The first word that comes to mind when thinking of chatbots, is most likely “annoying.” We all have encountered them at one time or another, those pesky little windows that pop up when you are visiting a website. You know the one I’m referring to – the one that claims to either answer your questions or better yet help you make your latest purchasing choice.
There is a good chance that you have a bad taste in your mouth from a bad experience with a chatbot. There is an even better chance that you ignored said chatbot all together.
If you should own a business, or inspire to own one (which I’m positive you fit within one or the other if you are reading this article) you simply can’t afford to ignore the benefits that chatbots could offer your business. eMarketer reports that 1.4 billion people interacted with a chatbot in 2015 alone. That is billion with a B.
Chatbots have evolved and wormed their way into everyday marketing life, thanks to the artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) that powers them. Long gone are the days that you would type in a question and have some nonsensical answer returned. They are now pretty sophisticated tools that can help you automate many of your business processes.
What are chatbots and why the heck do you need them?
Devin Coldewey, a writer for NBC News, states:
“Chatbots have existed for a good while — at least since ELIZA, an early bot that attempted to psychoanalyze people, was created in the ’60s. But the last few years have seen an explosion of applications that make people interact with bots as though they’re talking to another person.”
True, chatbots are normally used to answer simple questions, including basic product information or company contact info. In some cases though, chatbot conversations might merged or combined with actual humans so that the answers generated become more complex and useful to the end user.
Here is the kicker though – thanks to AI, a chatbot can actually get smarter the more it is used. It can learn from previous conversations and interactions so that it continues to become even more effective.
Here’s a few simple ways to implement chatbots into your business:
1. A salesman built right into your website
If you own a small business that has a web presence, you are most likely short on time. You’re easily busy tending to other tasks that are higher on your priority list than simply waiting on a potential customer to write in or even send you a direct message. Sure you can hire a customer service rep or even a service, but that costs precious dollars that you are trying to save.
Chatbots however, are relatively inexpensive to set up and run and are online and ready to answer your customer’s questions 24/7. This means while your pretty little head is fast asleep in your big comfy bed, your chatbot is hard at work answering all those questions.
2. Wider demographic
Because chatbots never need to break for coffee, call out sick, or only work a strict 8 hour shift – they are available around the clock. They are basically able to reach a virtually limitless audience (timezone wise). They can reach a new customer base for your brand that was once untouchable.
3. Increased engagement
Engagement is pretty much life to any marketing plan. If you can get your audience engaged with your brand, they will most likely be more likely to buy from you in the future.
Actions normally define engagement, such as clicking on a video, leaving a comment, or even sharing an article. With chatbots though, this is starting to evolve into much more. A chatbot can actually converse with your potential customers in a way that not only answers their questions regarding your products, but also builds brand loyalty.
There are many more ways to increase your marketing efforts using a chatbot. What are some of the ways you are using them in your business or would like to use them? We would love to hear all about them in the comments below.