How CHATBOTS Can Help You Improve SALES & CUSTOMER SERVICE?
Remember that cool website you visited? The one that got your attention and made you come back looking for more. Yes, that’s the one! Did you ever stop and wonder what was it that made you remember it and go back to it? More often than not, it is the feeling. The feeling that you are being taken care of, the feeling that they know what they are talking about.
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As a business owner, two of the most important things are – getting the attention of prospects and encouraging them to come back for more. However, it can be tough to cut through all the marketing noise that envelopes your prospective customers who have a shrinking attention span. One of the most engaging and valuable ways to establish a direct connection with the customers today is a chatbot. Today, there is a need for a certain agility in customer service, and for faster, effective communication, which is where the chatbots have managed to bring about a kind of revolution changing the way the businesses interact with their clients.
What is a Chatbot?A chatbot is an artificial intelligence (AI) software that can simulate a chat or a conversation with clients or users in natural language via messaging apps, websites, mobile apps or even the phone. The primary concept of a chatbot is the conversation. Integrating a chatbot on your website or a mobile app can only be of any value if it can convincingly carry on conversations quite like a human while communicating with a user or customer. Chatbots created with AI-powered platforms are more than mere (but critical) customer support tools though. Apart from providing assistance, chatbots may also be used for a variety of purposes like entertainment, research, and promotion of products, services, or even a personality.
Reasons to use Chatbots for your BusinessOne of the more recent research conducted by MarketsandMarkets revealed that the chatbots market that stood at USD 703.3 million in 2016 is expected to grow exponentially and reach the elusive figure of 3,172 million by the year 2021. The chatbots are evolving rapidly, thus easing out the process of data collection for businesses, increasing the sales for the business, facilitating real-time customer support, and delivering a more efficient and satisfying user experience. Chatbots have the potential to optimize customer interactions across a number of touchpoints which influence the customer’s decision to complete the purchase. Apart from this, as chatbots simulate conversations with humans, they have also managed to simplify the way businesses operate.
- Eliminate the Need for Human Supervision
- Generate Leads
- Reduce the Response Time
- Round the Clock Support
- Add a Personal Touch
- Engage & Retain Larger Audiences
- Collect Customer Feedback & Data for Analysis
- Push Relevant Notifications
- Make Your Brand Proactive
- Seamless Movement of Your Customer Through the Sales Funnel
- Be Proactive on Social Media
- Save Up On Customer Care
Chatbots can be easily installed and are simple to use. Also, they have the ability to keep working for hours without the need to be supervised by humans. When implemented as a business strategy across the entirety of a business, Chatbots save time and precious human efforts which can be put to a more productive use which are on a higher priority.
Businesses that manage to make good use of chatbots to promote their products among their target customers eventually turn a great chunk of the visitors into paying customers and sometimes even into regulars or loyal customers for their business.
Intelligent chatbots do not only respond to the customer queries, but also have the ability to up-sell or cross-sell. This means that your business chatbot can ask one of the visitors on your website “Hello! How can I help you today?” and then offer links to products that are relevant to their responses and preferences.
This is an age of instant gratification where the online customers are expecting real time response from you as an answer to any query that they may have. In such cases, if you leave them unattended or hold them off until you respond to the other customers, they might end up getting frustrated and might even leave before you have managed to make any sale.
This has often known to result in cart being abandoned and quite a damaging word of mouth about your company. However, when you have a chatbot, you can offer a better customer experience as you reduce the response time while making the conversations a lot more interactive. It has been predicted by Gartner, that by the year 2020 an average person will interact more with chatbots than with their partners.
The fact that chatbot is not human can actually work in the favor of your business! It does not have human limitations, it never sleeps! It simply means that a chatbot is always online. You and your business can simply relax in the belief that your customers are getting round the clock support, every day of the year. The times when it took several minutes, sometimes hours to get a response from businesses are long gone and the modern-day businesses are moving on from it. Chatbots can help businesses modernize communications with speed, accuracy, and round the clock availability.
How do you feel when someone on your favorite store’s app greets you as “Hello, Customer!” and how do you feel when they greet you by name? The latter would definitely hold your interest. As chatbots integrate with social media, they can easily gather data about every person that they interact with. This means that when a customer comes to the chatbot with a query, not only do they answer it with great accuracy, but also enhance the whole customer experience by making suggestions that are suited to the customer’s interest and preferences.
Chatbots have the unique ability to engage with the customers and even retain them, and unlike any other form of marketing, they have the ability to keep the customers entertained for a longer time. If you were trying to attract the attention of your customers with the help of let’s say a video, it is only successful till the video lasts. Once the video gets over, there isn’t much to offer from it.
However, when it comes to a chatbot, it can not only attract their attention, but also have the ability to learn from the interaction, further sending relevant information about your products, services, and any other offerings to the customers according to their preferences. By engaging the audiences through personalization and carrying on a conversation with the customers, chatbots reserve the ability to up-sell & cross-sell quite efficiently.
Using Chatbot is a great way to gather valuable feedback from your customers. In general, customers need to be motivated by incentives if you want them to fil out surveys or questionnaires. A chatbot takes care of this by gathering valuable data and customer feedback by introducing the questions all through the conversation in a natural, unassuming manner.
When the chatbot is equipped with the right machine learning tools, it gains the ability to analyze the feedback and any other information that it gathers from users offering you a valuable insight into the real expectations of your audience. This can be really helpful in remodeling your marketing strategy that is centered around the needs of the customers.
