “wishes for the future”, tell them about what you can do for them right now. This will increase your customer loyalty and undoubtedly positively affect your business performance after quarantining.
Together we can make these things happen, and much MUCH more!