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Pros and Cons of Automated Messaging

Pros and Cons of Automated Messaging

Many businesses have turned to automated messaging on their websites and social media pages.  You can make use of automated messaging features to various different extents, from merely implementing a welcome message with some basic business information, to having full conversations with customers through a bot.  

If your business has not yet implemented any automated messaging, you may be wondering about some of the benefits and downfalls of using it.  There are definitely both pros and cons, although overall, it is generally beneficial and worthwhile to implement some sort of automated messaging.  This can vary based on the specific needs of your company, so we’ve outlined the major pros and cons of automated messaging below.

Pros 

Here are three of the largest and most important benefits of using automated messaging. 

Save time and money 

By far the biggest benefit of automated messaging is the amount of time, money, and resources that it can save your business.  Just like automating any other process, automating your messaging will help you save on labor costs.  It’s no secret that manually responding to customers’ messages and emails can be quite time-consuming.  If even a portion of that time can be cut back by automated messages, it will allow your employees to devote their time and attention elsewhere, to tasks that can help bring in more money for your business.  

Save your customers time 

It’s not only you who can benefit from automated messaging.  You could be saving your customers valuable time as well.  Oftentimes, people message a business with a quick and easy question that would take only moments to answer.  However, with multiple other messages, emails, and calls to attend to, there is not always someone immediately available to respond, so customers can be left waiting hours for the answer to a simple question. If you have automatic responses set up for commonly asked questions and basic business info (like hours of operations, address, menu, etc.), many of these questions will be answered without the customer needing to wait for a human response.  

Quicker responses during “away” hours 

Automated messaging can not only help save your customers time during your work hours, but even more so during times you are away.  This can be especially true for small businesses, who may have only one or two people responding to all messages who may not work during the evenings and weekends.  Automated messaging can first and foremost let people know that you are away, so they do not expect an immediate response.  But it can also help answer their questions and serve them.  Your away message can include links to your website and other business info, and you can have automatic responses set up to directly answer certain commonly asked questions.  This way, you and your employees won’t have to decide between working during your time off and leaving your customers hanging. 

Cons

Along with the pros above, there are a few cons to keep in mind when it comes to automated messaging.  

Can feel impersonal 

Sometimes, automated messages sound like just that.  It is clear that they are not personal, human responses or that they came from a bot.  In certain cases, this can rub people the wrong way, or make them feel like the business does not value them as a customer.  As a company, you should try to build your automated messaging in a way that mirrors real human interaction as closely as possible. But no matter how hard you try, there will always be some customers who appreciate the quick, automated answers to their questions, and some who do not.  

Can be annoying

Auto responses can also become a nuisance in certain cases.  They are built to be helpful, to answer customers’ questions, and to save your business time and money.  But not every single question can be answered by a bot.  There will occasionally be times where a human conversation will be needed to clear up a situation.  In these cases, having automated messages may just add extra steps to wade through to get to the final solution.  Be wary of overusing automated messages and not allowing customers the option to speak with a real person when needed. 

Requires time and effort to be set up correctly 

Finally, although it will almost certainly save time and money in the long run, there is no denying that getting an automated messaging system up and running will require a substantial dedication of time and resources upfront.  You will want to make sure that whatever system you decide to use is working well for your customers, answers all common questions, provides enough information, and doesn’t leave anything out.  If you do not invest upfront, chances are your automated messaging will not be nearly as helpful as it could be, and may even cause more trouble than it’s worth.

All in all, if you have the means and the capabilities, your business will almost certainly benefit from implementing automated messaging to at least some extent.  Whether you merely offer introduction and away messages, or you transfer almost all of your communications to be run through bots, there are many opportunities for automated messaging to help your business and make your life, and your customers’ lives, easier.

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