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What Do You Know About Chatbots?


M Angie Salazar

They are interactive messaging platforms that can live inside apps, email, websites, and SMS. What sets them apart is that they behave human-like, by working to interact with customers and prospects in a conversational manner. It is the confluence of social media, big data and artificial intelligence. According to Hootsuite, “[they] will replace mobile apps, email marketing and customer care, agents.” They are easy to build and run 24/7. Chatbots can be tailored uniquely for your business and can, “cut your costs and boost your revenue.”

Don’t have a chatbot already? You’re not doomed. The great news is that you are one step ahead of the competition in the same industry because you at least have a Facebook or know about Facebook. This is the core talking piece around which you will develop a chatbot strategy.

Several household names have been running seamless advertising campaigns for the last few years using chatbots. Some of these brands include Whole Foods, Bud Light, Amtrak, Dominoes and National Geographic with their Einstein Bot, connecting with users, personalizing the experience, and doing so in a lighthearted and informative way.

Chatbots can be used to extend your brand and go where the customer is-online, available and ready to chat instantly. You don’t need millions in annual recurring revenue to reap the same benefit. Oracle performed a survey in 2016 and discovered 80% of key-decision makers recognized the importance of chatbots and planned to implement the tech by 2020. This is now days away.

Chatbots are easy to customize and don’t necessarily eliminate human interaction, they do the opposite. They are an automated version of your brand communicating with your audience via direct messenger. They are not fixed and stationary. Their conversational flow can be adapted based on a businesses’ needs and can be used to answer common questions, deliver related content or redirect to customer service.

Forrester created an industry report, called Predictions 2020: Customer Service Automation Remakes the Contact Center Organization, about what to expect in 2020 regarding chatbots and customer contact practices. This service prediction report hypothesizes that while artificial intelligence and automated contact with an audience have increased potential to impact outsourced customer service centers, “organizations can be proactive” to rely on customer service agents as the specialists who handle “complex and emotionally wrought questions.” This makes their skills more valuable, as they provide an experience with “empathetic notes” and are likely “closer to home,” meeting customer demands to minimize cultural barriers.

Minimizing overhead can be the key thing that keeps any business doing business. This is more relevant the more bootstrapped a company may be.

A chatbot can become an automation sales assistant, directing a human to get involved when a customer uses keywords, indicating they’re interested in making a purchase. Chatbots can also play the role of strategist, when prospects reach out, following up a short time later after answering frequently asked questions. Chatbots can be integrated with customer-driven software, helping to lead the charge on funnel development, essential to drip campaign and marketing strategies.

In early 2017, Nielsen’s Facebook Messaging Survey revealed that messaging ranked second out of nine different modes of communication between customers and businesses, and 53 percent of people are more inclined to shop with a business if they can message them directly. With all this growth, it’s no wonder that here we are just a few years later and the total user base of messaging apps has outgrown that of the top four social networks. This is not to say social networks are dead, they’ve evolved. Keeping your audience’s attention is harder than ever, and decreasing barriers can be monumental to maintain and grow your audience. User retention will continue to be the key to build or break your business in the years to come.

As of 2019, Facebook Messenger is now officially the third most used app in the world, used by 68% of app users. This is only going to increase, as Facebook also owns Instagram and Whatsapp. Access for businesses, creators and brands of all sizes is the thing that has leveled the playing field and kept the Facebook advertising model in stride for exponential growth.

Keywords: CRM, marketing strategy, small business, chatbots, facebook messenger, lead generation, drip campaign, sales development, artificial intelligence, user interaction, social media, tech


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