In a series of blogs, we have covered many key topics that can help small businesses with their marketing and sales. These include understanding how to do segmentation, targeting, the buyer journey and creating content for each stage of that journey. Once you understand these elements, the next step is to start attracting people to your business and hopefully give yourself the headache of having to deal with lots of customer enquiries. A chatbot is a great tool to help small businesses improve their marketing and sales.
What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot isn’t some magic futuristic entity that solves all your problems and can chat about anything. It is a way to automate your customer engagement through voice and text conversation. The chances are you have interacted with a knowledgebase or an IVR – so just think of a chatbot as a way to do this with natural language processing, in a conversational manner. The technology is now very mature with many platform providers. They enable even those without programming skills or even a deep understanding of tech, to get up and running with a solution. Some of the providers include Chatfuel, Manychat, and Botsify, but there are many others.
The great thing is that most of these platforms allow you to plug the bot into your website, your social channels like Facebook, and SMS. Wherever your customers prefer to engage with your business you can put your bot. While text interaction is most common, voice is also now much more mature, allowing your customers to speak to your chatbot if they want and for you to offer this support over a telephone line.
You need to put the answers into the chatbot, but then the natural language processing engine identifies different ways to ask and answer questions, creating the conversational style. This technology is already common, and you will come across it on the sites of many big brands. It is widely reported that it can handle up to 85% of customer questions. However, bots are not just for large companies, they can also help small businesses. It doesn’t matter whether you are an online teacher or a plumber, or whether you have a small team or are on your own. They offer chances to be more productive, close more sales and provide better customer service.
Quickly Respond to Opportunities
If you are a sole trader, trades person, or providing a service, whether from home or in the field, you are facing the difficulty of having to deliver your service and look for new business at the same time.
When someone comes to your website or Facebook page, and asks questions, speed of reply is crucial to you getting that business. This is because the customer will also look around at your competitors. You can’t answer if you are working, but the chatbot can. You can train your chatbot with sophisticated sales scripts. But at the very least you can upload crucial answering around your pricing, product, and services.
More Interesting Interactive Experience
You may have created a knowledge-base or FAQ to answer questions about your business. However, potential customers still get on the phone to you, or engage you over live chat, because they couldn’t find the answer or simply weren’t interested in looking around your site. They wanted to get their answer through a conversational experience, and your chatbot provides that.
Higher Lead Capture Rates
Compared to static lead forms, statistics indicate that chatbots, capture details in a more interactive way. And this leads to higher form completions and the capture of much more information. By capturing more information, it gives you the ability to tailor your answer to the client’s needs and more likely win the business.
Even if you potentially employ someone to handle inquiries for your business, productivity concerns, mean they may have to limit conversation lengths. A chatbot can deal with potentially unlimited number of conversations at the same time, and for any length of time, meaning your customers get individual treatment.
In another blog I talked about the importance of knowing where your buyer is on their journey and having appropriate content. A chatbot can be set up to identify returning visitors and provide timely content. They are not limited to text responses but can provide customers with links to videos, case studies and blogs.
Obviously chatbots don’t need to sleep or have the weekend off. Some of your potential customers may want to contact at that time and you don’t want to miss that opportunity.
Not only can you provide instant replies to customer inquiries you can also do the same for customer support questions. This leaves you with much more time to focus on work and family. And, most importantly, improve customer retention and your net promoter score.
Administration and Appointments
It is very easy to integrate a chatbot with a calendar. This allows you to set up a sales funnel flow that includes appointment booking. Or for customers who have already booked an appointment to easily change the date.
It is possible to adapt your sales script to lead and influence your customer through every step. For example, curiosity, awareness, pre-qualification and then appointment booking.
Live Agent Handover
Your chatbot integrates with the messaging application you use to communicate with your customers. And it can be programmed to handover to a live agent. This means that if your chatbot is having trouble dealing with a specific situation, then a notification can be sent to you to take over the conversation, ensuring the opportunity is not missed.
It doesn’t matter the size of your business, everyone can learn from their customers. A chatbot engages your customers in conversation, collecting more, and more detailed, insights into what your customers want. It shows the most commonly used phrases. That can then be used for promotion on your other channels and to adapt your marketing content.
A chatbot can also integrate with your CRM, back office systems, and help with A/B testing. It can also be used to engage your customer lists more proactively through SMS and email pushes.
In short, in today’s business climate, where every opportunity has to be taken to ensure success, a chatbot is a crucial tool in helping you better engage with your customers and improve productivity.
Hoof’s focus is to serve that field service and tradesperson sector. With our solution you get a notification if the quote was accepted or not. This gives you the opportunity to amend or easily convert it into an invoice. This functionality saves you a lot of time and ensures you can respond in a timeframe that makes the difference between winning and losing business.