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Should Your Business Invest In AI Chatbots?

A chatbot is essentially a piece of software which is run by artificial intelligence (AI). They allow for customers to communicate with a company in an instant messaging format and are a good way of communicating quickly.

Barrie Dowsett

Chief Executive Officer


5 minute read

A chatbot is essentially a piece of software which is run by artificial intelligence (AI). They allow for customers to communicate with a company in an instant messaging format and are a good way of communicating quickly. You may well have seen chatbots on certain websites, where a box pops up with “How can I help you?” or something similar. They’re also found in social media messaging apps and mobile applications.

Although chatbot technology has been around for some time, the last few years have seen leaps forward in the technology behind them. This has allowed chatbots to become much more advanced, becoming a crucial part of many companies’ customer service operations.

Why are chatbots important?

Chatbots offer a way to make the interactions between a company and its customers more effective and efficient. This in turn can improve relations between the two, and build trust in the brand. At the same time, companies can use chatbots to harvest considerable amounts of data from their customers, for example buying habits, customer engagement and customer experience.

However to be a success, chatbots need to be almost human in their ability to carry out tasks effectively. Real people actually play an important role in this, as human input is vital in developing, configuring and optimising the chatbot application.

How can chatbots be integrated into a business?

This depends on a vast number of factors, not least the size of the business and the sector it’s in. Chatbots are typically bespoke to the business and its aims, but much of the thinking behind them is similar. Chatbots can:

1. Engage and excite customers

Let’s face it, achieving a response to a question from a “person” who isn’t actually real is pretty cool. However, it’s essential that to maintain high standards of customer experience, chatbots should work across multiple different devices and be bug-free too.

2. Allow for better personalisation

Chatbots can bring improved customisation of a website visitor’s experience. It appeals to the human side of us, and feels like our favourite brand knows and appreciates us. For example, chatbots are able to recommend products to a customer based on their purchase history. This is a good chance to boost sales, and can be very helpful to the customer as well.

3. Mean more time for human employees to do other things

AI-based chatbots can take a large number of daily customer service tasks away from your human employees. This frees up their time to get on with other things that are perhaps more important. Bear in mind though that particularly complex or unusual queries will still need to be dealt with by a real person. Although chatbots can be programmed to ‘learn’ and become smarter over time, it’s still important to set your chatbot to screen calls, so that only simple queries or issues are resolved this way.

4. Obtain customer data

Achieving useful business intelligence is now easier than ever thanks to chatbots, as they’re great for customer data gathering. This data can then be explored to gain a range of customer insights which can help you improve your services and innovate new products based on their requirements.

5. Provide an opportunity to upsell and cross-sell

Encouraging customers to buy more than they intended is a great way to bring in more revenue. After all, how many times have we popped into the supermarket for a couple of items only to be enticed by offers and come out with a trolley full?

Chatbots can be configured to promote particular products and services based on a customer’s current purchases. Additionally, by providing accessories and other add-ons, chatbots can more easily cross-sell these to your customers before they check out.

6. Manage your social media channels

When it comes to a brand’s online presence, social media platforms are essential. There are in fact around 1.5 billion people in Facebook Messenger alone, and 145 million daily active users on Twitter. With so many potential leads across a range of social media networks, it’s essential to have a team of agents to deal with a continuous stream of queries, leads and comments. Or of course, get a chatbot to do it all for you.

But how can I finance my innovative chatbot ideas?

Chatbots are great but meeting the costs of developing them can be expensive. Whether your company already works specifically in chatbot technologies or you’re in a totally separate industry and need to buy the knowledge in, costs can soon mount up. Luckily, R&D Tax Credits are on hand to help.

R&D Tax Credits

The government recently announced its plan to increase R&D tax relief spending by £22 billion by 2024-25, plus an additional £1.5 billion across all regions and nations. The R&D Tax Credits scheme was originally launched back in 2002 as a way of incentivising companies to innovate using the tax system. However, many companies are still missing out, often because people over-estimate the level of innovation required to claim, or wrongly assume that their organisation isn’t eligible.

Who can claim?

Any UK company who has undertaken innovative research and development activities in the last two years can claim R&D Tax Credits. The scheme is generous too, offering as much as 33p in every £1 of R&D expenditure.

You don’t have to be developing chatbots either! It doesn’t matter which industry your company operates in, how big the project is/was or even whether the project was successful; if scientific or technological advancement has been made then a claim will likely follow.

Why not find out more on our R&D Tax Credits page.

Are you due R&D tax relief?

Think you might be due some R&D tax relief? If so, the R&D tax experts at Myriad Associates can help. We will look into your case with you, confirm which projects/costs are eligible and then put together a fully optimised, successful claim. We’ll also offer advice and guidance whenever you need it, and our 100% success rate speaks for itself. So why risk missing out?

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