Back to the Future. Artificial Intelligence. Disruption. You’ve heard it all before (but really, Johnny 5 is alive!). Well, this time, it’s truly here and it’s here to stay: the app boom is over and for the first time ever, people all over the world are using messenger apps more than social networks and that means serious disruption.
So, as a business, how do you keep up with that trend and seek new opportunities in the messaging world? The answer is: chatbots.
Chatbots can revolutionize the way customers experience your business and, if used in the right way, can put your business right in the heart of the action.
In a nutshell, chatbots create a new, smarter way for customers to get the information they need and engage with your business, products or services. Rather than opening a new app, they offer personalized solutions and seamless integrations inside the messenger apps your clients are already using hours on end each day.
So, no surprise, chatbots are reshaping the way companies do business online from retail to healthcare, banking, payments and more.
And, just the way real-life robots have taken over manufacturing, the question is when these AI chatbots will be displacing telemarketers, customer service reps, or sales personnel even.
But, we hear you say, Chatbots = Realm of the Genius. Right?
Wrong. YOU can create your very own chatbots. So here’s our down to earth guide about whether chatbots are right for you and how to make them work for your business -- genius or not, you decide.
Let’s dive into what chatbots are all about: the ins and outs of what they offer and why you might consider using chatbots for your business.
A chatbot is a service that your clients interact with via a chat interface. Chatbots live in any major chat product, be it Facebook Messenger, Slack or Snapchat.
By using a chatbot, your clients won’t have to browse or have endless (and tedious) conversations with customer service representatives. Chatbots quickly become the best personal shopper, problem solver and friend your clients have never met.
In marketing, for example, chatbots can guide customers to the information they’re looking for, inspire them or help them choose the right products, or enhance employee productivity by automating necessary processes. You’ve seen these on Your.MD, where medical advice is readily dispensed as soon as you describe your symptoms, at H&M’s outfit inspiration chatbot that is cleverly saving shoppers from the deluge of the online shopping jungle, or Talla’s chatbots designed to onboard and train employees.
There are two types of chatbots that can simulate human conversations and the type you go with really depends on your needs and on what problem you’re trying to solve:
But first things first. What you, and only you, can figure out is what issue or problem you’re trying to solve with your chatbot. And that’s the hardest part of building chatbots – it’s really not the technical part.
It’s configuring a chatbot that users will keep coming back to and that will continue to provide value for your users time after time.
Once you’ve figured out the problem you’re setting out to solve, you’re onto the technical part (which we’ll cover in detail later): you simply pick your platform and set up your server.
And off you go, flying into the realm of AI. Welcome to the chatbot club.
Chatbots are emerging out of a perfect storm. As the personalization of virtual communication and predictive assistance develops through the use of sensors and wearable devices that are synced with each other, AI accuracy is improving (up to 90% today) in machine parsing and understanding requests. And, these trends are all ripe for the picking, ready to be integrated into the world of messaging services. That’s not an understatement: three out of four of all Internet users around the globe are using messaging services today.
So, since the app age is over and you no longer need to fret over developing an app for your business, take comfort in the fact that just five apps are dominating global app use. And, no surprise, Facebook, Slack and Snapchat are right there leading the five. So, the logical step is to integrate your business’s chatbot into one of the platforms that your clients or customers use routinely every day. Easy, right? It actually is, sort of.
So when should you think about building a chatbot into your business model? Chatbots make sense when:
Customer service and online retail are the obvious examples in the perfect match of a chatbot to a business use.
But they can go further. Bots like Shop Spring help shoppers narrow down what they’re looking for, taking the active research part out of buying, ultimately making a potentially overwhelming experience into a pleasant one.
And, Facebook Messenger is initiating and completing orders through payment services (Paypal, Venmo), or restaurant meal delivery services, saving your clients’ contacts and favorite menu items for future orders. In a day and age when we think twice about picking up the phone, chatbots make transactions seamless and, with zero chance of miscommunication, a win win for everyone.
Or, take healthcare, which demands the same high-level of security and confidentiality as financial transactions. HealthTap and other medical bots connect patients with doctors on call in real time, store their health records and billing, and help them find additional resources.
In all these cases, chatbots are making communication seamless, creating better user experiences and strengthening companies’ ties to their customers.
In a nutshell: done well, chatbots are the ultimate brand loyalty builder.
While chatbots are great at saving you time, they’re also changing the way you could be conducting your business. They can monetize your social media platform, push promotions and offers on demand, keep an eye on the internal processes of your company and be responsive to your customers and team members 24/7.
Bots in e-Commerce
E-Commerce is the most obvious candidate for chatbots. From pre-sale to post-sale, you can program chatbots to become personal shoppers, offer targeted, product-specific discounts or coupons in real time and make targeted suggestions based on your customer’s location and browsing history.
And, they can help you seal the real deal where the big brands struggle the most: after you’ve locked in a sale, get feedback, keep them updated on shipping notifications and build trust further by easing your customer’s path toward returns, scheduling service or putting them in contact with third-party service providers. Be there for your customers post-sale and they will thank you in the future.
