For most businesses, a website’s primary role is to underpin lead generation strategy.

It helps your target audience learn more about your products and services, shows them how you differ from your competitors, and gives them the information they need to decide whether you’re the right choice for their needs.

Then, once it’s accomplished all of these goals, it needs to serve as the connection between your potential customers and your team. It should encourage visitors to get in touch with an employee at the right time, and let them know what to expect once they take this step.

But as most marketers will tell you, building a site that’s equipped to handle all of these tasks is often easier said than one.

And that’s where chatbots come into play. They’re uniquely suited to serve as the catalyst for valuable, high-impact conversations between your team and prospective leads.

Keep reading to learn why chatbots make excellent assistants to human employees, along with five ways they can prepare customers to speak with your team.

Chatbots aren’t intended to replace your human employees

Before launching into the ways in which chatbots can prepare customers to speak with your team, it’s important to address one of the most common misconceptions about them: that they’re intended to replace human employees.

This idea has prevented some companies from even considering adding chatbots to their websites and other digital channels. And to be fair, if this were the case, forgoing bots in favour of a solid support team would be a smart move.

But chatbots aren’t designed to play the same role as your human staff.

Instead, they should be used as part of the website experience. They can lead visitors through the customer journey and serve as a tool that directs each one to content appropriate to their interests, needs, and stage in the buying process.

And when done correctly, they can work beautifully alongside sales and support staff reducing the need for cold calling.

As Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Artificial Solutions Andy Peart explains, “Machines are all about data and humans are all about emotions. The decision to purchase with a particular company is more often rooted in emotional need than rational choice.”

Essentially, these “machines” on your site can take a data-backed approach to moving potential leads and customers towards conversion.

They can also handle relatively simple inquiries, freeing up your team to focus on more complex tasks.

But when it comes down to it, your human staff is irreplaceable. They can understand the emotional context of your audience’s needs and recommend products and services accordingly — which is an essential part o the conversion process.

With the right strategy, bots and people should play very different roles in your marketing, sales and support strategies to help lower your cost per lead. Still, both can be even more effective when used in conjunction with one another than they would be independently.

So as you incorporate bots into your site, it’s important to recognize the role they can play in connecting your audience with your team whilst gathering marketing qualified leads — and make sure that they’re “trained” to make those connections as effectively as possible.

5 ways chatbots can prepare customers to speak with your team

If you want to use chatbots to connect customers with your team, you need to program them accordingly. So as you develop your approach, there are five ways you can use bots to prepare your visitors for high-impact conversations.

1. Get visitors engaged with your site

In order to serve as a lead generation tool, your site needs to get your visitors engaged with your brand, products, and services. And a static page isn’t the most effective for reaching this goal.

No matter how well-written your copy or well-designed your visuals are, they ultimately communicate at your visitors through this virtual assistant — not with them.

As a result, many users likely skim through your pages in the hopes that something will catch their attention. And chatbots are ideal for making this happen.

They can play an active role in moving visitors from a casual browsing session to a two-way conversation with your brand.

For example, when a visitor arrives on WeldLogic’s website, they see the following pop-up in the lower right-hand corner of their browser.

The copy here is very simple, welcoming the visitor and asking how it can help. And after a user clicks this message to engage, the bot begins the conversation by giving a basic overview of what the company offers, then letting them know it’s available to help.

This way, if a visitor has specific needs or questions, normally asked to a customer service representative, they don’t have to spend time clicking through the site’s menus and pages in search of the information they need, or of content that catches their attention.

Although this approach might get them to right pages, it can also result in frustration — and an exit from the site.

A chatbot can prevent this from happening by starting the browsing experience off with a conversation. This way, the visitor is engaged right from the beginning, and can get the assistance they need, either from your site content or a member of your team.

2. Route users to the appropriate team

Some visitors arrive on your site specifically with the goal of getting in touch with someone from your company.

And while many brands attempt to simplify this process with a standard “Contact Us” page, that’s not necessarily the most effective approach for those with multiple customer-facing teams, or those that receive a high number of emails and inquiries.

For example, while one person might reach out because they’re a potential customer looking to make a purchase, another might be an existing customer that needs assistance with your product.

These two people would need to speak with your sales team and your support team, respectively — and they’re only two of the many people that might contact your business.

If you’re hiring, for example, you might get inquiries from potential applicants. If you run any kind of publication, you might get them from writers looking to contribute.

And if all of these submissions are sent to the same inbox, routing them to the right person can quickly turn into a mess.

Chatbots can simplify the process.

