When you’re handling your own online business, talking to your customers is often your biggest priority. While this is a bit easier when you’re starting out, once you get 30 or more messages a day, it can get a bit complicated.
Consider this…Why do hotels have front-desk officers? They’re the first to make contact with customers. They address concerns before seeking to ‘speak to the manager’.
You can do the same thing by hiring customer service representatives. Of course, it can be costly in the long run.
So when the idea of an automated system able to handle customer concerns first came out, business and brand owners got excited! The thought of having a “bot” to handle your front desk eliminates a lot of the issues.
Simply put, a chatbot is A.I. (artificial intelligence) code that “chats” with your customer either through social media channels or other 3rd party channels. The bot can gather information and use said information to sort out concerns and provide preliminary support. The idea is that if a bot can actually answer the questions a customer has, they won’t need to talk to a real person.
Exciting as it sounds, chatbot technology can still be considered early in its development stage. But we all know Alexa now… so the tech is improving! Every month, new chatbot technology is being introduced and all of them seem revolutionary.
Chatbots are actually a step back in terms of technology – Unlike modern apps, chatbots are quite simple and don’t have any GUI (graphical user interface) experience to speak of. The logic behind chatbots work this way:
1. Chatbot asks for input
2. User inputs issue/concern
3. Chatbot tries to narrow down the issue.
4. Chatbot offers answers based on an issue or concern raised.
The simplicity of how it all works is the main reason why it can be used by just about anybody for any setting.
Chatbots can be used to gather information – If you have a business that revolves on gathering information about your customers (with their consent, of course), a chatbot is a perfect way to gather said info. No need to hire one person to do it for you. A chatbot can gather all pertinent information about the customer and it can collate the data for you for future use.
Chatbots can set appointments – With a little bit of tweaking and some customization, a chatbot can handle your appointment setting for you. When paired with an appointment setting services, a chatbot can help your customer set a preferred date for a service or meeting.
Chatbots can showcase your products – While you can just upload photos of your catalog on social media for everybody to see, a chatbot can help out a customer who might get confused while browsing. You can set your chatbot to showcase a gallery of all your products under a specific category. You can even include details about each product and the price. Customers will feel like they are talking to a salesperson who is eager to help point them in the right direction.
Chatbots can help you sell – Are you selling something? A chatbot can make it easier for you to sell your products with minimal intervention. With various customizations available, you can have people checking your products and buying them right within the chat. You can send a blast message to all your followers who opted-in about new promotions or special prices.
Chatbots can be added to your funnel – If you already have a marketing funnel in place, you can add a chatbot into the mix to get even more customers from social media. Depending on the funnel you have, you can set the chatbot to convince your customer to make the next logical move down your sales funnel by providing them with solutions and relevant information about your product or service.
Chatbots can help keep your customer happy – Chatbots aren’t all about making a sale or showing your product. A lot of chatbots out there also have the added benefit of being fun. For example, you can give your chatbot a specific voice or character. You can make your chatbot male or female. You can even make your chatbot tell random jokes every now and then. The possibilities are endless.
There’s a lot of information out there about chatbots and a number of platforms that can help you create your first chatbot within minutes. I dare you to explore and discover other things you can do with chatbots.
What other things do you think chatbots can do in the near future?
One way to stay competitive in modern business is to automate as many of your processes as possible. Evidence of this is seen in the rise of self-checkout at grocery stores and ordering kiosks at restaurants. Click here and start creating your own chatbot today!
You can also learn a ton over at ChatbotLife.com … it’s a full (and totally free) resource to get you up to speed on what a chatbot is and how to create one.
Full Disclosure: We’re working on our own chatbot using Collect. Chat for our own business here at Laughingbird Software – the links above ARE affiliate links and we do get a small commission if you decide to buy. But we wouldn’t recommend this product if we didn’t use it ourselves – it’s really good 🙂