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How Live Chatbots Are Shaping Marketing and Customer Service

Imagine if you can have a knowledgeable virtual assistant that answers common visitor questions quickly and efficiently and engages a human co-worker to join in for more complex requests, i.e., live chatbots.  What would this do to your sales conversions and customer service?

An exciting trend in live chat technology coupled with artificial intelligence is making live chatbots possible.  An always-on virtual customer care assistant that can answer all the latest frequently asked questions about a product or service, remember past preferences for future purchases and communications, alert you to when your expertise is needed within the conversation, and so much more.  The idea of a live chatbot is to give the customer an almost immediate response to a question or problem.  This functionality is becoming common place and smart local businesses are embracing it to complement or reduce human phone calls and rudimentary conversations.  The result is direct increase in sales conversions and improvement of customer experience.  It’s time to think about engaging your customer base and allowing them 24/7 access to your products and services.

The instant response to customer service is revolutionizing the interaction between the customer and company in a positive and exciting way.  Live chat has a 73% satisfaction rate compared to 61% email and 44% for phone customer service.  This statistic alone shows that a chatbot is the next step to improving customer service.

Let’s take a look at why live chatbots can and should become an integral part of your business operations going forward.

Types Of Chatbots

There are several types of chatbots available for businesses.  The most basic chatbot is one that has a set sequence of answers, very similar to automated phone menu selections.  This programmed decision-tree menu type of chatbot is slowest for the user and has a limited selection of solutions for the customer.

The next step up is a chatbot that can recognize keywords and has AI (Artificial Intelligence) capabilities to formulate answers to customer queries.  The chatbot will find an answer based on the keywords in the question.  While better than the menu chatbot, the keyword chatbot does not perform well with repetitive questions.

Several chatbot applications are a mix of the menu and keyword versions which is very helpful for businesses that have many types of frequently asked questions and a high volume of customer service needs.

The most advanced chatbot is the contextual machine learning (ML) and AI assistant that recognizes natural language and “learns” the context of the conversation and business as opposed to just being programmed.  This chatbot can be “taught the business”, remembers past inquiries, and build upon the previously gathered answers to give more relevant and helpful responses.  Natural language processing are improving chatbots every day, but teaching them still takes time and this technology is at its inception.  The goal is to make this process seamless and great brains are hard at work making it so.

Deciding which chatbot is the right option for your company may take a bit of consideration.  What kinds of answers are your customers seeking?  Will they need a more contextual approach or will a simple menu work for their needs?

Live Chatbots illustration Featured

Why Live Chatbots?

Live chatbots can handle a large volume of information and field questions much more efficiently than a human.  The chatbot can be the point of contact for a customer who is seeking specific information, would like to make an appointment, or has a frequently asked question.  If the chatbot is unable to find a satisfactory answer, then the customer is given the option to hold or send an email to be answered by a person.

In the race for instant information, the chatbot is a tool that is surpassing other forms of customer service and is well suited for through a product or service inquiry process.  First, there was call waiting, then phone automation, email and messaging, and now messaging by AI as a way to save time and give workers assistance with repetitive tasks.

A large number of websites have added live chatbots chatbot that pop up at first glance on the homepage, to engage a potential customer in conversation. This can spark interest and make the customer feel valued and important, which then leads to a purchase.

Younger customers expect this quick and immediate service, in fact, 63% of millennials prefer chatbot service for basic questions over other methods of communication.  In order to stay ahead of the curve, the implementation of chatbot technology is a way to open lines of communication and connection between customer and business?

Live chatbots are able to capture customers’ data and send them instant information about products, services, schedule meetings, and offer suggestions to encourage increased engagement on your site.

The new and improved chatbot technology provides a much greater customer experience and allows interaction, which ultimately helps the customer decide to purchase the service or product from your business.

Types Of Businesses Using Live Chatbots 

Businesses that offer services, schedule appointments, and involve booking trips are some of the first to use chatbots.  These types of businesses have a high volume of customer questions and a chatbot can help answer those common and repetitive questions.  Think of booking airline tickets, a hotel reservation, pizza delivery, fast food, child or pet daycare centers, recipe ideas, shopping, and all those questions answered quickly and easily by the computer rather than a real person!  Many companies are partnering with Facebook Messenger to offer customizable products to consumers, in between chatting with friends and surfing your newsfeed.

Live and Intelligent Chatbots Success Stories

So let’s get to the practical side and look at a few businesses who have added a chatbot to improve their lead generation or customer service.  Many of these chatbots are linked to the business website or to Facebook Messenger, which is becoming the latest way to instantly access millions of customers.  Other companies are developing their own chatbots on their sites to protect critical information, such as banks and financial institutions.

Starbucks Barista Bot

It probably doesn’t surprise anyone that Starbucks is among the first businesses to use chatbots for orders. It is part of the Starbucks Barista app in Facebook Messenger where you can order your drink and food in advance and it will be ready for you when you arrive to pick it up.  The bot answers your questions about what is available, tells you when the order will be ready, and can understand complex drink orders.  You’ll just need to have a linked credit card or gift card for payment.

Whole Foods Market

Get recipe ideas and inspiration and coming soon Whole Foods will offer coupons and a saved archive of recipes.  It’s as simple as typing an emoji in Facebook messenger and the bot will come up with a recipe suggestion.  You can give the bot any food allergies or preferences, and it can research options for your specific dietary needs.

Lyft 

You can order a ride from Messenger, Slack, or even Amazon Voice.  You can ask for a ride on the go, and you’ll receive a picture of the driver’s license plate and car type.  Arrange for a ride by telling the bot where you want to go, and it will arrange transportation for you with a few clicks!

Bank Of America’s Erica

 The chatbot named “Erica” was rolled out to limited customers on the East Coast before launching nationally.  Schedule payments, check balances, ask questions, all with the sense that you are speaking to a real assistant and not a virtual one.

Landbot_io

In an example of a company with a chatbot on their website, a bug in the system caused the chatbot screen to overtake the main homepage.  Users were taken to a large chat screen instead of the regular text page.  What was originally a glitch ended up being a revelation that when people are “forced” to chat, it helps to grow business.  In Landbot_io’s case, their glitch gave them four times higher conversion than when only the typical small chat window was available at the bottom of the screen.

live chatbots symbol

Use Live Chatbots To Benefit Your Business

There are numerous other examples of companies utilizing this amazing and convenient technology, for the benefit of their customers and workforce.  Workers can focus on more intricate problems and leave the mundane to a chatbot instead.  If you want to reach the masses, it looks like the chatbot is here to stay.  The live chatbot is an innovative and cost-effective way to expand your business.

Intelligent chatbots, either programmed or based on machine learning, are becoming a way of doing business.  Small and large companies are finding ways to integrate them into their marketing or customer service operations to create a competitive advantage.  We help companies of all sizes drive their lead capture and growth with this exciting technology.  Let us know if we can help.