Chatbots and artificial intelligence have become extremely popular over the last few years. But what exactly are they? How do they work? And most importantly, how will they help your law firm or title company?
Chatbots vs. Live Chat
First, let’s take a look at what makes chatbots tick – and how they’re different from live chat systems and other customer management platforms you may have already considered.
You’ve probably used a customer service chat system before – and you may have been chatting with a robot without realizing it.
Most chat plugins use one of two systems: live chat or simplified artificial intelligence, otherwise known as a chatbot.
What is Live Chat?
A live chat system is similar to sending a text or instant message. A customer clicks into the chat system (typically a widget embedded on a website or installed in a web app), and they’re connected with a customer service representative who answers their questions over text.
This requires a rep to actually be signed into the service, ready and available to answer customer queries.
Pros of Live Chat
The good thing about live chat tools is that they engage your visitors and allow your business to give very quick responses.
Fast response times have proven to increase your chances of earning someone’s business, and the personal touch of speaking with a representative is an added convenience that many customers love.
Cons of Live Chat
The major drawback of a live chat system is that someone has to manage it: representatives are only human, and can’t always be available at a moment’s notice.
Unless you have a huge team of customer service reps whose only responsibilities are to log into the chat service and answer customer questions, your potential clients might be facing long wait queues, strict hours of operation, or the frustrations that come with human error.
Plus, live chat can get expensive!
The widgets can be pricey to add to your site in the first place, not to mention the paychecks and benefits that go to feed your army of customer service representatives.
What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot tackles many of the problems inherent in a live chat system, and solves them with simplified artificial intelligence. A chatbot can be programmed with the answers to your customers’ most common questions (along with the answers to many of the uncommon ones), and programmed to recognize keywords.
Pros of a Chatbot
One of the biggest benefits of a chatbot is immediacy – so long as the programming is sound, a chatbot can answer questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
So, a customer cruising your website at two o’clock in the morning can get their questions answered without waiting for a service rep – even on Christmas and Thanksgiving, too.
Because they don’t require humans to operate, chatbots are often a more cost effective solution to your customer service squadron.
Cons of a Chatbot
However, one drawback of chatbots is that they are limited to their programmed responses.
Chatbots are excellent to use as an interactive FAQ, but they can’t be expected to answer account-specific questions, especially if you’re dealing with sensitive client information.
The work-around for this is a chatbot that escalates difficult questions to a “real human,” either by directing the customer to fill out a form, adding them to a special queue for direct chat with a customer service rep, or offering a phone number to call for more info.
“[When a] chatbot can’t solve a customer’s problem, it might offer ways for you to collect your customer’s info, shortening the time it takes to resolve issues…”
In the case that a chatbot can’t solve a customer’s problem, it might offer ways for you to collect your customer’s info, shortening the time it takes to resolve issues once they call in, send an email, or join a different chat line.
Your customers and team members alike can also receive a written transcript of the conversation, so that your client can reference it if a similar problem arises, or your team has your client’s background info when it’s time to solve an issue in person.
What can a chatbot do for me?
One of the first questions we get asked is, “Why should I even consider a chatbot?”
The answer is pretty simple: they totally rock when your main clientele is made up of Generation X, Generation Y, and Millennials.
“Many adults, young adults, and teens would rather text or send an instant message, rather than pick up the phone”
It may seem simplistic, but many adults, young adults, and teens would rather text or send an instant message (and receive an equally instant reply), rather than pick up the phone or, worse yet, draft an email and wait for a response.
It’s 2019. The age of shrinking attention spans and multi-tasking. While reading this 800-word blog post, how many times have you checked your cell phone? (Be honest.)
Instant gratification is helpful for more than just quick entertainment – it can also connect your customers with immediate information, solidifying their decision to use your services in a faster.
How can chatbots help my law firm or title company?
How frustrating is it when a client demands to speak to a partner, only to ask a question that could have been answered by reading the contract or simply on your website’s FAQ page?
This is where chatbots come in – they offer the immediacy of a phone call with the personal touch of asking a quick question.
“Chatbots: offer the immediacy of a phone call with the personal touch of asking a quick question.”
Many companies even give their chatbots names for fun (with a disclaimer that the client is not actually texting a person).
A chatbot is only limited by what questions you tell it to answer. Artificial Intelligence on your website offers instant answers to common questions, which both gives your clients instant answers – and frees up your time too!
In short, not only do chatbots engage with your website visitors and free up your staff’s time answering questions, they also help you capture and qualify a lead.
It’s not quite time to welcome our robot overlords, but their friendly little cousins can definitely improve your business workflow.