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Providing excellent customer service has always been a priority for successful businesses.

However, the method in which these businesses engage with their customers has evolved over time. For years, the standard options were in-person visits, phone calls, and eventually email—all viable options still prevalent today. But, in the last decade, more companies have started to offer live chat as an additional communication channel. Most recently, the rise of automation and AI has created new methods for assisting customers in search of answers, advice, or guidance: chatbots.

Here are three things you should know about this emerging technology.

Tremendous potential to free up human resources & increase productivity

Many of the questions or concerns from customers are often easily answered or solved. It's not that the solution is difficult, but that it's tedious or time-consuming for one person or a small team to field all those requests.

Common questions like "Are you open on Saturdays?," "Where is your nearest branch location?," and "Where can I pay my bill on your site?" can all be answered by a well-designed chatbot. Freeing up employees' time so they can tackle more complex customer issues or strategic initiatives can greatly increase productivity.

Possibilities beyond customer service

Customer service is one of the most common arenas we've seen chatbots deployed, but when companies begin to consider their capabilities beyond simple customer interactions, a wide array of possibilities and potential applications emerges.

Many companies, including Lightburn, use them for internal processes. Whether you want to automatically notify a whole team of changes to meetings or calendar events, or be able to chat with a client or colleague in another country with instant translation of a foreign language, chatbots can be used to accomplish tasks that used to be tedious or even impossible.

They won't replace human interaction entirely

Despite how far the technology has come in just a few years, chatbots shouldn't be viewed as a holistic replacement for human interaction with your brand or company. It's important to continue offering ways for your customers to reach a real person. No automated system can replicate personal touch, offer creative solutions, or forge a relationship as well as a human can.

Chatbots are only going to become more ubiquitous in both our professional and personal lives. The best companies will realize the value they hold in increasing efficiency and serving customers at a large scale while being mindful of the continued importance of engaging with customers on a human level.

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