Customer expectations are getting ever so high. Staggering 76% simply expects businesses to understand their needs and expectations. In fact, the experience has become so important that 81% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better experience. Hence, businesses of all shapes and sizes are pouring more resources into learning how to improve customer experience.
Since you are reading this article, I suspect you too are in search of customer relationship know-how.
Well, you have come to the right place.
Last time we dove deep into lead generation tactics, today, we will focus on helping you become customer-centric.
So, how do you achieve a great customer experience that allows you to connect with your audience,? Be fast? Be memorable?
Of all the CX strategies and CCM solutions out there, we believe “dumb” AI-free chatbots have much to offer.
Don’t believe me?
Let’s take a look… though, perhaps it’s better to get a couple of things straight before we start:
Firstly, the term “Dumb Chatbot” refers to a conversational interface that doesn’t rely on artificial intelligence.
AI is still too complex to be useful on a daily basis and too expensive & high-maintenance to be accessible to all including small businesses and individual entrepreneurs.
On the other hand, a “dumb” conversational chatbot leads users down a pre-designed conversation path. It branches out through providing pre-designed options while giving consumers a personal and playful feel.
The system relies on the premise of “choose your own adventure” first introduced in the last 70s in the form of a new children’s book The Cave of Time. This premise is also present in the first story-driven video games where players must make choices to advance the plot.
Unlike AI chatbots, “Choose Your Own Adventure” bots provide conversational experience and idea of choice while maintaining you in control of the customer journey. Hence, a dumb chatbot is often capable of providing a better service that its “smart” counterparts.
In the bot world, dumb is the new smart!
Secondly, let’s address the other most common misconception about chatbots: 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 favor 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, as chatbot best practices dictate, they should be used to take your website experience to the next level. 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. All that while providing human touch and brand-appropriate entertainment.
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 can play very different but equally important roles in customer experience management (from marketing to sales and support). In other words, working in conjunction, bots and your human team can be unconquerable.
If you want to use chatbots for customer communication, you need to program them accordingly. So, as you develop your approach, there are five ways you can use bots to prep and connect clients with your team to engage in high-impact conversations.
Getting consumers to visit your site is hard.
Getting them to engage with it is even harder.
I don’t have to emphasize that 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, there is little they can do other than wait to be noticed.
Chatbots can offer your brand a voice and personality your target audience can relate to and be the ice-breaker your website needs to gain their attention.
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 visitors arrive on Cleanily website (Cleaning service from York, UK), the company chatbot greets them right of the bat.
The chatbot gives them a warm welcome spiced up with an entertaining gif. Before they know it, potential customers are walking down the funnel of an interactive conversation that gives them the answers they needed.
If a visitor has a specific needs or questions, 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, eventually, it can also result in frustration — and an exit from the site.
A chatbot prevents this from happening by kicking the browsing experience off with a conversation. This way, the visitor is engaged right from the beginning and starts receiving the assistance before even having asked for it.
Yes! The benefits of conversational interfaces don’t end with a higher engagement rate.
Once you have the attention of your visitors, bots make it easy to personalize their experiences.
The aforementioned study by SalesForce concluded that:
- Customers are 2.1 times more likely to consider personalized offers as important vs. unimportant.
- 59% of customers consider tailored engagement based on past interactions as crucial to winning their business.
So, it’s safe to assume personalization is kind of important.
For example, BuddyNutrion sells customized personalized vitamin smoothie shots. In order to make a sale, the company needs comprehensive personal information about every customer in order to prepare their personalized shot.
And while many health & supplement providers collect this kind of information using handwritten forms, BuddyNutrion handles the process with a chatbot.
The bot begins by introducing itself and what it aims to do. It proceeds to ask the name and email followed by more personal questions (age; height; flavor preferences; nutritional knowledge; and lifestyle).
This way, customers can take part in a personalized consultation 24/7. Furthermore, when someone from the company is free to assist them, they 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.
Furthermore, you can anticipate and protect yourself and your users from interruptions.
It’s quite possible to optimize your chatbot to remember previous interactions and pick up where the user left off upon their next visit:
It will let the client know you are in for a long term commitment.
