Chatbots are changing the way businesses and marketing teams operate. Reaching customers and prospects directly is easier than ever thanks to chatbots, which interact with users through their preferred messaging and social media apps.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is an automated program that interacts with customers just like a human would. They typically work through logic and machine learning. A chatbot that functions with logic is limited, as it can only respond to a set number of requests and vocabulary. A chatbot that functions through machine learning uses an artificial neural network inspired by the neural nodes of the human brain. The bot is programmed to self-learn as it is introduced to new dialogues and words.#Chatbots will be responsible for cost savings of > $8billion annually by 2022, up from $20million in 2017 @forbes Click To Tweet
What are the advantages of using a chatbot in your business?
Chatbots operate 24/7. They are also relatively inexpensive to create and deploy, and have minimal ongoing costs (except perhaps future development). In simple terms, businesses can increase their efficiency and reduce overheads.
Chatbots can also:
Chatbots can be great sales tools that help boost your conversion rates. AI-powered virtual assistants can directly help your sales team close more deals by providing them information during a sales call. These bots can also allow your clients to place, edit, and check on orders once they’ve been processed, creating a positive experience that will potentially lead to future sales.
Chatbots allow you to measure engagement in real time, meaning you can identify when your audience is most active and push promotions to them based on their behaviour.
One of the most exciting parts of implementing a chatbot is the ability to collect information about your target audience, which will help you build better marketing and sales campaigns. AI-powered assistants can collect this information from social media profiles, browsing habits, or by directly asking users about their interests.
Qualifying prospects is not a new concept, but chatbots let you take it to a whole new level. By analysing browsing and purchasing patterns, interests, and other relevant demographics, you can qualify prospects and show your sales team where each prospect is located within the buyer’s journey. They can then focus on leads that are close to becoming sales, and nurture prospects at the top of the funnel.
Creating a lead base is a great start, but you have to nurture them in order to turn them into customers. Chatbots help you nurture your leads because they set up direct communication lines with your customers and send relevant pieces of information at crucial parts of the decision-making process.
Launching a promotion via your chatbot means that users can receive personalised promotions to their mobile device, increasing your chances of landing their business.
Like all digital marketing and sales tools, chatbots can collect and analyse information that you can then use to build more effective campaigns.Chatbots will power 85% of all customer service interactions by 2020 @gartner_inc Click To Tweet
Getting started with chatbots
While making a robot sounds complicated for most people, creating a chatbot is way, way easier.
If you have a business page on Facebook, you might want to consider Chatfuel – a chatbot creator for Facebook Messenger and Telegram. Chatfuel will guide you step by step in making your own chatbot, without any coding needed. You can edit a response as well as add content with simple hyperlinks.
ManyChat lets you create a Facebook Messenger bot for marketing, sales and support. It’s easy and free.
The visual drag and drop builder makes it easy and fun to set up your Facebook Messenger bot. No programming required – just connect your Facebook page to ManyChat and you’ll be up in no time.
Facebook has its own platform that lets you create a bot via their official page. It is, however, a bit more advanced than the other chatbot creators on this list, and you have to set up some functions yourself.
There’s still a lot of work to be done with chatbots, but they are becoming more sophisticated by the day. Getting on board early means you can test and tweak the best setup for your business. It’ll take some time to figure out the capabilities you need, and how your chatbot can offer an excellent customer experience. Rest assured that it won’t be too long until chatbots go mainstream.
Does your business use a chatbot? How does it help you or your customers? Please share your comments.
Content marketer, blogger, author and tech geek.