For business owners, digital disruption is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, disturbing the established order and practices has made it much harder for some businesses to survive. However, that same disturbance led to many new opportunities opening up for businesses that we’re able to adapt. Plus, you’re always getting great new tools that make it easier to run a business. Chatbots are one of those tools.

Chatbots have gone a long way since their early days as standalone programs that struggled to get the attention of the business world. The rise of messaging platforms, social media and the consumers’ need for instant answers to their questions shined a new light on chatbots. It just so happened that the change coincided with the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and we got what we have now. Great tools that can lower costs, engage customers, and benefit your business.

Chatbots and Customer Support

If one of your business goals is to improve customer support, chatbots are a solution you should strongly consider. Hiring people to staff a 24/7 customer support line costs money. Businesses will usually either create an in-house team or outsource the work, and they’ll usually offer support only in a limited timeframe.

But that might not be enough for a tech-savvy user. People have come to expect instant gratification with the use of online tools. It doesn’t matter that it’s midnight, if they want to get in touch with you, they’ll want to do it right away if they’re online. Hiring support staff to cover your social media, website, and messenger apps can get very expensive quickly. But a good chatbot will be there 24/7. It might not be able to offer the full range of support as its human colleagues do, but it can still do plenty.

The Wave of Automation

Chatbots are a part of the ongoing wave of digital automation. Even though they cannot completely replace humans when it comes to customer communication, they can do a good enough job at fulfilling customers’ needs and showing them attention. But the automation applications of chatbots go beyond customer support use.

You can automate anything from reporting, ordering, and resource management with chatbots. Instead of assigning employees to do these manual and tedious tasks, you can have them do things computers and apps can’t. With a relatively inexpensive chatbot solution, you can free up your human resources for the more important, qualitative work.

Chatbot and Integration

The major advantage of chatbots is that you can easily integrate them with your digital assets. You can have a chatbot cover your instant messaging channels and be in charge of customer interactions there. This can be a great branding opportunity because you can give a personal touch to a chatbot and have them communicate with a distinct voice and tone. Chatbot personality development is all the rage right now.

But your chatbot can also be a useful little helper to the people who visit your website. If you have an online store, for example, the chatbot can give personalized recommendations. There are plenty of opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.

The use of chatbots isn’t new, but it still hasn’t reached the mainstream. This year might be the tipping point. In some markets, people’s attitudes are showing such a wide acceptance of chatbots that it will soon be safer to use one than not. If you think your business could use a chatbot, this should be the year when you finally get on board. The earlier you adopt and get your customers used to chatbots, the easier it will be to integrate upcoming solutions.