The platform of choice
What you might not know about the cutthroat e-Commerce revolution is that Facebook Messenger has been leading the way, which, given that it has the highest conversion rate of all the apps (as well as 1.2 Bn users), is possibly the best thing an e-Commerce company could hear. What’s a better way to engage customers than Facebook Messenger, where your customers are already spending a few hours each day? Responding promptly to customer queries, requests or complaints on social media can help your business grow by 20-40%. There’s nothing better than instant communication.
In addition to upping sales, cutting costs, and acting as your customer care, sales, marketing, HR, IT, and other teams, chatbots can act as a personal assistant, sending emails, scheduling and re-scheduling meetings and events, or order supplies, manage internal knowledge databases and more.
Or, have your chatbot save you time by helping you to stay on top of news and industry goings-on, or automating other business processes generally. Program your chatbot to answer FAQs from employees or customers, get feedback from team members, or help it upsell and cross-sell based on a customer’s history. The opportunities for automation are literally endless.
Perhaps most valuable of all, chatbots know what your customers truly think about your brand as they gather data from each interaction they have and offer your customers the opportunity to give you feedback and share their feelings. <3 ?
MyTradingHub’s motto -- “connect, share and become a better trader with MyTradingHub” -- just wasn’t connecting well with subscribers back in 2016.
MyTrainingHub is a web-based social and educational platform for users looking to trade on the foreign exchange markets. However, as one of several forex training companies out there, MyTradingHub struggled to keep the new traders around long enough to complete their training.
Their primary metric measures the number of users who have viewed 80% of MyTradingHub’s content and performed specific tasks like quizzes. The metric was declining, as users supposedly “forgot about it.” As MyTradingHub’s CEO put it, “in finance and education, timing is everything.” They needed to get ahead of the game again -- to stay there.
So, MyTradingHub launched an interactive Facebook Messenger chatbot to help users interact with the trading platform and continue their training. The primary metric increased by 59% and the company’s pages experienced 17% more traffic towards the training pages, a definite up in user engagement -- with zero changes to the company’s existing content.
As you start thinking about how to make chatbots work for you and your business, here’s what you should consider.
First, you need to ask yourself a few very important questions:
Next, consider whether you need a custom or off-the-shelf chatbot. You can get an off-the-shelf DIY version pretty much anywhere, as companies like Kik, Octane-ai and ChatFuel bring botmaking to the layman and you can educate yourself along the way via SM groups’ educational platforms. For much of it, you’ll need zero coding experience, as the pre-built features are ready to go and customize.
Want something more substantial?
WebXpertos marketing and geek squads are here to transition your company’s interactions from a human to a chatbot that’ll be your best customer assistant or service delivery you’ll ever meet -- 24/7.
We will custom build your assistant chatbot, social chatbot, sales - marketing or payments chatbot, entertainment chatbot or research-purpose chatbot. Just let us know what you’re thinking and we’ll work with you step-by-step on what you need to get ahead of the game -- and stay there.
WebXpertos can help you:
In a 2017 survey, 80% of respondents were planning on implementing some sort of chatbot by 2020 — but should your business be one of them, and if so, when? Forecasts show that businesses using chatbots could save $8 billion per year by 2022 in banking and healthcare alone.
So, to bot or not, that is the question for you.
Some things you might be thinking:
Is it worth the price tag?
Chatbot pricing varies wildly, depending on the complexity of the system. In-house development, where internal teams design, build and launch chatbots, is likely the most expensive option due to employee, development, and maintenance costs -- it’s only advisable for advanced companies with the right infrastructure to support a chatbot team. DIY platforms come with a lower pay-per-use model that services as an ad-hoc bot feature. And in the middle are managed services solutions, like ours at WebXpertos.
How do you know whether your chatbot really could be up to par and compete with human interaction? The answer lies in perfecting your design and working with your data analytics over time -- it’s not a one-time decision. Making sure your chatbot delivers value over time lies in fully understanding the issue you’re trying to solve and what your customer is looking for. Sounds simple? Let’s just say it’s a work in progress as you uncover it all -- leaf by leaf.
Your chatbot also needs to be connected to a marketing automation tool that tracks 100% of your user’s interactions. With a marketing automation tool like HubSpot, 100% of your digital activities (including chatbots) can be tracked, meaning, it can show you exactly where the real ROI is coming from -- generating compounding results for your business. So, as the analysis from your wealth of data is being churned out, you’ll be on your way to better business decisions.
Do I have the right security practices in place?
For chatbots to work, they must collect and store data. Any business’s main consideration should be to put fundamental security processes first: about how it’s stored, who can access it, and what they are allowed to use it for. This might entail employee training and/or encryption down the road, depending on your security needs.
The final word (for now)
So, although chatbots are ever-evolving in their sophistication, they are proving how to deliver better value across organizations. Their potential to develop and streamline processes is limitless. Much like the Internet did, we’re on the cusp of a new tech disruption that may soon be the new normal.