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Does your business need a chat bot?

by Venessa Paech

Does your business need a chat bot?

The worst reason to do something is because everyone else is. However, when a trend is so expansive that it starts to impact consumer expectations, it’s worth taking seriously.

Many organisations worldwide are now leveraging chat bots to support their marketing and customer service efforts.

But how can you tell if your business could benefit from a chat bot?

Here are some simple factors to help you determine if a chat bot could help you and your customers:

1. Customer support déjà vu

Does your business spend a lot of valuable time answering the same questions over and over? If even frequently asked questions aren’t helping stem the tide of customers that go through similar motions with you or your team, day after day, then a chat bot could be a lifesaver.

A well-designed chat bot excels at simple, repetitive workflows with only a certain number of pathways and options.

It could sit on key touch points (such as your website or your social media profile) and field those questions, directing them to the right information, product, resources or human as required. This lets you achieve considerable scale, while redirecting cost and effort into managing more complex or higher value customer interactions.

2. Out of the search wilderness

If your business is a complex beast, your website and digital resources might be similar. It happens frequently to organisations that perform a wide range of functions and sell a gamut of products and services. Even a well-designed navigational experience doesn’t always do the job of connecting customers to the information or insight the most need, and everyone arrives with a unique set of circumstances.

By running customers through some simple question and answer interactions, a chat bot can find and surface the most relevant bits of content from your website behemoth. You’ll save your customer time, keep them engaged proactively and hopefully deliver them what they need a lot faster.

3. Finding the diamond in the rough

It’s challenging to qualify leads coming to you digitally, even if you’re measuring and attributing those journeys intelligently.

You don’t want to bother people unnecessarily, but you want to learn more about their needs to see if you can meet them, then serve up the right path forward.

A chat bot can ask prospects qualifying questions to work out what they need and who they should talk to next. Unsuitable leads can be filtered in a different direction. And those who hit the mark can be forwarded with priority to a team member to follow up.

4. A calm presence in a storm

If your customer needs an urgent action taken, sometimes a chat bot may be best equipped for the job.

Perhaps they need to cancel a transaction or a stolen card. Double a previous order in a rush. Or send out a message to their own customer network via your services.

If the customer knows exactly what they need to do, a chat bot can be a great way to help them get on with it in a non-emotional way. The bot can quickly take the required information, quietly validate identity or customer details, and complete the task without fuss.

While some high-stress scenarios are best handled with a human touch, others are made more stressful if you need to tangle with customer service operators (who are typically under the pump and stressed themselves). Remember the aggravation of being transferred multiple times and having to repeat your dilemma?

A well-crafted bot can be primed to diffuse that pressure and get the job done quickly. Card cancelled. Order processed. And of course, it can escalate to a human being at any point if it decides it needs a helping hand.

Chat bots work best with added human

There are countless other applications of chat bots. But with all these, it’s still important to take care with the nature of the interactions between your bot.

Invest in quality language and behavioural design. This doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg; there are many great bot designers and tools to help you build a bot that resonates with your customers and doesn’t produce an impersonal or insensitive experience.

Transparency is essential – don’t try to trick people into thinking they’re talking to a human, they don’t appreciate the deception (and most are quite accustomed to chatting with helpful virtual assistants).

Just like any product or marketing strategy, consider your audience. Do they speak and engage in a certain way? Do they have sensitivities or qualities you’ll need to engineer into conversation design?

Assess your needs and there may well be some heavy lifting a chat bot can perform for you, freeing up the human element in your business to do more interesting, creative and rewarding work.

This blog post was originally published on our partner website, Firebrand.

About Author

Co-founder of SwarmConf, Australia's annual gathering of professional online community builders, and Director of Marketing for EdSmart, an award winning Aussie EdTech start up.

About Author


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