Approximately every decade, a new user interface revolutionizes how people interact with technology. This was the case with graphical user interfaces (GUIs), touch UI (iPhone), and voice (Alexa, Siri, etc.) Conversational AI chatbots held that promise when we first started, and now they are everywhere. Bank apps, airlines, insurance companies, and most other businesses we deal with now use chatbots as a primary tool for support. Why are chatbots so popular?
- Human habits have changed, and people now demand meaningful answers immediately. Old-school solutions like call centers and live chat simply cannot deliver this level of service.
- Interactions have moved to mobile devices, and websites on mobile devices need help to deliver a good experience.
- People prefer impersonal communication and don’t want to talk to people to get answers to transactional questions.
Knowing why chatbots are popular, how does it influence who you buy from? There are many options — free chat and widgets, paid bots, and full-stack marketing solutions. Here are a few things to consider when choosing which bot works best for your business.
Purpose & Functionality of Chatbots
Consider the purpose of the tool you are looking at. Think about why you need this specific tool. Then keep in mind how this particular tool functions. Ask yourself if the functionality fits the purpose you are trying to fulfill. Complete a demo or a trial of the product to find out how it works and ensure it has all the features you are looking for. Read reviews or chat with someone who has used the product before to see how it works in the real world. Will this tool solve the problem you are trying to resolve? Ask yourself these critical questions before making any decisions.
Integrations & Partnerships
Next, consider how the tool integrates and partners with other platforms. You shouldn’t need to limit the functionality of other tools for a new one to fit in. If a new partner asks you to limit the functionality of one tool to bring on theirs, that can be a red flag. Ensure the tools you consider integrate with your existing products to provide the most helpful functionality.
Information & Reporting
You will want to ensure that your new tools have great analytics tools. Find out if the reporting that is offered will show you metrics relevant to your business practices. Your reporting should help you decide how you do business, but that can only happen if you see the correct information to form those processes. Confirm that the tool you use is transparent about information and openly sharing that with you. If you can pull or schedule reporting from a dashboard, that is a great sign.
Value & Pricing
Find out what the pricing will be to bring on this new tool. Is this realistic for your budget? You’ll also want to consider the value you receive for the price. Can you find similar features for a better price? Many tools will offer a free trial period or a testing feature that can help determine if this tool is worth bringing on.
We know that sometimes adding new tools can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! We recommend considering 2-3 options and comparing what they offer against the price. Often it can be helpful to create a spreadsheet that includes all the features you are looking for and mark off which ones are available on the platforms you are looking at. It may sound like a lot of effort; however, it’s better to spend time upfront choosing the right product rather than rolling out a new tool that doesn’t perform. That way, you do not have to roll out a different product quickly. Remember, your tools are there to help you and not make things more challenging. So be sure to select the best tools for you and your team.