When it comes to the customer journey, there’s nothing quite like the human touch. Be it a sales inquiry or a customer complaint, a lot can be done from the people behind the brand to create a satisfying consumer journey.
That doesn’t mean we should ignore the benefits that technology can provide for a company and its marketing capabilities and sales capabilities – look no further than the automated supermarket and fast food checkouts nowadays to see how automation is a big part of our shopping experience.
Away from the in person experience and into the digital realm, a helpful marketing technology is a website chatbot.
You might not recognise it from the name, but you’ll have seen them everywhere. They are those little pop-up icons that appear on certain websites offering help should you need it. The most (in)famous example is this little guy that popped up on early versions of Microsoft Word.
‘Clippy’ as he came to be known, was one of the first ‘virtual assistants’ in the internet’s early days, and he appeared on Word offering help on the Word software which, at the time, was in its infancy and not wholly understood in the way that it is now.
Today, although he’s not around anymore, Clippy the paperclip has left a living legacy of chatbots and virtual assistants in many corners of the internet, with many companies utilising them to make the customer journey easier and more efficient. Let’s look a little more into the world of Chatbots and how they can help with your digital marketing.
Chatbots in marketing
Chatbot marketing is a digital marketing technique that uses computer programmes as the first port of call for basic customer interactions, mainly for the purpose of creating sales.
The main draw of chatbots is to automate a company’s most basic customer services. This fulfills several needs – from sales and shopping, to FAQs and marketing.
Automating these process not only allows companies to engage with possible leads at all hours, it might actually encourage sales. Data suggests that over half of consumers are more likely to shop with a business they can message.
This is because those who spend longer on a website are more likely to have a serious interest in the product, especially if they then have an easy way of solidifying a purchase with an easy automated chat option.
Chatbots are also good at providing personalised experiences on your website, meaning that those who go on your website will have a pleasant and more intimate customer journey with the introduction of a conversational live chatbot.
Chatbots can also be easily adjusted to how you want that customer journey to go. Do you want them to feel welcomed and invited to your brand once they’ve arrived on your website? You can programme a chatbot to greet your website visitors with a friendly, almost human tone.
Want to help the customer get to exactly where they need to be? Use your chatbot to offer the exact service or page that they’re looking for to make the journey as seamless as possible for them. This could be for setting appointments for consultations, collecting emails for newsletters, or even allowing customers to browse through products and even make a purchase within it.
Chatbots and Customer Service
Chatbots can also be helpful for businesses that receive lots of customer service requests. Instead of having a full time team of people on call for every request, chatbots allow customer queries to be funneled down to a point where the best person is needed.
One of the most popular chatbots is actually integrated into messaging service Facebook Messenger. Many brands are integrated with Facebook as one of their primary social media accounts and so use the built-in technology available with Facebook to their advantage; especially smaller businesses whose majority of business may actually come from social media marketing.
What NOT to do with chatbots
It’s important to remember that chatbots are supposed to be an extension of your customer service, not an all-out replacement. Keep your chatbot restricted to the basic services like customer inquiries and sales, and ensure that if customers need further assistance beyond a bot that you have that on hand for when it’s needed.
In a similar vein, although chatbots should mimic human interactions, they probably shouldn’t seem like there is a person behind the text. This is for the very simple reason that trust is extremely important to the average customer.
Even if your bot is meant to come across another friendly employee of your brand, you’re better off at least clarifying that the bot is an automated service that will lead the customer towards a real person should they need it. This clears the air from the get-go and ensures that your customer knows who (or what) they’re dealing with in terms of their reason for being on your site.
Another mistake to avoid when it comes to chatbots is not knowing exactly what you want your chatbot to do for your site. As I explained, chatbots can fulfill several roles for your company, but not necessarily all of them at the same time.
Some roles may not even be suitable for your site so it’s worth figuring out how best you want a chatbot integrated into your customer journey. Sales? Customer service? FAQs? Without at least one of these goals in mind, you risk implementing a chatbot that does more harm than good for your sales funnel.
Regardless of how you have your chatbot, it’s safe to say that they are an increasingly popular and ever-useful part of your marketing arsenal. To learn more about the intricacies of digital marketing, click here for our latest blog post.
If you want help expanding your brand, Framework Marketing is a digital marketing agency rooted firmly in the construction industry. We specialise in SEO, PPC, website design, and lead generation. For more info, find our contact form here.