Chatbots seem a bit gimmicky. I mean, sure they talk to people and engage with them, but often they don’t seem to be all that good at interpreting what we’re asking. So are they actually useful? That’s a question a lot of companies are asking.

The answer, as far as most companies are concerned, seems to be an unqualified ‘yes’. Eighty percent if businesses, according to a business insider article, want to have chatbots by 2020.

But why? That’s the big question. What is it about chatbots that excites them? Well, that’s what we’ll explore today.

It will reduce the mundane questions

The vast majority of questions that customers have are the same ones. This is a huge time waster for your customer service team. That’s the first place where bots will help. They can answer these questions tirelessly for your team and release them from this drudgery.

That will serve to raise your staff’s job satisfaction as they get to leave the questions they’ve answered 10,002 times behind and instead focus on the questions that are actually a lot more interesting.

Even better, they’ll have more time to answer these questions correctly and deeply. The result? Both the customers asking the mundane questions and the ones asking the more advanced ones will be happier. The first because they got an immediate answer. The second because they’re dealing with customer service staff who aren’t bored out of their minds or incredibly stressed because they’re being called upon to answer too many questions.

It will create leads

Sure, it’s a bot. Most of us realize it isn’t actually a person who is asking us how we’re doing. At the same time, it is still speaking to us. And a lot of people will then feel called upon to respond. This can potentially create a lot of leads for you.

Then, when these leads are a little bit warmer, your sales staff can pick them up and pursue them. This will make it far easier on your sales team. After all, one of the biggest problems that they face is that of rejects. But that with the chatbots taking the brunt of the abuse and only passing on the actual leads that have some potential, they’re going to face a great deal less of that.

They raise customer satisfaction

As a lot of the questions people will ask will have scripted responses, that means customers will get their answers far more quickly than they usually would.

And that’s even true of the questions the bots can’t actually get answered for the same reason outlined above – the service staff that is on call will have to spend less time getting back to those basic questions and will therefore get to those harder ones far more quickly.

And as a timely response means people will spend a lot less time stressing about some feature of the software they’re using, that will raise customer satisfaction.

You can also use them internally

Have you got a position that requires a lot of people or has a pretty high turnover? Then why not create a chatbot to help with teaching the new arrivals? After all, turnover is a huge problem – particularly as often it will cost a lot of time on the part of skilled staff to teach the new arrivals.

Chatbots can help with that. They can answer the mundane questions, make sure the new staff learns the basics and tell the trainers when there is a problem they can’t actually answer.

Even better, because chatbots are naturally communicative and initiate instead of only responding, they give a real feeling that the trainee is engaged in a dialogue. That can be an incredibly effective way to keep them motivated and moving forward.

Your benefits are only as good as your bot

Sounds pretty good, right? Want to go online right now and get a chatbot installed? You might want to hold off on that. You see, we’ve spoken up the bot a lot, but there is one big caveat that we have to consider. And that is that if your bot is badly programmed, then it can actually end up undermining your business instead of advancing it.

There are a lot of bad bots out there. Make sure your company doesn’t create another one. You’ll want to make sure you work with people who actually know how to put chatbots together. You’ll also want to include both your sales team and your customer service team to hear what they have to deal with the most often and see if the bot can answer those questions or provide the information that’s necessary.

Just as important is that you write some really high-quality scripts that fit right in with your branding and your theme. Marie Fincher, a content manager at TrustMyPaper, says: “Make sure you have an editor on hand to mold the text more in line with what is actually your brand’s reputation.”

Because the truth is, a bot isn’t just a helper, it will create the first contact that your company has with people. And you want to make sure that’s the right tone for your company. Otherwise people might get confused, turned off, or even annoyed. And that will leave you even further from home.