Artificial intelligence has rapidly grown in the past five years. New approaches in AI-based services and software have begun penetrating various industries and markets. One of the most common manifestations of AI today is chatbots.
Chatbots are slowly replacing frontline personnel to handle customer service, marketing efforts, and more. Consequently, more and more consumers are embracing chatbots. In fact, more than 67 percent of customers around the world have interacted with chatbots in the past year. It is projected to increase to up to 85 percent in the next year.
These artificial assistants are becoming easier to adapt, as well. Many service providers are focusing on intuitive chatbot applications that you can easily use without having to learn computer programming. They can be used on practically any part of business processes such as marketing, customer support, employee communication, and more.
The core capabilities of AI are no longer limited to automating repetitive tasks. Because chatbots can carry out meaningful conversations, it can be used to boost your sales, carry out entire marketing campaigns, provide basic technical support, and much more.
So, how do you integrate chatbots in your business? It is not as complicated as you might think.
Social media platforms have become an essential part of creating an online presence, especially for businesses. There are over 1.3 billion people in Facebook Messenger alone. This does not include the main newsfeed platform, including business pages and groups. With so many potential leads in various social media channels, it is critical that you have a team of sales agents to interact with potential leads continuously. Or you can let a chatbot handle all of these for you.
Chatbots do not need to rest. That means you can reach your audience 24/7, all year round. Customers hate being put on hold. So, by having an artificial staff that readily answers your customers any time of the day, you already have an edge against your competitors.
A well-developed chatbot can also ask the right questions that can identify leads. It can ask the customers’ interests, their budget, preferred products, and more. Using this information, you can lead them down to the right sales funnels to maximize sales potential.
According to Forbes, more than 5 billion comments are left on Facebook Page every month. And, users who left comments expect a response within 24 hours. Customer engagement is high on Facebook, and competition among businesses is high as well. The earlier you can respond, the better chance you have at capturing leads.
Chatbots can easily identify valuable leads based on their comments on your Facebook page. You can write various conversation sequences based on the post where the user commented. Then, the chatbot can immediately engage the user to identify their qualifications as a new lead further.
You can easily offer discounts or market your latest promotions without ever leaving Facebook Messenger (or any chat platform).
That’s right! You can now sell and conduct purchases without ever leaving chat channels. There is no need to link to your online shop anymore. Once you are engaged in your leads, you can start offering products right on the chat platform.
Customers can choose products and pay for them by continuing the conversation with the chatbot. One of the first companies to implement such innovative chatbot is 1–800-Flowers. In a conversation with Digiday, Chris McCann, President of 1–800-Flowers, said that more than 70 percent of the company’s revenue through their chatbots are from new customers. That means it is highly effective in turning leads into customers even without the intervention of a live agent. The company has increased its revenue by 6.3 percent since it took advantage of bot’s capabilities in sales.
Bot conversations can be designed to ask what the customer needs. Then, it can provide relevant options, accept online payments, and even ask for delivery options. Of course, there’s still the option to connect to an actual sales agent if needed.
The ability of chatbots to reply immediately already creates a positive experience during the interaction. Furthermore, the right products are promoted, thereby increasing the likelihood of the customer to make the purchase.
One sure way to boost your sales is to encourage repeat purchases from your existing customers. Around 10 to 30 percent of online revenues come from cross-sells and upsells.
Chatbots can be designed to promote specific products and services based on the customers’ current purchases. You can encourage customers to purchase products that usually go together. Furthermore, if you offer accessories and other add-ons, chatbots can readily cross-sell these to your customers even before they hit checkout.
You can also personalize product recommendations. By gathering all the information that you collected from the lead, you can determine the best products and relevant deals. Quizzes, engaging conversations, and other enhanced interactions will allow you to gather more data that the chatbot can analyze right away.
Customers go to your online store to explore products and services that match their interests. That moment of decision is the right time to engage them in eventually buying the product fully. However, most customers actively look for more information about the product.
Customers will want to know the benefits of your products and their features. They may also have other concerns that need addressing before they finally click Buy. While it is easy to put all the information on the product page, isn’t it much easier to ask someone than ready through all the product descriptions?
This is where you can set-up a chatbot to provide compelling product guides for your potential customers. Being proactive in helping a customer also drives loyalty that increases repeat purchases.
In the past, you have to hire and train dedicated teams to handle marketing and sales in order to compete with larger companies. It is not only time-consuming but very expensive as well.
A chatbot allows you to go toe-to-toe with much larger businesses at a fraction of the budget. Whether you are a budding startup or looking to expand your market reach, you can engage your leads and customers without the need for additional staff. It allows you to provide premium-level customer service that was previously available only to high-end brands.
This article was written as an unpaid test for a client. I retain all the rights and ownership of the article. The original draft of this article can be found here.