Over the last year, we’ve dedicated a lot of time to building Messenger chatbots. What we’ve learnt is that they are such a powerful and useful tool for businesses, but there is a problem with them.
As a chatbot agency, we’ve been keen to showcase the power of chatbots on our Facebook page and on our website. However, integrating a Messenger bot to a website presents a few problems.
Firstly, the Messenger chatbot function significantly slows down our website. It adds a lot of server requests and extra bloat to our website. We don’t use Analytics or other tracking software, so having one tool that has such an big impact on load time is a problem.
Secondly, the function requires the user log in to Facebook to access it. Now, maybe it’s just me, but when a website starts asking me to login with my Facebook account details to access something I start to get concerned. In the modern world of data harvesting and GDPR, the idea of having to use my personal Facebook details to interact with a website would make me leave the website.
Having to log in to Facebook also presents a barrier. You want the website user to open the chatbot so they can get immediate help. Making them log in to Facebook first slows down their progress and may make them give up.
What’s the point in a chatbot feature that slows down your website and may well never actually help people?
Frustrated with the Messenger chatbot feature on our website, I have sought long and hard for a solution… and found it!
I wanted a fairly simple chat feature that allows website visitors to quickly and frictionlessly ask a question to us. I wanted the chat feature to work for both live chat, while someone can answer their question, and work like a bot outside of office hours.
I wanted this solution to be inexpensive, preferably free. Was I asking too much? No, HubSpot has the perfect solution.
HubSpot is a CRM (customer relationship management). It allows businesses to keep track of their customers and manage their business admin.
The best part for me was that they offer a free plan. Free forever and with no expectation that I’ll pay a fortune to continue to use their platform.
Are we owned by HubSpot? Why am I promoting them? Purely because I am so impressed by their software!
Everything I wanted from a non-Facebook chatbot I have now from HubSpot.
Once I set up my free account I started building my bots. While the bots on the free account don’t quite provide the same level of complexity you’d get from a Messenger bot, I don’t think you need it on your website.
The way their ‘chatflows’ work is that you create a simple bot-led conversation for each page or pages of your website. This is such a powerful feature — being able to recognise the page the user is on and tailor your support for that page.
For the home page, I’ve built a simple opening question — “How can I help you?”
Whilst on the ‘Services’ page, I’ve implemented a more targeted question, “Which of our services are you interested in?”
From the Services page a user can click through to the ‘WordPress Web Design’ page and be asked, “Are you looking to get a new or first website?”
What a great feature, I can ask questions that a specific to the page the user is on. I can anticipate the sorts of thoughts they might be having or questions they might still have. No generic questions or vague offers of help!
Asking specific questions for each page isn’t the only impactful feature. I can also ask different questions on each page to new or returning customers. If Steve Smith asks my bot a question and then returns later to have a second look at our website I could ask, “Welcome back, Steve. How can we help you?” Or something even more exciting, perhaps!
While HubSpot’s bot will never provide the same level of complexity and level of awesome features you get from a Messenger bot, it can provide a simplistic, but powerful chat function to a website.
You don’t need to use a bot. Some people don’t like the idea of letting a bot loose on their potential customers.
Primarily, the chat function from HubSpot is a live chat function. You can set it to ping the question from a user to a member of staff in your business. They can then answer the question in real-time.
You can set out of hours time when a bot can take over and let you sleep! Conversely, you can just set up your live chat to ask the user to provide an email address and promise you’ll get back in touch in the next 24 hours.
It’s quite a flexible solution. You can mould it to fit your vision and your customers.
The difference between the free and paid HubSpot accounts is complex and long. As I’m predominantly interested in the live chat/chatbot feature I’ll explain the difference for that feature.
With a paid bot you can ask questions and then provide specific follow up conversations based on their answer. With a free account, you can’t do this. All our free bot does is ask a question and then provide an appreciation that they’ve answered and it then asks for name and contact details.
The answer the user gave is sent off with their name and email address to a real human so they can follow it up.
Wrong! Messenger chatbots are still an incredibly useful way to provide support to your customers and to help market your business.
Messenger chatbots work really well in Messenger, but not so well on a website.
We’re still 100% interested in building Messenger chatbots for businesses, but we now appreciate that they don’t provide a total solution and should only be utilised in their correct location — Facebook Messenger.
Moving forward we are going to be offering both Messenger chatbots and HubSpot support. A business can come to us for a Messenger bot or a website bot (or live chat) and we will provide the perfect solution that works perfectly for what the business requires.
Want to get started with your chat or chatbot function? Get in touch.