How Chatbots Work and Help Marketers

From digital assistants to robot playmates, AI technology never seems to slow down. These days, chatbots are helping marketers with customer engagement.
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From digital assistants to robot playmates, AI technology never seems to slow down. These days, chatbots are what’s quickly gaining a lot of traction in the tech industry. There’s always something new in this technology, and on top of being automated, it is becoming more human-like. Chatbots offer consistent connectivity and immediate response, allowing them to transform the atmosphere on the web.

What Are Chatbots?

Programmed to engage with received messages automatically, chatbots have the intelligence to adapt their responses according to the situation. They can be designed to answer the same way each time. Moreover, they can respond in a certain way according to the keywords that they detect in the message. They usually take advantage of chat mediums like webchat windows, SMS texts, and social messaging services from platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Chatbots can speak in various tones, depending on the situation. For instance, chatbots can offer fun and goofy conversations while learning what to say as it chats with real people online.

How a Chatbot Works

Like any other regular application, a chatbot has a database, an app layer, and APIs that summon other external administrations. It is easily accessed by users, allowing it to become more complex as time goes on. Now, you may ask, “Are chatbots useful?”. These days, chatbots help marketers as they are widely used for online marketing and customer service. However, their common problem is that they cannot comprehend and process a person’s conversation path.

Chatbots are usually trained according to information that was previously fed to them. So, many organizations necessarily keep logs of discussions. Developers analyze what people are trying to ask by analyzing the discussion logs. Using learning tech and models, the programmers process customer inquiries and provide the most appropriate response.

Here’s an example. A client asks a question about receipts and payments. Whether they ask, “Have you sent my payment receipt?” or “Where is my product payment receipt?” the bot will see both sentences as having the same meaning. Now, if the chatbot does not have access to comprehensive data, then it can be trained using various APIs.

How to Train a Chatbot

Humans may have unmatched intuition and sensitivity, but chatbots learn considerably faster and at a larger scale. Regular customer service representatives receive manual instructions again and again. They have to ensure that they are thorough in studying all the information presented to them. On the other hand, customer support chatbot can be trained using comprehensive sets of conversation logs. From those logs, they can learn to identify questions and determine the appropriate response to them.

What Are the Benefits of Chatbots?

It is worth noting that some chatbots serve the purpose of satisfying customers. According to Facebook, this technology is valuable for businesses, especially because:

· People and businesses exchange 20 billion messages every month

· Instead of calling a hotline, 56% of customers would opt to send a message

· 53% of potential and existing clients prefer doing business with companies that are available for messaging

Chatbots may not be a relatively new business tool. However, they’ve gained momentum in recent years. Google Trends even illustrated that search volumes around this technology grew by about 10 times. Businesses and individuals quickly realize the value of chatbots. So, if you want to maintain a competitive edge in the industry, you must learn how to use chatbots for business purposes.

These days, it is not uncommon to find transaction processes automated in various industries. For instance, self-ordering kiosks at restaurants and self-checkout units at grocery stores are increasingly multiplying. Amazon even opened a physical store without any self-checkouts or cashiers: selected items are detected by sensors and cameras, and users are then charged automatically when they leave the store. The human interactions were limited to those only necessary. Organizations can find value in chatbots, especially since they can automate conversations. 

Five Key Benefits of Chatbots for Businesses

Saving Time and Money

Without a chatbot, an organization would need an employee to respond to customer inquiries. On the other hand, this technology allows organizations to automate conversations. This option lets them save money and time that they can allocate to other efforts. Customer representatives or online marketers would not have to focus their time on responding to inbound questions. Instead, they can proactively find other relevant conversations that they can engage to. By automating responses with the help of a chatbot, you can save countless operational hours. Consequently, you can increase the number of inbound messages your organization can handle.

Generating Leads and Revenue

Chatbots can offer effective support by gathering necessary information from direct messages. For instance, in every engagement, one of the questions they ask is the reason why the user visited a particular page. This initial interaction is automated, letting users share the information that will guide human representatives to serve them better. In this way, agents do not have to ask the question themselves. It is worth noting that some websites have chatbots that find qualified prospects, then gather their email addresses for a sales representative to follow up.

Sales organizations can receive qualified leads, thanks to the automated process used by chatbots. What’s more, companies can combat the fatigue caused by responding to the same inquiries over and over. You will quickly find your team happier with the quality leads they receive. Moreover, they get to spend their time on more relevant tasks.

Guiding Users to Better Results

It is not all the time that users know exactly where to find the information they need. In some cases, they may not even know what they are looking for. Perhaps, they just hear about your brand and are interested to learn more about it. Your chatbot can ask them a series of qualifying questions that can route them to the best place to access the information they want.

If you want to learn how to use chatbots for businesses efficiently, you should carefully plan the questions to ask. They should lead visitors to the best possible solutions. Some of the common qualifying questions to ask include:

· What do you want to achieve?

· What issue would you like to solve?

· Where are you located?

· What industry are you in?

· Would you like to receive personal support?

