A few months ago a colleague of mine suggested voice recognition software so that I could speak my articles instead of typing them. It sounded like a great idea until I tried to use it. I found that even as a moderate typist, my ideas somehow were cultivated by my fingers on those keys. When I tried to voice them, they were stilted and forced.
Needless to say, I never saw much use for the voice-activated AI stuff like Amazon’s echo products either. Sure they’re cool, but what would I really use them for?
Then Amazon dropped their price to something I couldn’t pass up and I thought, I’ll try it for entertainment’s sake.
It seems silly that typing words like “what’s tomorrow’s weather” could grow so cumbersome but they have. I’m quickly realizing that when it comes to getting answers (not writing articles) that I am in love with chatbots.
Because they allow me to multitask. I can handle multiple questions or conversations at a time when it comes to chatbots, online chat, and texting. While I wouldn’t do that all day, handling multiple issues over text and chat is preferable to me than returning calls that went to voicemail because I was already on the phone.
But how valuable is online chat on your chamber website?
How to Tell if Your Chamber Is Ready for Online Chat
I’m not sure that online chat is the right tool for chambers, but seeing as how Millennials would rather text than talk, it may become a needed tool in the future. Here are some early signs that you might be ready now.
- The types of questions you’re asked. Simple, repetitive questions could be answered easily by chatbots and online chat.
- You have inquiries outside of non-traditional business hours or you’re out of the office often and the office is closed when you are.
- You want to improve engagement. People who chat with sites are more likely to make purchases from them. According to bold 360 those people are 4.5% more likely to buy.
- You or your staff are tied up with easy questions that require 1-2 lines to answer.
Some chat software allows for pre-programmed answers to common questions, which could be a big help in improving efficiency. But ultimately, chamber work has always been about connections so no one is in danger of being replaced by these tools. It would be nice to turn over the same old, same old questions to someone else.
For now, the cost of entry may be prohibitive for chambers but as more and more people rely on AI, chat software, and chatbots to answer questions, these features may become website expectations.
Should you go for it now? Maybe not. Then again, we could just ask Alexa.
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