You’ve probably seen chatbots in action. They are on all sorts of websites, from major retail chains to mobile phone service providers and many other types of sites and apps. At first, you might think you’re talking to a real person. Usually, a popup appears with a picture of an agent, along with a name. The agent asks something like, “May I help you with anything?” or, “Do you have any questions?”

Chatbots can be quite advanced. Using artificial intelligence, many of them can almost manage to fool users into thinking they are speaking to a real person. This is beneficial, because it allows companies to lower their overhead by using chatbots to replace customer service agents, sales personnel, or support technicians. Only when the chatbot is unsuccessful in helping the customer must a real agent step in. Facebook recently released a host of data proving the value of bots for business:

  • 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses monthly
  • 56% of people would rather message than call customer service
  • 53% of people are more likely to shop with businesses they can message
Using artificial intelligence, many chatbots can almost manage to fool users into thinking they are speaking to a real person. Share on X

Some of the things bots are good for include:

  • Save Time & Money
  • Generate Leads & Revenue
  • Guide Users to Better Outcomes
  • Provide ‘After Hours’ Support
  • Engage Users in a Unique Way

Are there downsides to using chatbots? Sure, there are downsides to any technology. The biggest drawback is

that artificial intelligence, no matter how advanced it may be, is not yet at the level that can replace actual humans. This inevitably leads to failure to help customers sometimes, which may end up frustrating the user enough that they leave your site. Many bots are poorly programmed because they have been rushed to market to take advantage of the surge in chatbot use. As with many technology related solutions, the cheapest solution isn’t always the best. Building a chatbot is much like building a quality website – it takes time to program and test, which converts into a very real investment. According to CMSwire, “I see that an average Facebook Messenger chatbot for small business marketing purposes costs from $3,000 to $5,000. I have also seen companies spend upwards of $50,000 for a chatbot.”

Facebook allows pages to build bots that are integrated with “Facebook Messenger.” Humans can step in and interrupt the chat as needed. You can see how this works on the WebStores website – I have programmed a chatbot that appears in the lower right of our website – try it out. This bot is meant for demonstration purposes – to show you some of the things we can make the bot do. In fact, try asking it a question that isn’t a canned response. Facebook ads have the option to have someone start a chat session as the marketing objective, which is a great way to engage potential customers.

The other type of chatbot is one that resides solely on your website and is not integrated with social media. These are great in that it doesn’t require anyone to have a Facebook account to interact with the bot, and can be tightly tied to your shopping cart, where the bot can make product recommendations. So, it really depends upon what you are trying to accomplish as to the type of bot that makes the most sense for you.

Remember to click on the chatbot on this page and test it out. If you’d like for us to help build a bot for you, call us at 877-924-1414 – the cost may be more reasonable that you might think based on the research we’ve done. We are super excited about this technology and how it can help you.