Talk Shop with Chatbots

Chatbots for business
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Chatbots are not a new invention. That’s a given. But they’ve evolved and stand cardinal in today’s business world.

 

Despite their growing popularity, chatbots have been around for decades, but in different forms. The first chatbot, called Eliza, was invented by Joseph Weizenbaum in 1966. Chatbot technology was first introduced on a large scale in the 1980s when tech giants Apple and Microsoft provided human interfaces using graphics for their computer users. Fast-forward to 2016 – the first chatbots we know today were created to allow consumers to interact with businesses as artificial intelligence (AI) technology developed. Smartphones are what put chatbots on the map. As these devices became more common in the 2000s, the demand for chatbots increased. As chatbots evolve, so does their use. Businesses are leveraging the various features of chatbots to effectively communicate with customers, acquire new customers, manage customer service issues, and more. Here are some ways to use chatbots for your business.

 

Why are chatbots important to your business?

Attract potential customers

 

Chatbots are an effective way to attract new leads. Chatbots can be programmed to perform initial or routine interactions with your website visitors, such as basic information on products, services, seasonal discounts, scheduling demos and call-backs, and other regular service requests.

This helps your team focus on working with existing customers, managing day-to-day tasks, and making sales using other channels (phone, email, face-to-face).

 

Also, you should consider replacing your lead generation forms with chatbots, like what RapidMiner, a data science software company did. RapidMiner has replaced most of its forms with a chatbot.  RapidMiner realizes that leads can be converted faster using chatbots rather than email campaigns, which can take weeks for consumers to respond and act. 25% of its sales pipeline is influenced by a chatbot.

 

Answer customer queries

 

Does your company receive a high volume of customer inquiries every day? Your employees may not have the time to answer all of these questions on time. As a result, the quality of your customer support suffers and customers become upset.

Chatbots are a great way to answer customer questions. According to a case study, Amtrak, the railroad passenger corporation uses a chatbot to answer about 5 million questions per year. Not only are questions answered quickly, but Amtrak saved $1m in customer service costs in the year the study was conducted. It also saw a 25% increase in travel bookings.

 

Banks are known to use chatbots for service requests for account information, statements, collection of documents, responding to FAQs, capturing feedback, and addressing grievances. Certain banks have managed to automate 90% of their customer interactions. You may come across –

 

  • Amy from HSBC
  • Ceba from Commonwealth Bank
  • Citi Bot SG from Citi
  • Eno from Capital One
  • Erica from Bank of America
  • Eva from HDFC

 

Regardless of whether you’re a small business or a large company would see chatbots can be of great help when it comes to optimizing spend and improving the performance of your customer service team.

Interact with customers

Want your business to better engage with customers, but can’t figure out how to get there?

 

Chatbots for communicating with customers are popular because they are affordable, easy to use, and allow employees to focus on other tasks at work.

According to an industry expert, the open rate of an email marketing campaign for an e-commerce business is between 10-30%. Compare that to 60-80% open rates and 15-30% click rates when using chatbots.

 

It’s no surprise that chatbots are gaining the attention of small businesses, for whom interacting with customers is an important part of their business success. Another reason is their popularity among millennials, a huge consumer audience these days.

According to a study done by Mobile Marketer, millennials prefer to interact with chatbots daily about 40% more. In addition, one in four consumers uses a chatbot every day.

Research also shows that 83% of respondents prefer to use a chatbot that can schedule appointments and handle customer service requests. Respondents indicated that they would increase loyalty to a brand that offers such a chatbot.

Additionally, a chatbot can push out relevant stored data to personalize conversations with customers and make tailored recommendations.

 

Facilitate the payment process

 

Chances are you already have some kind of payment processing software installed on your business website. Many companies go a step further by using chatbots that allow customers to pay without leaving the chat room.

What if a chatbot could get your customer’s payment information directly from the chat room? Chatbots can even securely store payment information for repeat customers. This allows your customers to make recurring purchases in seconds.

 

 Automate the sales journey

 

To complement the previous section, chatbots can help your business simplify the sales process. It can be difficult for new businesses to achieve sales success. This is where a chatbot can come into play.

You can use a chatbot to streamline and simplify your entire end-to-end sales process. This means that the chatbot qualifies the leads and converts them into paying customers.

At the back end, the chatbot executes customer-submitted purchase requisitions so your staff can handle other tasks.  As you can see, customer service chatbots provide businesses with many benefits. Whether you want to run a chatbot on Facebook Messenger, your SMS chat, or your website, you’ll quickly see the time-saving effects.

Small and medium businesses can keep costs in line with their operating budgets, keep employees focused on other tasks, and increase sales at the same time.

 

Let us now look at some chatbot software providers:

Zoho Chat

Zoho Chat 

 

Zoho’s Live chat software, called Sales IQ, for your website and mobile apps helps you start conversations with users. Share pertinent information and capture leads while they’re still on your site. Zoho’s live chat software is equipped with features such as voice notes, returning to earlier discussions for reference, sharing screens, multilingual and real-time translation.

 

Zendesk Chat

Zendesk Chat

 

It is a live chat software that provides real-time messaging, mobile and web chat support for businesses. Zendesk Chat helps find lost customers and quickly increases conversion rates. With this, it automatically generates tickets from chat interactions and reduces customer wait times with skill-based routing. In Zendesk Chat, customers can rate you, which helps to get feedback for further improvement. Using APIs, you can integrate AI-powered bots. Files can be shared in Zendesk Chat. It solves customer problems quickly. You can gather information about your customers before starting a chat. Messages are targeted based on your customer’s behaviour.

 

Chatfuel

ChatFuel

 

Chatfuel is a chat tool that makes building bots super easy for everyone. This is the best platform for creating Facebook bots. It is loved and used by all types of businesses – its customer list includes the likes of Adidas and LEGO.

You can switch the conversation to a real person if the online bot can’t answer the customer’s question. No coding knowledge is required to create a chatbot. You can do this using its drag-and-drop features.  If you can’t develop your chatbot, their experts can do it for you.

 

Manychat

Manychat

 

 

Manychat is a tool through which you can create a chatbot in minutes without coding skills. The chat helps with marketing and sales through Facebook Messenger. Manychat supports more than a bunch of bots present on Facebook Messenger. It is one of the industry leaders in chatbot marketing. It offers various integration opportunities – integrate with Shopify to improve conversion rates. It can be easily connected with other marketing tools. You can generate leads in automation using DMs on Facebook and Instagram.

Drift

Drift

 

Get a 360-degree view of your customers with Drift’s chat software, also called the conversation cloud – a combination of what Drift calls Conservational Marketing, Sales, and Service. The chat software is designed to provide real-time user insights, and proactive engagement through video, email, phone, or chat.

 

There are various plans you could choose from these bot providers. The cost depends on the scope of activity for the chatbot and the support services required from the bot provider.

 

Conclusion

 

Before you implement a chatbot for your business, have a strategy in place. The finer points of the strategy should include –

Define the purpose of the bot and the KPIs you hope to achieve. List down as many scenarios as you can envisage for the bot.

Define a personality for the bot – Male/ female, warm, knowledgeable, and reassuring.

Script and test responses with multiple user segments through simulative exercises.

Prepare a bot integration plan with all your digital touchpoints.

Our advice is to start with simple steps and not complicate your operations by trying to automate processes (for the bot to handle) all at once.

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