Social media has become one of the most important forms of marketing and communication between businesses and their audience in recent years. Businesses are now turning to social media to leverage their customer service and allow consumers to contact them 24/7 via “live chat.”
While many businesses may have a system to “queue” online chats and wait for the next representative takes your questions as soon as they are available, a new option has entered the market: Chatbots.
What is a Chatbot?
Chatbots are automated programs built for the purpose of engaging with your audience via messages. These messages can be programmed to respond the exact same way every time someone contacts your business, OR that can be programmed to respond a certain way based on keywords within the customers question/s.
Why Businesses are Loving Chatbots
Wonder why Chatbots are so helpful (and can have an enormous impact on your business)?
A Harvard Business Review study found that replying back to a potential customer within one hours time makes it seven times more likely to make a sale than if you were to reply in two hours.
Why? Customers WANT to be answered quickly. It not only makes their experience much more enjoyable, it also makes your business seem more attentive to your audience. That’s a win, win, for the customer AND you!
A major feature of Chatbots are that they allow businesses to respond to customers with automated messages to make sure they get the exact answer they need or provide some generic help until a real person can answer their questions!
Wondering how you could implement a Chatbot in your own business?
Drift asked customers what they would potentially use Chatbot for – see the results below!
Now that you know what Chatbots are, let’s dive a little deeper into a few reasons why Chatbots may be a great solution for your business!
Why are Chatbots great for small businesses?
1. Chatbots save both time and money
Think about how much time you spend answering potential customers questions. That is time that can be utilized elsewhere in your business. We think about it like this: If you can automate something in your business, while STILL providing an amazing client experience, DO IT!
This means less money spent on the time you or your employee/s spend answering customers day to day! And more likely, this also means your customers or potential customers are getting helped even faster and more efficiently.
2. Chatbots can generate leads and sales
This is a HUGE opportunity! Chatbots can direct customers or visitors to wherever YOU want them to go! They can also help to nurture leads that have signed up for an opt in, freebie, etc and make sure they’re receiving all of the value possible!
See an example below of our Chatbot from our virtual digital marketing Summit:
If you take this same strategy of nurturing leads with a Chatbot, you could lead more of your prospects into sales as they receive information and value from you (aka your bot!) in a super timely fashion.
3. Chatbots can give users a better user experience
If potential or current customers are contacting you with a question, you want to lead them to the correct answer/s as quickly as possible, right?
Chatbots make this SO easy. You can set up a system so that they can tell you EXACTLY what is wrong just with the click of a button. Your Chatbot will then provide them with an automated answer to their problem.
What’s better than solving problems quickly and effectively?
4. Chatbots provide support 24/7
As small businesses, it is tough to provide attentive customer support around the clock. It’s not out of choice, but rather the fact that there is not enough manpower to take the time and respond! Plus, we’re all about work-life balance around here – which means we hope you’re not on Facebook Messenger answering questions at 2 am!
Still, in our online world, customers expect customer support at all hours of the day because they are used to that type of service with many large corporations.
Well, our business-owning friend, your time of only providing support during businesses hours are OVER!
By using a Chatbot, customers can get relevant and targeted answers from you anytime of the day! Since you can automate the system to answer whatever your customer is asking, these Chatbots can often be just as helpful as talking with an actual customer service representative (and MUCH faster!).
5. Chatbots allow you to stay on brand
You may think that automating customer service responses won’t give the user your true brand experience (trust us we thought that too!).
But, after we started using Chatbots in our own business and seeing all of the features play out, it is AMAZING how detailed and specific you can be in your automation set up.
For example, you can use meme’s in the Chatbot (like we do : ) ) to show you are more of a conversationalist, friendly brand!
Since you get to draft up your responses, options, buttons, and logic ahead of time – the way you respond and help customers doesn’t need to change! Keep on writing in a way that best reflects your brand and best serves your client!
How to Get Started with Chatbots
Ready to give Chatbots a try for yourself? Below we’re sharing a few quick steps to walk you through the start-to-finish of setting up your very own Chatbot for Facebook messenger!Decide which Chatbot platform you are going to use
1. Decide which Chatbot platform you are going to use
There are many platforms out there to choose from, it all depends on preference, how detailed you are going to get with your Chatbot and cost.
*Note: All examples below were created in Chatfuel*
2. Set up your Chatbot’s “Welcome Message”
We all know that it’s physically impossible for us to be available to chat 24/7 (especially for all you solo business owners out there!).
BUT, you don’t want that to make your customer service anything less than amazing. That’s why you should always have an automated message go out to anyone who contacts you. See an example below!
You want your welcome message to give the visitors a direct avenue to follow for more information about you and your business. Remember, each message is an opportunity for you to serve AND showcase your brand’s voice!
3. Add “blocks” to your chatbot conversation
A block will allow you to add buttons to your message (see #4). Think of your blocks as the “options” or different ways that you could drive this Chatbot conversation.
It may be helpful to think about what people would be contacting you for about via Messenger, and make sure you have a solution for that common contact request.
For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you may want an option for “Contact Us” “Are you available” or “what are your packages?”
For us, we like to provide them with a few ways to opt in to valuable resources (like our free 5-day targeting challenge) as well as a generic way for them to get in touch (outside of messenger, and if they have a question they want more help with).
4. Add buttons to your welcome message
Make sure this is something you incorporate into every welcome message. You don’t want your visitor to have to wait for you to get back to them in order for them to get information.
This doesn’t have to be anything crazy either. You can offer them a free resource and the option to contact you! Bada bing bada boom.
5. Customize the blocks
Click on the individual blocks you made in the left hand menu in order to personalize what happens when someone clicks on one of the buttons from the welcome message.
So for example, each person would receive a welcome message with two options:
- Take our free challenge
- Contact Us
Depending on which button they click, it will trigger a different block to begin. Within each block’s options, you can customize what those responses or continued conversations look like.
And there you have it! You’ve set up your very first Chatbot!
Do you use Chatbots for your business?
As you can see, creating an automated messaging solution via a Chatbot that answers interested customers is one of the best things you can do for your business.
It gives them information right away and gives YOU time to craft a response so they don’t sit there waiting for hours or days!
We’ve been having a lot of fun testing out bots in our own business, and we’d love to know: Do you have a Chatbot set up in your business model? If so, which platform do you use? If not, do you see this being helpful in your business?