For example, when a visitor opts to engage with FancyRhino’s chatbot, it begins the process by presenting them with a multiple-choice list of options:

This way, it can immediately determine whether the visitor is a prospective customer, a potential lead, or someone reaching out with a more general inquiry.

Then, if the user has questions that the bot isn’t equipped to answer, it can easily route them to the team best-suited to their need.

3. Qualify new leads and prospects

Most lead-based businesses use static forms to collect data from leads. These forms typically include the same handful of fields for the user’s name, email address, phone number, and possibly another detail like their budget or project type.

Then, the visitor is directed to a standard “Thank You” page, and their submission is entered into a spreadsheet or passed along to the company’s CRM for the sales team to review.

But this process isn’t exactly engaging for new leads, and reading through submissions can be tedious for sales representatives.

Chatbots improve the process on both ends. They can give the lead information that’s relevant to the details they enter, then use those details to qualify each lead for the sales team.

For example, 1ClickSolar uses a fullscreen chatbot on one of its landing pages to walk visitors through the process of requesting a quote.

Once the user clicks “Let’s get started!,” the bot collects information using a question-and-answer style “conversation.”

And after working through basic details like name and contact information, the bot asks a few questions to assess whether the visitor is eligible for solar panel installation.

For example, since the company only operates in specific regions, the bot checks to make sure the user lives in a region where residential systems are available.

From there, it also asks for their monthly electric bill, type of roof, and estimated electricity usage. It also lets the visitor know at each step whether the company offers services that match each of these factors.

This way, they don’t have to worry about whether they’re wasting their time filling out a form for a company that isn’t equipped to assist them.

Plus, when a bot is programmed to evaluate submissions based on individual questions, it can determine whether each one is likely to be a qualified lead, and include this information with each entry the sales team receives.

This way, sales representatives can avoid spending time reading through contact form submissions from visitors who are unlikely to make a purchase, and focus their efforts on qualified leads that’ll eventually help reduce your cost per lead.

4. Collect initial details

Beyond collecting information that will help your team identify qualified leads, a chatbot can also gather the initial details they’ll need to provide personalized assistance.

For example, FemFuturist creates customized healthcare plans for its users — and their team needs comprehensive background information on each person in order to give recommendations that are in line with their health goals and priorities.

And while many healthcare providers collect this kind of information using handwritten forms, FemFuturist handles the process with a chatbot.

The bot begins by asking the user their name and preferred pronouns, then more in-depth information like their birthdate, health history, and health concerns.

This way, when someone from the company is free to assist a new potential customer, they’ll have all the background information they need.

Instead of spending time asking these basic questions, they can start offering personalized recommendations right from the start — enabling them to not only use their time more efficiently, but also provide a better customer experience.

5. Allow human operator takeover

Even the most intelligently programmed chatbot won’t be able to answer all of your customers’ inquiries. And that’s okay!

But what it does need to be able to do for each of those landing page visitors is put them in touch with someone from your team who can provide further assistance.

One option for making this happen is adding an option to your chatbot’s menu that allows users to ask to speak with a sales or support representative.

But you can take things a step further by programming your bot to automatically assign conversations to someone from your team when it’s stumped by a user’s input.

Using the Landbot builder, for example, you can tell your bot to route a visitor to an agent whenever it reaches a block in the conversation.

This way, you don’t have to wait for the visitor to become frustrated and search for this option on their own.

Instead, your chatbot can take a proactive approach to identifying when it isn’t equipped to provide the information a visitor needs, and can get your team involved as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

Chatbots can serve many purposes on a website and one of the most effective is connecting customers with your customer service or sales teams for further assistance.

And there are several ways this can work.

First, a chatbot can get visitors more engaged with your site than static copy or content by starting a conversation. Then, it can either direct those visitors to additional resources that are in line with their needs, or route them to the employee best suited to assist them.

Plus, if you use chatbots in your lead generation strategy, they can get better marketing qualified leads and help your sales team focus their efforts on the leads that are most likely to become customers or clients, without having to dedicate much time in cold calling.

From there, a bot can collect user details like contact information, interests, and even the scope of a potential project or request. This way, your team will already have all of the information they need when they reach out to that user, and can be fully prepared for a helpful conversation.

Finally, when used in conjunction with your staff, a chatbot can be programmed to allow for human takeover when necessary.

When your chatbot strategy is built around assisting your team — rather than replacing them — you can use them together effectively to drive the results you want.

If you have not created a chatbot for WhatsApp, now is the time. Get started by creating your free Landbot account today!