Omnichannel communication is one of those buzz phrases you hear a lot. While it involves a lot of syllables, it’s a concept that tries to cover every way you interact with your prospects and customers. Emails, phone calls, website clicks, live chats, and anything else you might use all comprise your omnichannel e-commerce and communication.
Considering how vast that concept can be, it’s not surprising that companies are looking for automation tools to help support and expand communication efforts. At the top of that list of tools is the chatbot. Chatbots are purely automated omnichannel software tools that converse with customers on your behalf. They can deliver messages, answer questions, and even process sales.
Since tools like these are evolving rapidly, it’s crucial to clearly understand how chatbots fit into omnichannel messaging and precisely what they can offer your business.
Advantages of Chatbots in Omnichannel Communication
Chatbots have grown as an aspect of omnichannel messaging because of the powerful advantages they provide.
For starters, they offer 24/7 availability. Since they are bots, there are no staffing issues, overnight pay hikes, or other conflicts. They simply remain available all day, every day.
Stemming from those points, it’s easy to see how chatbots are also quite cost-effective. Typically, bots are easily powered by existing server access, meaning they have virtually no sustained operating cost.
Lastly, bots are efficient. A single chatbot can have many conversations simultaneously, even personalizing those conversations. As long as your system has enough resources to support it, there isn’t really an upper limit to the chatbot conversation capacity.
How Chatbots Can Enhance Omnichannel Communication
It’s one thing to appreciate the benefits of a chatbot; it’s another to understand exactly how the bot might work with your communication strategy. Ultimately, a chatbot can do four specific things in conjunction with your omnichannel e-commerce systems: It can integrate with any or all of your channels; it provides consistent responses; it can gather customer data you can use for insights; and it improves the customer experience.
Since the chatbot can integrate with as many channels as desired, the scale of these tasks is entirely up to each business.
Implementing Chatbots Into Your Omnichannel Communication Strategy
If any of this sounds enticing, you can implement chatbots by following four relatively easy steps.
First, choose your chatbot. Many options are available, and with the rise of more sophisticated text artificial intelligence tools, you can get very powerful bots for a relatively affordable price. Companies like Mitto are offering a range of options already.
Once you choose your bot, designate its rules to reflect your brand. Clearly, the bot should stick with your general messaging and tone, and with powerful bots, you need to be careful they can’t put the wrong words in your mouth.
Next, ensure your bot is user-friendly. This is a matter of engineering and iteration. Devote the time and resources needed to clean up your bot before rolling it out for widespread use.
Lastly, train your bot. This step can be rolled in with the previous step. The point is that you want your bot to be able to handle the many scenarios it is likely to encounter.
The Future of Chatbots in Omnichannel Communication
Everything above is based on the current state of chatbots, but they’re evolving extremely rapidly. With the launch of GPT-3 (much less GPT-4 and later models), chatbots can effectively mirror human levels of conversation. You can build your own branded bot on top of these existing platforms, enabling your chatbots to handle far more conversation than ever before.
The fact is that bots are on the rise, and that isn’t going to change soon. This is one of those crossroads moments where you can adapt quickly or get left behind. Your competitors will explore powerful AI chatbots, and the potential of those bots is expanding faster than anyone can predict.
Here’s the bottom line: Chatbots offer a lot, especially in omnichannel e-commerce, and those opportunities are growing exponentially. Chatbots already offer opportunities to save money, expand your insights, and improve customer relations. By the end of this year, chatbots will be able to do considerably more, and that’s only the beginning.