Chatbots only started appearing a few years ago, but they have quickly caught on. Most people have now encountered the fun but a surprisingly natural experience of chatting to a computer program.
Now, chatbots are everywhere—and they are here to stay. Because they have caught on so quickly, it’s no surprise that businesses are putting them to great use in a number of ways.
If you have not yet experimented with chatbots for your business, here are some of the meaningful ways that you can start using them today.
Recommended reading: Steps For Boosting Your Website Traffic and Leads
1. Provide Faster Customer Support
One of the single best uses for chatbots is to speed up your customer support. You probably know already how important good customer support is for your business. You might provide various ways for customers to get in touch with you, such as via phone, email, and social media.
Live chat is one option that has become more popular over recent years because it speeds up the process and allows customers to get answers to their questions straight away.
But chatbots take live chat even further. With a chatbot on your website, customers can get answers to their most pressing questions in seconds with no waiting around. And you don’t have to hire someone to constantly be available to chat with your website visitors. This is 24/7 support that never sleeps.
Chatbots are perfect for answering the most common questions that visitors to your site ask. Sometimes called FAQ bots, these chatbots have all the answers to the questions your staff normally get asked hundreds of times a day.
It will save your support team countless hours answering basic questions so they can focus on the more complex questions and issues, boosting productivity. And visitors to your site won’t have to search for answers because the bot will have them ready.
2. Suggest New Products to Visitors
When someone lands on your website, you could use a chatbot to suggest products to them. This can be a valuable way for e-commerce sites to sell more products, particularly if you don’t use dropshipping and own all of your own stock – any goods you don’t sell can quickly become dead assets.
Rather than searching the website for something that looks interesting, they can ask the chatbot for tips. They might be looking for a new shirt, but they don’t know exactly what they want. A chatbot can suggest brands, colors, and more to provide them with the information they need.
H&M uses a chatbot to do just this. Customers simply tell it about an item of clothing that they own, and it suggests an outfit to go with it. Using a chatbot like this provides value for your customers, improving their experience—while helping you make more sales.
3. Get More Leads
Lead generation is constantly evolving, and chatbots are getting in on the action. Generating leads is hard. After all, how many people who land on your site actually turn into leads? Even if you manage to direct a large amount of traffic to your site, getting people to sign up to your newsletter or purchase a product is a challenge.
A chatbot can help by prompting visitors with questions and suggestions when they land on your website. It could ask different questions depending on which page they are on. For example, if the visitor is on a specific product page, the chatbot can offer to answer questions about that specific product.
This is the sort of thing that is often too expensive and time-consuming for staff to do—but a chatbot makes it easy.
4. Abandoned Cart Notifications
There’s not a single business which wouldn’t benefit from improving its abandonment rate. People arrive on your site, find something they like, add it to their cart … and then disappear. If you stop this from happening it will make you more money. Simple.
Often, you can encourage more people to buy the items they have abandoned by sending targeted emails reminding them. These can be effective—but chatbots can be used as well.
The next time the person lands on your site, set up the chatbot to remind them that they have something in their cart and offer to process the transaction. You could even throw in a special offer or say that the price will increase soon.
Experiment with this and try it out for yourself to see if you can get better results from a chatbot than from emails.
5. Increase Engagement
Chatbots may be robots, but they can actually be used to boost customer engagement when you use them properly. You can make your chatbot humorous, for example, and change the answers it provides to match your brand tone.
This could be a vital tool if you’re thinking of buying a business. If you’ve picked up a brand with all the tools in place, increasing engagement levels could turn an undervalued asset into a profitable company.
Some chatbots can change their responses based on the answers they receive, all in real-time, providing a way to engage with website visitors and encouraging them to stay on the site for longer.
6. Schedule a Chat
If you sell a product that is more involved and requires the customer to speak to someone on the sales team in order to go to the next stage, a chatbot can be helpful here too.
You could set up the chatbot to recommend a meeting. This can be very effective for giving your visitors a nudge when they are making a decision about purchasing by recommending they talk to someone on the sales team.
Your chatbot could even schedule it in for them by recommending a date and time, and even sending a reminder. This can be more engaging and personal than just filling out a form.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that chatbots are here to stay—and that’s a good thing. After all, they can make running your business more productive. But perhaps even more importantly, customers like them.
Often, there is a trade-off between streamlining your business operations and maintaining high customer satisfaction. Chatbots save money and boost your productivity at the same time as improving the customer experience. It’s a win-win.
As chatbots get more advanced, there will undoubtedly be even more ways you can use them to drive engagement, improve the customer experience, and make more sales. For now, the above six ideas are a great place to start.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she looks at the latest developments in the digital world. You’ll find articles covering ecommerce, social media, content marketing, and more.
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