Much more than an SMS (Part 1)

Some people (and businesses) have expressed a little confusion about all the buzz and hype surrounding chatbots. Surely it’s just an internet version of texts like Skype was an internet version of a phone call. Why are we getting so excited about cheaper communication they ask?

But chatbots in Messenger are capable of so much more. They can become a virtual assistant for your businesses.

They can be your marketing department handling hundreds of subscriptions all at once. Or they can be your help department answering lots of common questions or putting you in touch with the right person.

Take a moment to dream up the ideal attributes of your best employee. How positive are they? What language do they use? How do they behave in the job? Do they do any of the following list through conversations with customers?

All of the features you see below here can be built in a chatbot. Perhaps your bot is 100% focused on one thing or perhaps it tries to do many? The choice is yours….

FAQ+ HELP BOT

Instead of forcing your customers to hunt around your website or instruction guides, search on Google or ask a friend you can make life easier for them. You can put all of your best answers into your assistant bot. It can be difficult to give the full answer in a store with other customers waiting on you either on the phone or in person. Perhaps you are fed of explaining where to park for your business or what the process is for claiming a refund.

Or if you offer click and collect on line services. You can probably think of countless scenarios. Save time for yourself, become more productive and make your customers happy with instant answers. Research shows that an unexpectedly fast response to a problem can go a long way to keeping a customer happy.

A common piece of feedback I’ve received is that bots can provide the human touch in a help situation. A bot will never have the soft skills of a human with customer service qualities. In the case of a rare or difficult question the bot can do a good intermediate job of asking for details and providing reassurance that your team will be in touch to help ASAP!

A TALKING WEBSITE

Since websites were born in the mid 90’s, we have all become very comfortable using them. The majority of websites now are very predictable. Especially if you are using a template builder and don’t have time or money to throw at them. It is difficult to stand out. It’s hard to justify investing in a website as a small business when you know that everyone is on social media anyway. Customers don’t browse websites to extract info like they used to do. Social media pushes relevant content. How can you fight this change as a small business?

Why not take your website content, perhaps your founding story, your sales process or your products and turn them into conversations?

Engage the user with questions and short bite sized answers that they can digest from their mobile. It can be really easy to engage a user in a conversation. One tap from a website, one tap from an email signature, a tap from a social media post or scan of a QR code in store. This tap is the equivalent of an email signup. You now have permission to contact them with your unique offers. But beware! Facebook will not tolerate spam!

YOUR NEW MARKETING EMPLOYEE

We believe in the power of conversation. An interesting conversation is far more memorable than a ten second TV advert or banner offering a discount on your product. Marketing can feel like hard work in the modern digital world – trying to reach customers through paid ads or ever busier social media feeds. Email has suffered with spam emails. It’s not uncommon to see this:

Your answer lies in the form of a bot. Chatbot broadcasts are seeing open rates of around 90% > quite a jump compared to the industry average of 20% for marketing emails. Messaging apps have much more protection against spam than email. Also the format of small bite sized messages versus three page glossy advert emails makes for easier processing by the user.

Marketers are going crazy over what can be achieved with this level of engagement. Rather than shout about price or discounts or other aggressive marketing tactics, plan your engagement campaign around a conversation, a story. Let the potential customer get comfortable with your brand, your products and your value.

With the introduction of bots the term conversational marketing has been coined. Like in a conversation with a friend, you cannot just blurt out your message – they have to opt in. Traditional marketing means receiving an email with a headline like “20% off this Friday!” and telling you to come by the store to check it out. BORING! And like most emails will probably go unread. Instead imagine receiving a message on Messenger:

Sending such a targeted message is possible to do through setting up tags or attributes for each user during your conversations. This is possible in email too but it is much harder to generate user information due to the lack of engagement that email sees. But on Messenger you have the Facebook profile and every message they react to to create different tags.

Perhaps you just want to reward engaged users with a deal. Or only provide an offer if they post to social media. Whatever you think will drive your business forward.

HEAR FROM YOUR CUSTOMERS

Surveys suck. Filling out forms is boring. We are all too busy to fill out a bland form from a company we don’t know or need to be loyal too. Writing a review is a hassle unless you are super motivated positively or negatively.

But as a company this information is vital. Reviews create the social proof that your product or business is valuable. Surveys help to understand your customers better and provide inspiration for your businesses development.

Chatbots recieve amazing engagement compared with other digital experiences. Make it feel natural for your customers and have a conversation about what they think of your business or service. Tapping around inside an app they are already in is a lot easier than opening up an email and composing a suitable reply. How different does this look to your normal feedback email?

 

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