Chatbots are dynamic conversational tools that can be used to enhance customers’ experiences from lead generation to customer support by offering the right information in a fast, friendly, and conversational way. As technology develops, chatbots are being used more and more to replace traditional website forms, FAQs, call centers, customer service emails, and more.
To guide you through the many capabilities of chatbots and to prioritize implementing your chatbot with customer experience in mind, we’ve put together 15 ways to best use chatbots along with some tips for best practices.
Note: If not used properly, chatbots can hurt your customer experience rather than help by becoming a frustrating barrier between your customers and your company. Use this guide to avoid any bad chatbot experiences.
Live Chat Widget:
Having a live chat widget on your website makes it clear to customers that help is accessible. In fact, more than half of survey respondents said that they are more likely to make a purchase from a company that they can contact via a chat application. Your chatbot can act as your 24/7 customer service rep to direct visitors to information throughout your website and answer simple questions. For more complex issues, your chatbot can connect customers to an available member of your team.
1) Always give people the option to connect with your team in each step. Studies show that 86% of consumers would like the option to transfer to a human agent if their issue becomes too complex for a chatbot.
2) Make sure your chatbot can help website visitors in every stage of the customer journey, from awareness to post-purchase. Live chat widgets, or In App Chats (IACs), are a resource used by your prospects and customers alike. Include different options to direct prospects to educational content and your sales team, while leading current customers to your knowledge base or their account manager.
3) If prospects take the time to interact with your chatbot, it likely means they’re interested enough to want to find out more about your products or services. Take advantage of this and if your team isn’t available, make sure it’s easy for leads to leave their name and email address with your chatbot so your sales team can follow up. Offering something in exchange, like a discount, free trial or valuable content, will motivate people to submit their information.
4) If someone is waiting for a live agent to join, keep your chatbot chatting with them while they wait. Have your bot inform them that someone will be with them shortly and then offer to tell them some relevant statistics or even the bot’s favorite joke. This will keep customers engaged and entertained, so they won’t mind the wait.
Replacement for Website Forms:
In addition to a live chat widget, you can also use your chatbot to replace the forms on your website for a more conversational approach. According to a recent survey, only 14% of respondents would choose completing a website form over getting answers from a chatbot. Rather than a way to connect with a company, people sometimes view forms as a barrier. Additionally, submitting information conversationally is less overwhelming as customers see and answer questions one at a time, instead of being intimidated by a long form.
5) Make it engaging. One advantage to using chatbots over traditional forms is that your bot can be more compelling than blank text fields. Friendly and conversational language and a unique personality will keep customers interacting.
6) Keep it short and simple. Only ask for necessary information so that your customers don’t feel overwhelmed and abandon the process. This also allows you to collect only the information you need the most about your customers.
7) If it makes sense for a live team member to join the chat when the form experience has been completed, they should. The reason live chat is preferred by 79% of consumers is because of immediate responses, which many consumers define as being less than 10 minutes.
Your Scheduling Assistant:
Let your chatbot be your personal scheduling assistant. Whether it’s a design consultation, software demo, client call, maintenance appointment, or any other type of meeting, your chatbot can guide customers through the scheduling process to book time with one of your teams or a specific agent. Avoid unnecessary email back-and-forth by having your bot display your team’s available times for the customer to choose from. In addition, your chatbot can ask follow up questions to collect more information about the customer which will help give context to your meeting, contrary to most simple scheduling apps out there.
8) Having a bot that can qualify customers so they are booking time with the appropriate team or person based on their needs is advantageous. Talking to the right person the first time around makes for a better customer experience and it saves your team time. Segment your agents by location, specialty, service, department, or whatever else makes sense for your business, and have your bot connect customers to the person that can help them specifically based on their need.
9) Have your chatbot display a notes or comments section during the booking process and instruct people to include why they’re scheduling the meeting. This will give your agents context and allow them to prepare if need be to increase meeting productivity as well as the customer’s overall experience.
10) Allow customers to engage with your chatbot both before and after the meeting so they can start the conversation while their needs and questions are still fresh in their mind instead of waiting to tell your agents later. Maybe they’d like to know more about your company before the meeting, or maybe they have a quick follow up question. Your chatbot can assist them and an agent can even join the conversation if they need to.
11) Send a confirmation to the customer so they’ll have all the necessary information as well as a meeting reminder. Include details other than time and date, like the location of the meeting whether in person or online, a summary of what is being discussed, and perhaps information about the agent they booked a meeting with.
Specialized Post-Purchase Support:
In addition to capturing leads and educating prospects, chatbots are an incredibly useful resource for your customers post-purchase for troubleshooting, account management, questions, and more. Chatbots can be used to answer simple questions or direct customers to support documents, while leaving your human agents to address customers that have more complex issues. As mentioned earlier, your bot could be accessible for support on your live chat widget, but you could also have QR codes on your products, or direct customers to a link that they can visit to get support.
12) Using unique QR codes or links specific for the customer’s product, plan, or service allows you to offer a highly personalized and tailored chatbot support. If it makes sense for your business, have a specific code or link for each product or service you offer and create a specialized support experience so your chatbot can assist customers specifically based on the exact product or service they purchased. This will create a better experience for your customers as your agents won’t need to ask as many questions and can instead focus on assisting.
13) There needs to be the right balance between your chatbot and your human team. Companies often over-rely on their chatbot to take care of their customers’ questions and support issues, when chatbots should actually work along side your human team to provide a positive customer experience.
14) Let customers’ previous chatbot conversations provide context. Any previous interactions with your chatbot should be available to your agents so that they can better assist. Being aware of things like an existing issue or perhaps knowing that the customer might be looking to upgrade, will help agents provide better support and service without having customers repeat any information.
15) Don’t be afraid to experiment! Test out different greetings, multiple choice options, messaging, ways of connecting to your team, and more. Measure to see which messages and methods are most effective, then optimize to make sure you’re implementing your bot in the best possible way for your customers.
Placing a chatbot on your website isn’t a guarantee that your customers will have a great experience with your company throughout their journey. Instead, you’ll need to implement your chatbot strategically and use it as a tool to delight your customers by guiding them through forms and scheduling, while offering specialized customer support and access to your live agents to provide a wonderful experience.