In this article, I want to go over this question. Answering it should be at the root of your chatbot journey, pretty much before you do anything else.
Two approaches to business chatbots
We talk and write a lot about the different types of chatbots available. Although there is a few number of them, I believe businesses, at a high level, can take two approaches to business chatbots.
This is the most popular type of chatbots for a business. At the very least, it is the type of chatbots most people think of when they imagine a business releasing a bot.
A customer-facing chatbot is a chatbot that enhances the customer's experience of the company's product or service. It is very much geared towards making the experience faster, more efficient, or even just simply more fun.
Companies looking to develop a customer-facing chatbot need to think of many aspects of that build, from initial scope to budget and marketability. I wrote extensively about that entire process throughout our blog, particularly in this article. Give it a read if you think this is the direction your company is headed.
Why is a customer-facing chatbot a good idea? Our research shows over a third (35%) of consumers actively want more businesses to deploy chatbots to assist their journey. Not only that, 43% said they believe a business that adopts a chatbot strategy right now is innovative.
These are only a few of the many perks to going the customer-facing route.
The second approach to chatbots for business we can take is less known to the outside world: company-facing bots.
A company-facing chatbot is a chatbot that enhances or streamlines processes internal to the business. It is used by the employees to assist them in their daily tasks, freeing up time and resources to focus on the customers (or any area that requires a human touch).
While this may not be what initially comes to mind when you think of a chatbot for business, companies are in fact very aware of this opportunity. About 60% of the chatbot enquiries we get every day are for company-facing bots.
Why is a company-facing chatbot a good idea? Whatever business you are in, there are tasks you (or your employees) do over and over again which can be automated. Aside from automating tasks, internal chatbots can also make employees more efficient by being an always-on listener and answering questions. By 2020, 80% of businesses will have a chatbot automation in place. I predict a big chunk of them will be company-facing.
Picking the best chatbot for business. Then the other?
So, we have two distinct approaches to a chatbot for your business. One is for your customers, the other is for your employees.
Picking one approach or the other is, obviously, at the root of your chatbot journey.
That said, no one is stopping you from doing both.
Drawing from experience once again, it is very common for big businesses to approach us with the idea to integrate a customer-facing chatbot first, then expand to company-facing (and vice versa).
Whichever you end up choosing, you will discover why chatbots can have an incredible influence on your business. Start planning your project using one approach, but leave room for the second one to come along later. Trust me, you will want it.