Chatbots are popping up everywhere online, and what was once a service only large businesses could access can now be employed by even one-man businesses.
Why? Because chatbots are not just a way to take enquiries quickly from potential customers for you to see later, but they can now manage almost any customer service query, reply, and conduct analytics for you. If you are a small business, having that around-the-clock support is invaluable.
As AI and NLP (natural language processing) develop, these bots are becoming more advanced and more affordable with every passing day, and there is a demand that many developers are happy to fill. So, are chatbots the future of digital marketing and should you be using them in your business? Let’s break it down.
This was the reason chatbots first became popular and continues to be a game-changer for many businesses, especially as AI and NLP become better at responding naturally with helpful information.
Many businesses just aren’t able to pay for the human man-power of having someone available to answer queries 24-hours a day, but a chatbot can always be there.
Many customer queries are repetitive and require the same, or a similar response, so it makes sense for AI to field these questions so the human element of the business has more time to dedicate to tasks that require a deeper level of thought.
Many businesses have started using chatbots for interacting with customers on platforms like Facebook Messenger. It allows you not only to send out notifications, ask and field questions, but it also offers the opportunity to survey or poll your audience to gain invaluable feedback.
These days, people prefer the ease of communicating through text-based instant messaging, even if a phone call might actually be a more straight-forward solution.
It is also a great way of being inclusive, as many people with social-based anxiety don’t enjoy using the phone, and it also caters for your customers with hearing difficulties.
Move with the Trend
Messaging apps are taking over from social media apps as the most actively used, and it’s no secret that customers want everything as quickly as possible, and they want to have control over who can contact them, the messaging they receive, and the ability to block and unfollow anyone or any brand they don’t like.
Essentially, if you can become a part of their special group of friends and beloved brands, you’ll develop a relationship with your customers that you never could have developed if they followed you on Instagram.
You have the opportunity to create a one-on-one connection with your customers – if you can nurture that relationship and provide them with real value, you can create a customer for life.
As chatbots interact with your customers they can also be doing an extremely important task: gathering data.
They can analyse your customer’s behaviour and present it to you in an easy-to-read dashboard that will allow you to take that insight and turn it into action that improves customer experience and increases your conversion rate.
Not Just for Your Website
If you know exactly where your customers are hanging out online you can get a chatbot to interact with them there.
Chatbots aren’t just useful for fielding customer queries and engagement, but they are also available to field questions from suppliers about payment details, shipping queries, and more.
This not only saves you time replying to supplier queries or time on the phone giving payment and transaction details, but it also reduces the amount of lost time between you placing an order and receiving your goods.
So, Are Chatbots the Future?
While chatbots will never take over every aspect of digital marketing, they will continue to grow and learn to take on more tasks, record more data, and give more intelligent and sophisticated answers.
Better yet, customers are becoming accustomed to using chatbots and live chat services in order to get answers to their queries or a problem solved.
Customers have become numb to traditional ads, daily emails, and cold calls. Customers want you to create a connection with them, they don’t want to feel like you are desperately scrambling for their attention.
They want you to be there when they have questions, but they don’t want to feel like you are intruding without their permission – which they must give in order to talk to you via a chatbot.
Simply, they can help your small business compete with much larger businesses sooner than ever possible before.
Before chatbots, a small business owner either had to field every question themselves (and be glued to their email waiting for one to come in) or pay someone else to do so. This alone is a fantastic reason to start implementing chatbots into your systems.
There are a lot of developers moving into the market to field the demand, and if you’re looking for a place to start there is MobileMonkey, MEOKAY [link: www.meokay.com], and Botsify [link: www.botsify.com].
These platforms, and others like them, will help you get started with no coding necessary. For many people, especially in the e-commerce space, not utilising chatbots will mean you fall behind your competitors. It a unique opportunity to give every customer a unique one-on-one experience with your company.