Chatbots have gotten a lot of attention lately. It seems like everybody has jumped on the chatbot bandwagon. You can get your horoscope, chat with the President, and even get legal advice via a chatbot.
But if you’re a small business owner, I’m sure you’re not thinking about chatbots at all! You don’t know how to set them up in the first place, and who is going to manage it for you? Are chatbots and SMBs a good fit together?
Perhaps they are. A recent survey has shown that over 50% of millenials would use a chatbot to leverage local services. Businesses that use a chatbot are viewed more favorably than those who don’t, and there was even a higher preference by this demographic regarding chatbots than messaging.
What types of things can a chatbot help with for an SMB? First of all, there are likely dozens of questions that customers ask you every day that you could easily make available via a chatbot. Simple questions such as “do you take reservations” and “do you offer free estimates” to more complicated questions like “do you have <product> in stock?” could be handled by a chatbot and free up your staff to focus on other things. Once you get comfortable with simple answers to questions and transaction queries, you could then move on to more complicated chats that might be able to address out of the ordinary requests.
Most important, chatbots provide instant feedback to customers, which is what millenials prefer. They don’t want to wait a day (or even 30 minutes!) to get answers to their questions. The instant gratification they have come to expect on their mobile phone transfers over to how they conduct commerce.
Given that this demographic is gaining more market power, it’s critical that SMBs serving local communities address their needs and buying habits. Chatbots are a great example of a tool that could improve your responsiveness and customer service while thrilling a growing segment of your customer base.
In case you’re wondering, we have started thinking about how to add chatbot functionality into your Bizyhood Page on your local publisher site – so you can try it out without any heavy lifting. If you’re interested in signing up for our beta, please contact us.