What are Chatbots and How Can They Help Your Company’s Marketing Efforts
If you’ve ever found yourself searching on a website, you’ve probably run into an icon on the webpage jumping out asking, “How can I help you?” This automated icon is a chatbot, programmed by the company to assist customers searching on their website. Like the Facebook messaging app, users are able to use chatbots to engage in conversations and gain information about certain products and other inquiries; however, instead of messaging with a living person, chatbots are completely computer automated.
Ask any marketer their three top goals and the answer will be fairly consistent: reach more prospects, generate more leads, and improve conversions. In reality, chatbots are the best-kept secret in digital marketing. And they certainly help with these top goals of marketers. Amazingly, there are more daily active users of popular messenger applications than social media apps, yet less than 1 percent of marketing departments are using what’s being termed as “chat marketing.”
You may ask, how is an automated conversation possible? A chatbot is a computer program created to engage in a conversation with people through artificial intelligence. Chatbots allow immediate assistance for newcomers on websites, and help instantly answer a quick question, help resolve a complaint or problem, submit details of a user’s search, and more. Chatbot systems can go beyond customer inquiries, like gather habitual data from users, personalize communication with a user, and improve business’ response rate.
Here are some stats from Facebook that can’t be ignored:
- 2 billion messages are sent monthly between businesses and people
- 53% of people are more likely to buy from a business they can message
You see, Chatbots reduce the need for companies to hire call center agents or customer service representatives, and in return, decrease overall spending for businesses. According to Sprout Social, 56 percent of customers would rather receive instant answers from an automated system, than call and speak to a representative. Customers also prefer to receive quick information and recommendations, then spend time manually digging though websites for information.
Within the process of creating chatbots, companies plug in their answers to customer’s frequently asked question, which in turn are recognized by similar keywords used by multiple customers. Chatbots allow companies to improve their response rate, because they provide immediate response to questions, and fuel the user’s desire to learn more about the company.
In the next couple of years, chatbots will completely replace the search engine window, because they produce instant results in a short amount of time. In addition, Gartner predicts that by 2020, about 85 percent of companies will have transitioned to a virtual customer assistant, or chatbot program, opposed to actual human interactions online.
According to Medium, chatbots are beneficial to companies, because they increase customer productivity and curiosity, help customers navigate through company products and sites, and gain customer loyalty through accurate responses. Chatbots satisfy customers’ need for information, and help businesses preserve customers’ trust.