Chatbots: A Unique Way for Prospects to Better Interact with Your Company
To be a successful business marketer, your expertise must extend beyond thorough knowledge of your product or service. You and your team must have salesmanship. People skills. Business savvy. A scientific mind.
That last attribute might seem out of place unless you’re selling chemistry test kits or Bunsen burners. However, there is a definite science behind the discipline of marketing that can give your business a competitive advantage if you and your marketing team explore it.
We introduced the idea of “marketing psychology” in Part 1 of this blog series called Science of Marketing. This three-blog series digs into the where, why, and how your potential customers find and interact with your brand.
It puts customer behavior under the microscope and discusses a few emerging marketing trends that could benefit your business if executed as part of your overall marketing plan.
Last time, we introduced Over-the-Top advertising, highlighting the “where” customers are communicating with you.
This blog will provide a look at the “how.” Specifically, it discusses the emergence of chatbots and how potential customers use them to interact with businesses.
Are Robots Taking Over the World?
No, robots aren’t taking over the world quite yet. OK, so you can buy a robot to sweep your floors. And robots, automation, and other artificial intelligence technologies are used in factories to increase productivity and lower production costs.
This type of automation and technology is also being implemented in marketing. One example is the increased use of chatbots on company websites and apps. Just like the one that greeted you when you visited our site to read this blog.
While there are many ways for potential customers to interact with your business - phone call, email, text, in-person meeting, video call - some are preferred over others. Some customers don’t want face-to-face interaction or shy away from a phone conversation. Maybe that’s you.
Think about the last time you ordered a pizza, bought a piece of clothing, or got a price quote for a home improvement project. You may have done all those things online without even interacting with a human.
Chatbots can be part of that online interaction by providing customers with additional means to interact with your company during the buyer’s journey. Answering questions. Building trust. Converting sales.
Chatbots and Customer Service
Using chatbots on your website or app is a technique that uses computer programing to automate interactions with prospects. Chatbots give your customers round-the-clock access to information about your business or product. It also allows companies to qualify and engage with leads anytime and in any capacity, regardless of whether or not your marketing and sales team are online.
Messenger chatbots aren’t powered by a human; they are built by one. They send leads and potential customers the exact messages you want them to see based on the rules you define.
Chatbots can be programmed to respond the same way each time, or answer differently to messages containing specific keywords, and even to use machine learning to modify their responses to fit the situation.
But not all chatbots leverage artificial intelligence. Some of these chat functions are manned by humans who can provide the same information they’d deliver in person. The chatbot tool serves as a desirable option for prospects who prefer to communicate primarily online. At least in the initial contact phase of interaction.
Despite some evidence to the contrary, excellent customer service has been, and always will be an important differentiator. In fact, it can be a deal-breaker when price and other considerations are equal. This is true just as much online as it is offline.
One of the main reasons customers stop short of completing an online transaction is if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly enough. Two of the common customer service frustrations are:
- Waiting to connect with the support or sales agent
- Staying on hold for a long time
Chatbots with machine learning capabilities can help companies redefine customer service in a significant way. And companies are starting to realize the value of integrating chatbots into their marketing plans.
Chatbots can be a helpful tool for building trust with consumers, too. Facebook reports that 69 percent of Americans who have messaged a business say that messaging capability makes them feel more confident about the brand.
How Chatbots Are Used in Marketing
Digital marketers are using chatbots in a variety of ways. In one survey of B2B marketers, 82 percent say chatbots are a valuable asset to their current sales and marketing strategy. There are many reasons to use chatbots, but not all of them may make sense for your business. We’ll discuss some below.
1. Increase Customer Engagement
Using conversational chatbots can drive customer engagement based on user data. Additionally, chatbots can deliver consistent answers to customer queries, which helps you avoid providing irrelevant information to customers.
When relevant and fast responses are delivered, customers may be more likely to stay longer on your website and maintain the conversation. And that’s really the goal, right? Providing communication options that your customers prefer. Happy customer = happy company.
