Consumers want more companies to use chatbots.
In a digital age, it's virtually impossible to grow a business without a digital marketing strategy. Taking this a step further, we believe that having an integrated sales & marketing strategy is the most effective and consumer-focused way to earn and retain customers.
While a digital marketing strategy can be robust or streamlined, one customer-facing marketing tactic that’s been growing in effectiveness and popularity over the past couple years is the use of chatbots.
Check out these quick stats:
- 80% of brands plan to use chatbots by 2020.
- 35% of consumers want to see more companies using chatbots. People are learning to expect a real-time connection with companies via live chat.
- 80% of the inquiries addressed by chatbots are resolved within the chat.
Chatbot applications are being used within Facebook, Slack, Telegram, SMS, and large brand websites. Big companies like Mastercard, Spotify, Fandango, and Whole Foods have fully embraced this technology.
You’ve likely encountered a half dozen chatbots within the last month. Some of them were so good that you weren’t entirely sure if you were interacting with a human or a bot. Others may have been slightly off — speech was awkward and the rhythm of the conversation was wonky — which gave the impression that a bot was at the helm.
Evidently, there are good chatbots out there that can provide great customer service — it just requires finding the right chatbot and developing a strategy for using it effectively and efficiently.
So, what about your company? Ready to try using a chatbot? It’s definitely within reach.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is an automated computer program that is set up to interact with humans online.
Because they are set up to answer thousands of commonly asked questions using content that you write and respond to inquiries 24/7, they provide real-time help to potential customers, which potentially contributes to their decision to buy.
Chatbots can also be used to delight current customers and promote upsells or add-ons. It’s all in how you set up the bot. You control the answers and next steps that are programmed into the system.
Why use chatbots?
When chatbots are implemented and used correctly, they can effectively support and scale business growth. They're capable of routine tasks and can answer commonly asked questions — that's how they can save you time and resources.
Here’s a short list of ways a chatbot can help your company.
- Immediate reply 24/7. Prospective customers can send an email or leave a voicemail message, but their queries will not be answered immediately. This is where chatbots are very useful. Bots respond promptly.
- More conversations at any given time. Having one-on-one conversations with every customer who asks questions is challenging, but adding a chatbot into the mix allows scalability — more conversation can be had with more customers.
- Less ongoing effort. Millennials prefer to research on their own without having to contact or talk to customer service agents. However, they are willing to interact with a chatbot. While it may take some time to set up the chatbot and may require tweaks and inquiry additions along the way, the ongoing effort is far less, freeing up employees to focus on other tasks.
Here are more reasons to use a chatbot for your business.
A quick word of advice: while a chatbot is a valuable asset to your company, it should primarily be another opportunity to provide a great experience for potential buyers.
Where’s a good starting place?
In addition to reading articles like this one about chatbots, you can download our Chatbot Starter Guide. It covers best practices for qualifying leads, booking meetings, providing customer support, and scaling your one-to-one conversations — all with a chatbot. The guide also covers how to:
- Ask the right questions to ensure your chatbot personalizes each person’s experience
- Formulate chatbot conversations including questions and answers
- Uncover what the visitor or user of the chatbot is trying to accomplish
If you’re ready to jump in, here is a list of chatbots to explore.
If you’re a little leary of how they work or how much time it will take, keep the investment risk-free by trying a free chatbot software to start. Obviously, with a free version, there will not be as many features to utilize as you'd find with a paid version.
Here's a complete list of all chatbots along with user ratings.
- Zendesk Answer Bot
If you're currently using a standard chatbot, but want to upgrade to an AI-powered one, here's a list of the best AI chatbots from this year.
- Watson Assistant
Depending on the chatbot software you use, you can create bots that help you qualify leads, book meetings, and provide answers to common customer support questions. You can assign prospects to email lists and lead nurturing workflows. You can even configure your bot to handoff conversations to a live agent once qualified. There are many ways to include chatbots in your digital marketing strategy.
Beyond the common uses, chatbots can also be implemented creatively in conjunction with industry events or trade shows. For instance, our client, in2itive Business Solutions, an agency that handles full-service billing and coding for Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC), attended a trade show with high profile competitors. To help in2itive stand out from the competition, we worked together to create a bot that would ask multiple-choice trivia questions to visitors signing into the event's wifi. The questions were designed for the user to have fun while engaging with in2itive's brand. Following the bot's sequence, users had the opportunity to ask their own questions, a natural way to capture their information. To learn more about this chatbot application, read the full post here.
Could you use a little extra marketing support?
As we head into 2020 and you're developing your digital marketing strategy for the year, you might want to consider adding chatbot implementation and use in your plan. If you need help, we'd be happy to assist. We're a full-service marketing agency specializing in strategy formation, inbound marketing, website development, and branding. So, if you're interested, let's partner together to create a stellar digital marketing strategy — we'll be sure to include a CHATBOT plan of action!
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