Now, imagine an organization with global operations like an international airline. Think of the arrival locations, departing locations, various possible upgrades, and different options for buying tickets. There are virtually countless number combinations for purchase for this company. When the questions that the chatbot asks are personalized, the airline can direct their clients to the ideal option for buying. Consequently, they can foster better user experience. Of course, such a carefully designed process can somehow alleviate the pain of planning a trip—both from the user’s perspective and that of the business.

Offering Continuous Support

One of the many uses of chatbots is providing swift responses in the event of an emergency. That said, businesses that do not provide 24-hour support will not be able to give answers outside their operational hours. Thankfully, chatbots can still function even after work hours. In this way, customers can access the information they want whenever they need it.

Pro Tip: Your chatbot can also have the ability to send large files if necessary. In this case, we recommend that you use FileWhopper to ensure that all the files will be encrypted with a password that only the recipient can access. What’s great about this tool is it does not set limits on the data size. So, you can let your chatbot send encrypted files to qualified recipients without worrying about disappointing them with the ‘File too Large’ message. Learn more about how FileWhopper works.

Statistically, most consumers prefer brands that can guarantee a response between less than an hour to four hours, but the reality is, companies without an automated response system in place respond on average after 10 hours. Most customers get answers after ten hours. Chatbots can help you lower the average time it takes for your organization to respond. Indeed, they can bring you closer to the expectations of your clients.

Creating Unique Customer Engagement

Customers have traditionally routed their questions via the telephone or email. Through those channels, they receive a relatively standard and non-personalized user experience. As an alternative, chatbots provide a fun, refreshing, and interactive way to engage with companies.

Let’s take Sephora’s chatbot as an example. Being one of the first beauty retailers to set in motion the use of chatbots, Sephora added extra features for its chatbot service aimed toward improving consumer experience both at home and in-store. The two new features are called Reservation Assistant and Color Match. The first one helps customers book appointments with beauty specialists at a Sephora location quickly and seamlessly by sending a message to the Sephora chatbot.

All the customers have to do is tell where they are, and the bot will automatically find them the closest location with a list of available times for appointments. The second feature, Color Match allows users to hold their camera up to any image or face and an algorithm will automatically detect and present the user with the identified shade, as well as other matching products from the Sephora line such as lipstick and eye makeup. Memorable and seamless user experiences increase the possibility of people turning to chatbots the next time they need to ask questions.

Examples of Results-Oriented Chatbots

As you create an efficient chatbot plan, you must keep in mind that the system should not be designed entirely for you. What’s important is that your customers receive a unique experience. So, when you are choosing what chatbot to use, you must assess your audience carefully. Moreover, you must evaluate the communication channels that you’ll use in connecting with your customers. By doing so, you will be able to narrow down your options and learn about the efficient messaging style you should use. Here are four examples of companies that use chatbots to bring valuable service to their customers:

Pakke ApS

Customers can use the Pakke ApS chatbot to get online assistance about their shipping service in the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian website as well as on their Messenger. First, the user is presented with a welcoming message, letting the user know that he or she is talking to a virtual assistant. Then the user will be able to choose from various engagement options like prices, delivery, insurance, and so on. If the bot doesn’t offer the answer a customer is looking for, then the bot will opt for a handover to a human in customer service. This is a great way to ensure that the customers get all the help they need. 

After the bot was implemented on the website and Messenger, good results showed quickly as the chatbot halved the number of support tickets, thereby relieving the customer service. On top of that, the data showed a conversion rate four times higher, meaning that the bot is rapidly generating sales. 

KRIFA 

One of the biggest unions in Denmark, Krifa, has found many ways to use chatbots. Krifa knows that chatbots when used right, can be beneficial to maximize business value and beat competitors. With the latest version of the bot, Krifa has aimed at making it simpler and more manageable to use the bot, so it is easier for the users to find the answer they are looking for. The bot can be found both on Facebook and as a webchat, and it is created out of 8 different areas, which makes it easy for the user to point out the topic that is relevant for her, thereby, the bot is now offering a better and intuitive customer journey. 

SE Energi og Klima 

The Danish energy and tele company, SE Energi og Klima, was the first company to develop a chatbot sitcom on their Messenger platform. They teamed up with the comedian Anders Morgenthaler from Wullf-Morgenthaler and created the ‘Familierådet’ chatbot. In this humorous universe, three sisters, with very different perspectives on life, each day contemplated about consumption, nature and sustainability. This way, customers could get a new joke directly in their Messenger each day and learn a thing or two about the environment. Today the company uses the chatbot to assist their customers directly on their website. Customers can now get answers to their personal membership, products, bills, moving and more.

Eva Solo

Another great example of an organization effectively using chatbots for customer service is Eva Solo. This company has created a unique experience by collecting support tickets. Its chatbot passes the tickets to their internal support teams for follow-up and resolution. The company also assists the users by answering the frequently asked questions about products or services directly in the chat. Eva Solo also uses its social profiles to communicate with users directly.

Conclusion

Whether we’re looking at a small, medium, or large-scale business, various benefits are deriving from the use of chatbots. Chatbots help marketers by speeding response times and increasing efficiency in customer support to assisting with sales, to providing marketing services. The versatility of their employment and diversity of use cases can be one of the best assets for any business looking to stay relevant, improve and innovate.

Article written by Hanna Welch

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