To help boost customer engagement through chatbots, consider adding a personal touch to conversations, providing real-time responses, and delivering one-on-one answers.
2. Improve Lead Generation
Your business can use chatbots for lead generation. Bots can help qualify leads by asking relevant questions and directing potential customers to the sales team for immediate sales conversion.
Chatbots can also help prospects schedule appointments if your team is unavailable. Qualified sales leads can then be nurtured based on their customer journey.
But beyond benefiting your lead generation, the chats can help your customers make quicker and more informed buying decisions. That means lead conversion for you.
3. Monitor Consumer Data to Gain Insights
Chatbots are a valuable tool for tracking purchasing patterns and analyzing consumer behaviors by monitoring user data. This data can help companies market products or services differently and expand their reach.
Similarly, chatbots can collect feedback through simple questions and improve products or optimize the website.
How does this data collection and analysis benefit your prospects? It allows your company to better understand your customers’ pain points, limitations, behaviors and needs. Then, you can do a better job giving them what they want.
4. Devise a Conversational Marketing Strategy
Conversational marketing uses real-time customer interactions to move buyers through the decision process. It can help your business create positive experiences and build relationships with customers.
When brands use chatbots for marketing, they engage with people through targeted messaging, driving the conversion rate.
5. Improve the Customer Journey
Chatbots can help brands streamline the customer journey. You can create the right bot scripts, effectively engage customers, and answer their queries throughout the buyer’s journey.
Losing prospects halfway through a sales funnel is frustrating, but it can be avoided. Many things stop customers from purchasing, like a cumbersome check-out process, hidden costs or not having the right information to feel confident making a decision.
Anything that makes doing business with you easier is worth considering. Chatbots can streamline the process and customers will appreciate less hassle and more time savings.
Are Chat Bots Right for Your Business?
While chatbot marketing can be a compelling piece of a company’s overall marketing plan, it might not suit your business. That’s because, like with other tactics, it does have its limitations and challenges.
Here are a few to consider.
Limited responses: When programming the chatbot, you can’t possibly account for every customer query. Therefore, your chatbot will have limited responses. That means that while prospects may get a good bit of the information they were searching for, they may still need answers elsewhere.
Frustration: Chatbots rely on limited databases and may be unable to improvise when unexpected customer questions pop up. If the chatbot gets confused, the customer conversation could go in circles, causing frustration.
This is why it’s critical to monitor and learn from the data that chatbots deliver. This helps ensure you are answering their questions accurately and with as little missteps as possible.
Complex chatbots are expensive: Although chatbots can have all the benefits mentioned, sophisticated ones are expensive. So your team will need to weigh the costs and benefits of integrating a chatbot into your marketing tactics.
Misunderstanding language: It’s common for people to communicate using slang, abbreviations, or shortcut keys – primarily online. As a result, it’s possible that chatbots will not be able to adapt their language to that of humans. Bots frequently misunderstand slang, misspellings, and sarcasm. That means that a conversation with a chatbot could get confusing quickly.
More and more brands are using chatbots to communicate with potential customers. But they could be wasting their time and money without analyzing how they’re being used and how they fit into their overall marketing plan.
If you’re unsure whether the approach is right for your company, seek advice from a digital marketing agency that can help you answer that question.
Author’s BioSnigdha PatelSnigdha Patel is a customer experience researcher. (2023, January 27). 10 awesome chatbot benefits for your business. REVE Chat. Retrieved January 30, 2023, from https://www.revechat.com/blog/chatbot-business-benefits/#:~:text=Chatbot%20Benefits
Alkasingh. (2022, February 3). Advantages and disadvantages of Chatbots. Learn. Retrieved January 30, 2023, from https://techsenselabs.com/learn/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-chatbots/
6 types of chatbots - which is best for your business? Engati. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2023, from https://www.engati.com/blog/types-of-chatbots-and-their-applications
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