We are already stepping into the world of the sci-fi movies of a few years ago. Virtual reality, artificial intelligence and anthropomorphic robots already exist and are starting to play an ever-increasing role in our daily lives. As people demand more and more to have access to businesses 24/7, companies have to find ways to automate these interactions. And the latest technologies are here to help them.
What Are Chatbots?
Chatbots are a form of artificial intelligence. They are cyber entities programmed to interact with people, collect information from them and answer questions. They are quite sophisticated and some of the best programmed ones are able to carry conversation, pick up keywords and give pertinent answers based on them.
Initially introduced as a form of digital entertainment (grow or educate your own bot websites have been around for years), chatbots are now members of the sales and marketing teams of many companies. And you should have one, as well.
A chatbot is a valuable addition to your lead generation and sales funnel strategies. It helps your efforts by being available around the clock and never letting prospects wait too long until they receive an answer. But answering questions is just the most basic task chatbots can perform. These are the various ways in which you can use them for your marketing activities:
- Suggest Products to Potential Customers
Many retail brands use chatbots to learn about their customers’ preferences and recommend products they may like. By asking questions, or asking customers to pick their favourite from among two or several clothing items, the chatbot is able to predict quite accurately if the person prefers a casual, sport, elegant or business attire.
Once this initial step is completed, the chatbot will suggest full attires or individual products and guide the prospect to each specific product page.
- Automate Sales
The Mexican food chain Taco Bell uses a bot – aptly named TacoBot – to receive and process customer orders faster. The bot is able to retrieve orders from voice messages and send them to the food preparation team. This means that there are no more queues, no more misplaced orders, and that each customer receives accurate information about the time they have to wait until their order is ready.
Chatbots can also be used for subscription-based services, to remind customers that they need to renew their monthly or annual subscription, and even perform the renewal upon confirmation from the customer.
- Collect Email Addresses
Chatbots help you grow your subscribers’ base. Whenever your prospects ask complex questions, the chatbot encourages them to leave their email addresses in order to receive a detailed and documented answer.
This simple tactic is more effective than asking people to subscribe to a newsletter. In this particular instance, people are interested to allow your company to contact them by email in order to have their question answered.
- Share Daily Advice to Social Media Fans
Constant engagement on social media is a must, but you may not always be around. And, no matter how much you automate posts, direct messaging is even more engaging. Many celebrities and companies use Messenger chatbots to share daily advice and entertaining or thoughtful information with their followers through the direct messaging service.
This is not an intrusive experience; in fact, people look forward to it and develop a habit of checking their Messenger app around the hour when the next topic is supposed to be posted.
- Create a Guided Shopping Experience
Many people need assistance with shopping. They are used to shop assistants coming up to them and offering to show them where to find a specific item, or even recommend various complementary products.
Chatbots can do the same thing in online stores. They can advise customers on product care, available sizes and colours, reserving an out-of-stock product, and so on. The interaction with a chatbot is a big plus for your business in terms of persuading undecided prospects to place an order.