Tetiana Shataieva
Apr 14, 2022 | 8 min read

Customers’ expectations have changed. Today 82% of users expect an immediate response from brands, and around 73% of customers prefer to get their questions answered via live chat as it’s the most satisfactory form of communication.

Meeting these expectations while maintaining a high quality of customer care is a major challenge for companies. With a growing volume of queries and a limited budget for a support team, you might feel a bit lost and unproductive. But you should not. 

This is the perfect moment to think about the tool that can facilitate your work. And here, an FAQ chatbot can become your salvation by taking at least some of the workload from the support agents. In turn, this will allow them to focus on more important cases and increase productivity. 

How useful can such a chatbot be? What type to choose? What are the use cases for the tool? Let’s explore everything step by step. 

What is an FAQ chatbot?

An FAQ chatbot is a bot that assists users by providing answers to the most frequently asked questions. It operates based on the question-answer format, which feels a lot like a conversation with a real-life person. Basically, it’s like an FAQ page but much better. 

How does it work? A user provides a query in chat and gets their reply immediately from a bot. It’s an easy way to teach customers about your brand, product, and service and direct them to the appropriate website page. The best part here is that chatbot is available 24/7 with no breaks (except for technical ones 🤖)

Even though in this article we focus more on FAQ chatbots for customer service, this tool can also serve well for internal support. Let’s talk about it more precisely in the next paragraphs. 

Why do you need an FAQ chatbot?

It’s not news that customers appreciate their time and don’t like searching, scrolling, or waiting for the business to reply. Moreover, 90% of users consider an immediate response as a very important factor in customer service. Knowing this, don’t tell your clients to go and search for the information on their own. Offer them a few options and let them choose.

FAQ chatbots can help you create a conversational landing page, improve company productivity, and also: 

  • Free your staff from answering repetitive questions that can be easily answered by chatbots, and let real people deal with real challenges.
  • Offer multi-language support, users will appreciate that (start small and add more languages by degrees).
  • Increase customer engagement by providing immediate responses. 
  • Make information available and save visitors time as they don’t have to go to a specific page and scan through all the information provided. 
  • Collect users’ contact information to follow up on their queries, and make sure they are satisfied with the answer provided. 
  • Improve customer satisfaction by giving swift answers to their questions.

Overall, the interest and usage of chatbots have been growing dramatically over time. And it looks like this tendency won’t go away any time soon.

What are the types of FAQ chatbots?

Chatbot for FAQ can be powered by pre-set responses, artificial intelligence, or both. Thus, we can break it down into three main types of bots: 

  • Rule-based
  • AI
  • Hybrid. 

Rule-based chatbots

Rule-based bots communicate using predefined scenarios. Just like in a simple mobile game, the program always sticks to the script and responds to users’ actions in a predetermined way. If a player does “this”, then “that” will happen. No other options. 

What I mean is that chatbot gives answers based on a set of if/then rules of different complexity. Support managers define and implement these pre-set rules. It’s also worth noting that rule-based chatbots don’t understand the context of the dialogue. They are capable of providing the right answer only when a user includes a keyword they were programmed to respond to.

So when a rule-based chatbot gets a question, it first looks for specific keywords in the sentence, like ‘order’ or ‘product’. After that, it tries to match them with programmed answers in its database. As soon as the bot finds the matching information, it immediately provides it to the customer. 

However, if a visitor uses a word that is out of the scope, the bot will fail to find the right answer to the question. What’s then? You can program your chatbot to ask a user to rephrase their question or transfer the query to a live agent. 

Due to their simplicity, rule-based chatbots are extremely easy to build and train. The price will make you happy as well 🤑 Another benefit is that the behavior of these chatbots can be designed from A to Z, which allows businesses to deliver a predictable customer experience. On the flip side of the coin, rule-based chatbots can’t learn on their own, they only provide responses from a predefined set of rules created by your team. That means your customer experience with rule-based bots is pretty linear.

AI chatbots

FAQ chatbots with artificial intelligence software communicate using machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), and some of them even leverage sentiment analysis. (Wait, what?) Let’s take this slowly.

Machine learning can help bots to identify patterns in user input, learn from other interactions, and even make decisions.

