You have probably heard the term Chatbot but don’t really know what it is. You have likely already interacted with a Chatbot and not even realised. They’ve been around for decades however recently a new wave of chatbots has created an accessible & affordable platform for many businesses.
What is a Chatbot?
Bot is a general term used to describe any software that automates a task. Chatbots, automate conversation and are a growing trend on platforms like Facebook Messenger.
A chatbot is a form of artificial intelligence. When used correctly they can be a great way to streamline your marketing or customer service.
Most chatbots use a chat interface for communication. They’re compatible with all the major chat message interfaces, including Facebook Messenger, Slack, text etc. Chatbots are governed by a predetermined set of rules. The best of the best combine these rules with artificial intelligence.
One of the most common ways to use a Chatbot is in Facebook Messenger which is a simple way to get started in the bot world as well as the most logical place given the stats I am about to share with you below.
There are two basic types of Chatbots:
- A chatbot that functions based on rules responds to specific commands and if you say the wrong thing, it doesn’t know what you mean. This bot is only as smart as it is programmed to be.
- Chatbot that functions using machine learning has an artificial brain. You don’t have to be specific when you are talking to it. It understands language, not just commands. This bot continuously gets smarter as it learns from conversations it has with people.
How could you use a Chatbot?
Typically, they are used for functions such as customer service, generating new leads, and making the sales process easier. However, new chatbots are being introduced all the time that help customers with all sorts of different problems.
The most important benefits of chatbots for small businesses include:
- Growing the Business and helping to find new leads, convert customers, and provide better customer service.
- Less Time/Less Money – Chatbots are an affordable means of providing a better customer experience.
- Cheap/Easy – Hiring a developer to build a basic bot is remarkably easy and affordable.
- Simple Interface – Chatbots are easy for customers to use.
- Forefront of Technology – They are going to be an online business standard in the next few years.
The top ways to effectively use chatbots to grow your small business include:
- Customer Resource – Chatbots are a lot smarter than most people assume. Use it as a frontline customer resource, especially to field basic questions and concerns.
- Simplify Sales – chatbots influence sales and can automate the sales process to streamline it from start to finish.
- Influence Decisions – chatbots can make recommendations for users based on a variety of data gathered from simple questions and previous interactions.
- Increase Engagement – they directly correlate to increased customer engagement on Facebook.
- Streamline Payments – Customers can actually pay for their products without ever leaving the chat interface.
- Answer basic Questions – A chatbot loaded with FAQs is often very effective at providing sufficient answers to customer queries, especially in fields that use a lot of specific jargon.
Other practical ways to use a chatbot in your business:
- Instead of asking clients to go to your website (and possibly get lost) you can have a conversation with them on your bot when they want the information
- Provide details on particular products and services or events
- Provide customer service assistance 24/7
- Provide updates on new products
Image from Colour Graphics
Why should you care about chatbots for business?
Because 90% of our time on mobile is spent on email and messaging platforms. For the first time ever people are using messenger apps more than they are using social networks. It used to be like that in the mobile app world 4+ years ago.
People are now spending more time in messaging apps than in social media. So, logically, if you want to build a business online, you want to build where the people are. That place is now inside messenger apps
Before you start you need to decide how you would want to use it and what problem it solves for your clients. Then you will need to map out things like your Welcome Message, sequences, conversation flow and other tools to bring it all together.
Incorporating a Chatbot into your business plan now ensures you’ll be at the forefront of this technology.
Check out my Chatbot here > https://m.me/DigitalConversation and let’s chat if you want to develop a basic chatbot to get you started