The highlight of a conversational interface is that it allows you to treat all customer interactions “individually” without needing a large support team or high technical costs as creating a chatbot doesn’t require coding skills.
Some visitors arrive on your site specifically with the goal of getting in touch with someone from your company.
Many brands attempt to simplify this process with a standard “Contact Us” page. Nevertheless, that’s not necessarily the most effective approach. Especially for businesses 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.
Plus the waiting time is a huge bummer. According to a Salesforce study, 64% of consumers and 80% of B2B buyers expect companies to respond to their queries and interact with them in real time.
Chatbots streamline this process.
For example, see FancyRhino’s chatbot below. When a visitor opts to engage with, it begins the process by presenting them with a multiple-choice list of options:
This way, it immediately determines whether the visitor is a prospective customer, a potential hire, or someone reaching out with a more general inquiry.
If the user has questions that the bot isn’t equipped to answer, it can easily route them to the team best-suited to answer, be it sales or customer support.
It definitely beats being passed on from person to person, having to explain your case over and over again. Accenture study found that 89% of customers get very frustrated having to repeat their issues to several representatives.
Most lead-based businesses use static forms to collect data from leads.
These forms typically include the same handful of fields: user’s name; email address; phone number; and possibly another detail like their budget or project type. Next, the visitor is directed to a standard “Thank You” page. Their submission is entered into a spreadsheet or passed along to the company’s CRM for the sales team to review.
This process isn’t exactly engaging for new leads. Also, reading through submissions can be tedious for sales representatives which often results in slow response time.
Chatbots can improve your lead qualification process on both ends:
- They can give the lead the information he or she is looking for based on the details they enter;
- Use the submitted 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 is not able to assist them. In the experience economy, saving customer attention is as important as catching it!
Plus, if you program your bot to evaluate submissions based on individual answers, the chatbot can score your leads for you and deliver the info to your team.
This way, sales representatives can avoid wasting time reading through contact form submissions from visitors who are unlikely to make a purchase. Instead, they can focus their efforts on qualified leads.
Reduced cost per lead!
Even the most intelligently programmed chatbot won’t be able to answer all of your customers’ inquiries. And that’s okay!
Customer communication is complex and versatile.
What it does need to do for each of your visitors is to put them in touch with someone from your team who can provide further assistance.
One option for making this happen? Add an option that allows users to ask to speak with a sales or support representative to your chatbot’s menu.
However, you can take things a step further. It’s possible to program 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.
There is no need to wait for the visitor to become frustrated and search for this option on their own. Instead, let your chatbot take a proactive approach. Design it to identify when to delegate the query to a human representative.
In other words, chatbot lets you provide live chat function without overburdening your team. On the other hand, clients are able to get simple answers quickly and avoid long waiting times before a representative becomes available.
The foundation of any great customer experience strategy is great data.
You can read as many studies as you want, the most important answers can only come from your real customers.
CX strategies should be built opinions and needs of the client base they mean to serve.
To do that, you not only need to ask questions, but you also need to ask the right questions and you need to get your clients to answer them.
Did you know that, according to CapGemini study, around 75% of companies believe to be customer-centric but only 30% of clients agree?
Once again, friendly pre-designed conversations can help you catch the attention of your existing clients. Better yet, it can compel them to provide you with the answer you need to improve customer experience. In fact, chatbot surveys have been shown to double response rates as they allow for an interactive experience.
For example, if a loyal customer mentions a particular problem you are aware of and trying to fix, you can offer them your apologies and a discount voucher in the middle of completing the survey.
What have we learned?
Chatbots can serve many purposes:
- Collect customer information in an unobtrusive way
- Turn search for information into a game
- Personalize customer journey
- Qualify leads and sort between client queries
- Connect visitors with your customer service or sales team for further – more relevant – assistance
- Bring personality and dynamism into otherwise mundane actions
- Create memorable experiences
- Offer consistent experience across multiple channels as you can embed them on your website or social media and receive the data under a unified dashboard.
The most important takeaway should be that when your chatbot strategy is built around bots assisting your team members — rather than replacing them — you can use the power combo to drive both positive experiences and sales.
Are you ready to build your first bot?