Natural language processing allows chatbots to understand the context of the dialogue despite grammatical mistakes or jargon.  

Sentiment analysis is here to let bots comprehend customers’ emotions.

Although AI chatbots are more advanced, you need to train and build them with a set of predefined answers just like rule-based chatbots. Over time, they can learn from past conversations without the need to be constantly updated. AI chatbots FAQ can make communication more personalized as they can send targeted messages, speak different languages, improvise, answer more complex questions and provide fast human-like support. 

The other side of the coin is that these bots are much harder to build. It requires more time and money. Among other challenges you have to be aware of:

  • Data security. As AI chatbots constantly collect and store your customers’ data, it’s your responsibility to transmit and keep it in a secure manner. Can you ensure that?
  • They are still just machines. Yep, most AI chatbots still can’t recognize human emotions or change of mood.

Hybrid

These chatbots communicate with people using the combination of both rule-based and AI benefits. On the one hand, they are trained to say specific things when answering user queries but they can also leverage NLP in order to recognize the user’s intent.

How to choose the right chatbot for FAQ?

Choosing the type of FAQ chatbot depends on three main factors:

  • Business gaol
  • Industry
  • FAQ database
  • Integration channel. 

The most important factor is your business aim. So, what are you looking for? Do you need a bot that can reduce the workload of support agents and answer some straightforward questions? Or, a chatbot that is capable of nearly replacing an agent? 

The next question is, how much time and money can you dedicate to the chatbot design? The rule-based type is perfect for a tight budget and immediate help (especially if you already have an FAQ page hot to trot). The AI and hybrid chatbots deliver to the needs of large businesses better as they can handle a huge number of requests of varying complexity. 

Speaking of the industry, if you work in the retail niche and offer several products, your chatbot will require better human understanding in order to identify the user’s intent and assist them in their shopping experience. Your customers most probably use different forms of questions and the chatbot must be able to match the words to the right products. Moreover, it has to be profound in pricing, discounts, and even competitors’ solutions to be really helpful to a visitor.

The type of chatbot also depended on the volume and complexity of the FAQ database. For instance, AI chatbots require a huge load of training data to perform better, whereas rule-based bots can operate perfectly well with a low or moderate volume. The choice is yours 💁‍♀️

The last but not least determinant factor is the integration channel. If you interact with users through several channels and store the whole data on one customer communication platform then you would better go with the bot that this software offers. It will help you to avoid the difficulties associated with the use of several tools for communication, which inevitably makes it impossible to synchronize or analyze data properly.  

However, if your company is focusing on just one communication channel then you have a wide range of companies to choose from when selecting your chatbot provider. 

What are the use cases for FAQ chatbots?

Generally, a chatbot for FAQ is used as a customer service bot to answer visitors’ common questions. Depending on the company goals, businesses can integrate the bot in various ways for both customers and employees.

For customers

Users can benefit a lot if you offer them a chatbot for frequently asked questions in addition to the help page. This way, they get an assistant that is available around the clock, responds in seconds, and manages multiple users simultaneously. 

Chatbots can be good at capturing new leads. When chatting with a person, they ask for personal information and redirect it to the sales team. Later, you can use these contact details to create a personalized approach, send special offers, and move the lead through the sales funnel. 

AI-powered FAQ chatbots can cross-sell and eventually increase revenue. Smart chatbots learn from past conversations and can suggest matching products, provide info about promotions, and encourage customers to buy other products or services. 

For employees

Chatbot FAQ can serve as a substitute or an auxiliary tool for an internal knowledge base or onboarding pack. Imagine, you have a big company and a newcomer joins your team. Predictably, they have a lot of questions about everything, starting from schedule, holidays, through weekly meeting times, to technical product issues. Chatbots can help a lot here and allow new members to get the answers they need. 

Wrap up

As customers’ expectations are growing, businesses have to look for new solutions to increase productivity and maintain a high level of satisfaction. One of those solutions might be a chatbot FAQ that can answer user queries 24/7.

There are three main types of these chatbots. Choose a rule-based bot to deal with simple repetitive questions. It’s an ideal way to support users while saving your own time and money. 

Go with an AI or hybrid chatbot, if you offer a variety of products or services and have a huge customer database. It will help you handle the big live agent call or ticket volumes. 

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