No one wants to receive a horde of generic emails with meaningless content that they have no interest in and a bombardment of SMSs on phones is definitely not going to earn any brownie points for the sender. Not every customer wants to know about every little new development that is going on with your company and the interests harbored by individual customers. By capturing and analyzing data, Chatbots gain the availability to send personalized notifications through social media that are of relevance to each individual customer.
It is not uncommon for the brands to settle into their comfort zones and adopt a passive approach to customer interactions and only interact with their customers in the event that they come looking for them. However, when you employ a well designed chatbot, every visitor is greeted personally, whether it is on your website, app, or social media page, helping the users understand that help is at hand! This earns your brand a reputation for being proactive and engaged with the customers, thus increasing customer interactions and boosting your sales eventually.
One of the most crucial parts of any company’s marketing strategy is nurturing the leads, but it is also a painfully time taking activity. Chatbots however, with the enormous data resources that they have built can help you create personalized messages that would then guide your customers through their buying journey.
The best way to make your chatbot lead nurturing campaigns more effective, it is a good idea to get all the collected data together and conduct split testing on the personalized messages. This approach can help you tweak your marketing efforts to suit each and every lead that ends up on your website, app, or social media profile.
It is impossible to expect the customer care executives to be able to respond to each and every query that comes your way through social media, and if you were to put in all your efforts to achieve it, it is going to be terribly time-consuming and hence pretty expensive too! When you have a chatbot on your social media profiles, you are offering the customers some real time help and are also establishing a refreshing & active social media presence for yourself.
One chatbot has the potential to take on and perform the work of several customer care executives and quite efficiently so. This can only mean one thing, you are basically saving up a lot of money that would otherwise have been spent on customer service. It’s true that the chatbots cannot completely replace the humans from customer service, but it’s equally true that a balanced combination of humans and chatbots can bring better results with lesser costs.
How to apply Chatbots to your Business?The chatbots were developed with the intent to bridge human limitations as much as possible. Hence when you integrate a chatbot into your business page or app, you are gaining a huge competitive advantage over everyone else who doesn’t. Following are the steps that can help you apply a chatbot to your business.
- Gathering Requirements
Lay out the objectives that you want to fulfil with your chatbot and decide clearly what purpose are you looking to fulfil for your business and for your customers. Before building your chatbot, you must convey it clearly to your programmers whether you want the chatbot to generate sales, respond to customer complaints or queries, build a CRM channel, or perform any other relevant activity.
You can begin by figuring out what it is that bring the most benefits for your company and then attempt to figure out ways to connect these objectives within a single application. This process is of great importance, especially if you are concerned about the budget (who isn’t?).
A business has a lot more than just a perennial customer support system by getting a chatbot. However, before you begin with the actual process to develop the chatbot you must gather important information. This step would make sure that you have a smooth design & development process in your hands.
Important information like product knowledge, data about target customers, flow of conversation, and the workforce is important if you want the chatbot project to be successful. Apart from putting all this information together, there is a need to think about the features and services you would want to incorporate in the chatbot. Create a conversation tree, record keyword response & databases, and make sure that you explore, study, and map out all the key elements of creating a successful chatbot.
Keep customer experience at the center of everything that you do while building your chatbot. Hence it is important to lend a human touch to every conversation that they make with the customers for an enhanced user experience. Make sure that the chatbot uses language that is not only easily understood, but also is free of any technical terms or jargons. Make the conversation quality more engaging and enjoyable by introducing emojis or other graphics. It is critical that you leave some scope in the chatbot and lend it a flexibility and adaptability to upgrade according to the latest technological advances.
Be prepared before you launch your chatbot, and make sure that your chatbot is tested thoroughly. At the initial stages you can opt to roll the chatbot out only to a select group of people, keep an eye on the responses you get from this group, and gain an understanding of the expectations that a user has from your chatbot. Keep enriching the response library with more and more content as and when you see the need.
Bugs and UX issues might interfere with the working of your chatbot before it goes live and even after going live. For the chatbot to function flawlessly, there might be a need for some iterations. There would always be a need for some changes, as you must understand that offering an exceptional user experience is not an easy feat. If your chatbot gets stuck, and you still need further iterations, do learn to take it in stride and do not get unnerved by it.
Characteristics of a Successful ChatbotThere are quite a few companies who are catching on to the benefits of getting a chatbot, but somehow, not everyone can replicate the success that some of the chatbots end up enjoying. What is it that sets one apart from the other. Appy Pie has listed them down for you to employ and enjoy.
- Provide the customers an alternative means of communication
- Create a likeable, relatable Avatar
- Provide Options For Efficiency
A chatbot that is unintelligent can be quite a pain to deal with, and most people would try and avoid them if they could. To truly increase the chances of your chatbot making it to the top, feed it with as much information as you can, and then provide your customers an optional means to connect with a human executive through call or chat. Here, if the chatbot is unable to help the customer out, they would be happy to speak with a customer care executive.
Even if the customers know that they are speaking to a chatbot, they would appreciate a human touch. When you build a chatbot, it would do you well to create a fictional character that seems like a real person and use it as an avatar for your chatbot. People connect better with people, but expect efficiency & accuracy of a machine.
The technology might have gained a certain status and respect, but it is still in the early developmental stages, hence the efficiency of these chatbots is still not complete. It is hence, advisable to create options for efficiency by adding possible answers to questions that the chatbot might be unable to comprehend.
ConclusionIt is all about instant gratification today, no matter which business niche you are a part of. Customers expect quick replies and instant resolutions from businesses and do not have the patience to wait 24 hours for an email or business hours to call in. This is exactly why customer service and sales have benefited in a massive way from chatbots on their websites or apps.
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- IBM Watson Chatbot: How to Create a Similar Chatbot