Chatbots and live chat technologies are transforming the customer service model and sales processes. Slowly but surely, chat systems have gone from the pesky little pop-up that interrupts your browsing experience (okay, there are still a lot of those ones) to the fast, 24-hour support we expect from brands in today’s digital world. By 2020, it’s expected that 80% of businesses will be using chatbots, and recent stats show that consumers support the move toward AI (artificial intelligence):
- 53% say they are more likely to shop with businesses they can contact by chat
- 56% prefer messaging support over calling customer service
- 66% favor messaging systems over other communication forms with businesses
Setting up a chatbot or chat system isn’t simply pushing the “on” button though. Like any service or sales process, these communication tools require careful consideration and monitoring. Careless set up of your chatbot can deter visitors and devalue the customer experience. But, when they are implemented correctly, a chatbot can become one of the most important additions to your team.
Whether you’re just beginning to consider chatbots or you’ve already got one that needs a bit of optimization, we’re sharing our top four tips for effective chats.
4 Keys to Making Chatbots Part of Your Team
Tie it to the FlywheelThe flywheel model puts the customer at the center of all marketing and sales activities, anticipating needs and creating a buyer journey with the least amount of friction as possible. It is important that your chatbot reflects this. This means that all decisions made during chatbot implementation should be intentionally segmented to a section of the flywheel (attract, engage, or delight).
Some examples of this would be:
- Attract: A simple chatbot on your homepage acting as a 'concierge' who points prospects toward what they're looking for. Having this option for new site visitors is a great way to reduce any potential friction in their first interaction with your brand (arguably the most important interaction).
- Engage: A chatbot providing supporting information, additional resources, or an option to contact your company that shows up on a popular blog post. This puts next steps in front of a buyer who is already engaging with your brand, and helps them move along seamlessly and effortlessly.
- Delight: You may find a delight-oriented chatbot on a product page, but only showing to cookied visitors who are marked as customers. This bot can be tailored to someone who already knows your brand and products well, and may be looking to re-order, upgrade, or simply find answers to a question about a product they've ordered.
Assess your team’s needs and capabilities
Simply building your bot and setting it live on your site is not enough for success. Any chatbot you implement will still need close monitoring and management. Certain levels of immediacy are necessary for making the tool effective and efficient. If your team doesn’t have the bandwidth to respond to requests immediately, reconsider how and when you use a chat. Having a plan in place before adding this function to your website will help ensure success. Sketch out the top questions users are likely to ask and build out solutions that are likely to drive them forward in the buying process. What challenges are you trying to help customers overcome? Build those into your bot plan ahead of time to give the tool purpose and vision.
Put the right bot in the right spot
There are a variety of types of chats that you can put into place, but keep in mind that the bot you choose should serve its intended purpose and intended audience. You should never be using a chat as a catch-all! Each bot you use should have its own job. Designing your chats around specific functions will drive you toward better results. Before setting up though, determine which type of chat will help you meet your goal:
- Live chat – These require high capacity. A live chat should be treated just like a phone conversation. The employee managing the chat needs to be directly engaged, with a deep understanding of what questions will come from the visitor. If you have the resources to dedicate a team to managing your live chat, this could provide you with the greatest potential for customer delight.
- Lead-qualifying bot – Think of the qualifying bot as the concierge to your business. Based on the reason they are visiting, the user could be directed by the chatbot to the destination that best serves them. Gradual education and information collecting is the best recipe for a lead-qualifying chat system.
- Support bot – This is the bot that takes your user experience to the next level. Problem-solving is the basis of this chat and it’s applicable in all stages of the customer journey. For companies with high call volumes or reps that answer the same questions repeatedly, a support bot is extremely useful in pointing them to FAQ pages or knowledge centers.
Every platform has their own suite of chats, so it would be beneficial to explore what’s available to you. A popular bot for HubSpot users is the book-a-meeting bot that integrates to your calendar, making sales appointment-setting an automated breeze!
Create a conversation
Successful chatbots are focused on the user and their narrative. Chatbots that are just a data collector are deceptive and frustrating for visitors. When you’re building chat tool, keep conversational marketing in mind. This founds your bot’s strategy in navigating users down a useful path that is more likely to convert them into buyers. Asking a slew of questions up front blocks them from the value of the interaction. Instead, if you allow the user experience to drive the story, you’ll be able to guide a flowing conversation that helps you gather the information you need while supporting their needs.
Wondering where to start? Let's talk through a chatbot strategy together with a free marketing consultation!
About Launch Team, Inc.
We are a multi-dimensional, highly focused marketing firm that has helped companies in technical and engineering-driven industries succeed. We've been doing this for over 30 years, increasing and improving our offerings along the way. Our team's backgrounds include optics, chemistry, biology paired with a core business and marketing focus. This allows our team a unique understanding of your business, the decision makers you work with, and the engineers who will evaluate your solution.