When you’re running a small business, there is often a lot on your plate – especially in this past year. While most small and local shops were trying to figure out how to move online and set up small eCommerce business websites, there was an influx of changes in how customers order and interact with your business.
In the United States alone, online sales grew over 31% from the first quarter to the second while retail fell nearly 4% in the same time period. Customers were quick to look for options with curbside pickup or delivery for not just restaurants or grocery, but their favorite brick-and-mortar shops, too.
This increase in eCommerce orders and online shopping likely meant that you were interacting with most of your customers through email or phone. Customers usually want quick responses and solutions. In fact, 63% of surveyed customers said they would be more likely to return to a website that offers live chat support.
As a busy founder, you may be wary of opening up a whole new support channel that you need to manage regularly. Live chat may not be something you can manage right away but have you explored chatbots?
Chatbots are conversational software that enables businesses to communicate with their audiences instantaneously and in a personalized way without having to compromise on automation. Let’s explore the benefits and how a chatbot can help mitigate some of the stress of running customer support or handling general inquiries.
While the average agent response time in a live chat window is quick, often responding under the twenty-three-second mark, a chatbot can respond instantly. Beyond that, your chatbot is pre-set with its responses so it always knows the right answer to provide.
Even if the customer can’t get the answer from a chatbot due to having a unique request, they will be able to be passed off to the right person on the team to handle the inquiry, based on all the information the chatbot had them enter. This means their inquiry can get answered quickly without a lot of back and forth.
Every day, your business has calls and emails to deal with via support channels. These may be answered by a team member or employee, but that’s often not the case. In 2019, 60% of customers said they preferred to interact with a small business over the phone versus email or in-person.
With all interactions switching to phone, email, video calls, or live chat you need to mitigate how many customers come through to you.
Setting up a chatbot that can offer instant and correct answers to direct your customers to the answers or links they need helps prevent dealing with emails that answer general inquiries about pricing, hours of operation, inventory, and other readily available data.
When your customer is browsing through items to buy in-person or over the phone, you can often upsell them on items that pair well with their needs or current purchases.
This is much more difficult to accomplish online when your customer is browsing through the site themselves and may not stumble across other items that you know they would love.
A chatbot can help lend a hand with your sales by showing items that customers are likely to be interested in based on the questions they are asking. There are many ways chatbots can increase sales but showing customers items that would appeal to them (such as socks to go with their new shoes! Or coffee for their new mug!) is a great way to accomplish that.
The good news is that if you’re a business owner looking for a chatbot, you can set one up yourself! You do not necessarily need to rely on a programmer or a developer to handle your chatbot. The cost is minimal to manage, the chatbot is easy to update and make changes to, and you can feel confident implementing a chatbot onto your website.
Busy entrepreneurs are often spread thin and the idea of adding in a live chat feature can be daunting.
You may be wondering, as a business owner, if you have the time or resources to manage another support channel effectively. Live chat leads to higher sales, customer retention, and customer satisfaction with your company and that virtual interactions are key to a successful business today.
Offering a chatbot on your website is a great way to handle customer inquiries that would otherwise come through phone or email and frees up time to handle more complicated customer requests. A chatbot is a great way to interact with your customers virtually and answer their questions effectively.