“Hey Siri. What time does the Mall close?”

 

This is something many of us only thought possible in science fiction movies. The ability to ask a computer a question and then have it recite an answer in mere seconds seemed a far-fetched idea. Not too many years ago, this luxury seemed reserved for only members of Starfleet. But low and behold, technology in the real world caught up with science fiction, entering us into the age of chatbots.

 

 

What are chatbots?

Chatbots are artificial intelligence (AI) software programs designed to automate conversations between humans and computers. Using natural language, chatbots can interact with users via text and/or voice to provide information and answer questions.

 

 

Why are chatbots important?

The term “chatbot” may be new to you, but chances are you have already encountered this technology a time or two. While you may have experience using them from an end user perspective, you may not have considered how chatbots can be an important part of your business plan and content marketing strategy.

 

 

Inquiry screening

At its simplest core, chatbots can help automate certain customer service interactions and pre-qualify leads. Instead of employing people to answer simple customer inquiries like, “What are your weekend hours?”, or “What is your return policy?”, you can reorganize your structure and have a chatbot answer simple questions while staff can field the more complex inquiries.

 

Chatbots can help automate certain customer service interactions and pre-qualify leads Click To Tweet

 

availability of chatbots

Chatbots are available 24/7

By employing chatbots to answer simple early-stage questions, customers can receive answers to their basic question at any time, day or night. They don’t have to wait until you open in the morning to give you a call. In the world of on-demand service, this is perfect as it allows you to meet the basic needs of your customers when they want it.

 

 

Improve staff/customer relations

Additionally, chatbots are able to answer the same questions over and over without suffering from question fatigue. Your human staff may not appreciate answering the same three questions day in and day out. There is no challenge involved and their desire to help customers may suffer. To combat this issue, a chatbot can be used do this type of work. Staff can be reassigned to answer more complex questions. This allows them to become better versed in what your company does, which can help your customer service down the line.

 

 

Generate Leads

Chatbots can also be used to generate leads. This can be done in two ways. First, a chatbot can ask users questions about why they are on your site. Based on this feedback, you can explain to them how your services might benefit them in ways they hadn’t considered. If the user has expressed an interest in learning more, they can then be passed off to a staff member to close the sale.

 

Secondly, now that staff do not have to answer basic questions, their time can also be used to help generate leads. For example, they can join conversations on social media, do cold calling, and follow up on leads generated by the chatbot.

 

 

Improve the Customer’s Experience

Chatbots are also important as they can help improve your customer’s experience. Customer’s may need to know certain information, but don’t have a clue where to find it. A chatbot can ask the customer a few simple questions to help narrow down what they are looking for. Based on the customer’s responses, the chatbot can either provide the required information or direct them to the appropriate page on your website.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Chatbots can be a powerful addition to your marketing strategy. They can improve the efficiency of your marketing strategy which can lead to better customer experiences.

 

The key to implementing a successful chatbot strategy is to have a plan before you start. Map out the most common questions your company is asked. After you have your list, you then need to decide which questions the chatbot will respond to and which ones you want your staff to address. This will help narrow down how much content you will need in order to populate the chatbot’s responses. Finally, you need to craft the chatbot’s responses making sure to keep your company’s brand and voice top of mind.

 

By spending the time needed at the beginning of your project to map out your needs, a chatbot system can seamlessly meld with your other marketing strategies.

 

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