Do you remember Smarterchild? The intelligent bot widely used across MSN’s Messenger and AOL’s Aim that featured quick data access and fun personalized conversation. Smarterchild came out in 2001 and is considered a precursor to Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s S Voice. This use of instant messaging chatbots was the beginning of what we have come to know today.
Chatbots came into fruition between 2013 -2016 and have since become a must-have tool for companies to transform their customer service and experience via their website and social media channels. Although many people attribute chatbots to customer service, there are several ways chatbots can be used to enhance the customer journey.
Let’s begin by looking at the typical sequence of events that occurs during an e-commerce user’s online journey.
The Role of Bots in the Customer Journey
- Website Traffic: Attract visitors to the website
- Landing Page: Create engaging pages to avoid bounces
- Conversions: Make visitors take action so that they convert
- User Experience: Improve purchase experience by making continuous improvements
- User Retention: Turn customers into repeat customers
Chatbots are able to play a role in each step of the customer journey, adding value to the business in each step of the marketing funnel. When engaging users, the chatbot is able to send a welcome message to multiple users at once, 24/7, to initiate conversation. If the user is interested in the brand and came to the site prepared to make a purchase, the bot can take advantage of this opportunity to close a sale by suggesting products based on specific user needs.
Chatbots can also be used to promote products, provide discount codes and respond to customer queries in a structured way. Some might argue that the online shopping experience with the availability of the chatbot is unparalleled compared to traditional brick and mortar shopping, as the chatbot has the ability to act as a personal shopping assistant. The chatbot is able to play a huge role in customer retention as they are able to record customer satisfaction with suggestions and complaints through conversation with users, which in turn can be used to make necessary developments within the website or provide incentives to customers to return to the site.
Lead Generation Tool For Digital Marketers
Let’s take a deeper dive into how the chatbot is impacting the world of digital marketing. For the first time in history, digital marketers have a tool that can interact with users on a personal, conversational level, using a chat interface that provides a more human interaction than an e-mail, or website content.
With a bot, any given user that enters a website could start chatting with the business, asking questions, and receiving answers directly to their device and therefore engaging personally and investing more energy and time than they would have done just looking at a Facebook page or a website. This leads to them becoming more involved in the process and, inevitably, converting more often.
This simple process offers marketers a powerful way to engage prospects and convert them using marketing automation. Let’s take a look at an example of a dentist using a chatbot through Facebook Messenger and how they can collect information to convert a prospect into a lead, and a lead into a customer. A chatbot can be easily programmed to let users schedule an appointment, giving them an easy way to interact with the system and allowing the business owner to collect more leads with all the information they need. The bot can also provide crucial information that a lead might be looking for in their consideration process such as services, hours, and directions to their location.
The lead-capturing questions a chatbot can ask are similar to the forms you might find on a website that will capture information through a form such as your name, email and phone number so that a representative can contact you. The advantage of having a bot, however, has replaced the need for a return phone call or email, and provides the prospect with the information they are looking for immediately.
Not only does the process feel more natural for the user — because they are literally talking with someone as they would on the phone — the conversation is all taking place on one platform versus having to deal with several forms of communication.
Wraping It Up
Chatbots provide businesses with a tool that can be used to simplify the process of engaging with prospects and expedite the closing process by offering valuable information to a user. The chatbot is an essential feature for a customer-centric business and can be a key differentiator when it comes to user experience with competitors.
To learn more about how you can use automation to streamline the journey of your customers, reach out to a digital marketing expert at TechWyse today. Give us a call at 866.208.3095 or contact us here!