How Can Bots Improve Your Customer Service?
Friday, October 9, 2020
If you use the Internet, you’ve likely interacted with a bot at one point or another. Whether you were comparing private health insurance or booking a hotel, websites and social media pages are now improving their customer service strategy using chatbots.
Small business owners can improve their own customer service efforts by taking advantage of bots and AI chats, too. And it’s not as complicated as you might expect.
Here, we’re explaining what bots are, how they work, and a guide to implementing bots on your websites and social media.
What is a bot?
A bot, also known as a chatbot, is a form of Artificial Intelligence that sends automated messages to your customers on your website, social media pages, and elsewhere online.
You’ve probably seen them on some of your favourite websites as airlines, online shops, and even Facebook Messenger are now taking advantage of this powerful customer service tool.
Chatbots are usually triggered by some online event like:
- Browsing a website
- Opening a Facebook Page
- Adding products to an online shopping cart
- Clicking “Help”
A chat box appears as a result of the trigger and customers are prompted to start a chat with the bot. Using complicated algorithms, these bots recognise keywords and phrases to answer customer questions, purchase products, subscribe to lists, and more.
Formerly, you’d need a robust customer service team to be able to respond instantly to every query that would come through. But now, bots can help you improve your customer service with automated chat services.
There are countless ways to use bots to improve your customer service. Let’s learn more about how bots can be utilised.
How You Can Use Bots to Improve Customer Service
It’s been theorised that bots will soon replace mobile apps and email marketing and while that hasn’t happened yet, it’s a good idea to learn more about this trend before you fall behind. Here’s how you can use bots in your business.
Provide 24-Hour Customer Service
As consumers, our attention is rather fleeting. If we send customer service an email and hear nothing back in a day or two, we’re bound to take our business elsewhere.
But all the same, you’d be hard-pressed to find a small business with the budget to staff constant 24-hour customer service representatives. So what to do?
Chatbots can provide helpful 24-hour customer service at a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay people to do the same job.
You can also use bots to answer commonly asked questions immediately.
No matter how often you update your FAQs, business owners seem to always receive similar queries over and over. With bots answering FAQs for your customers via chat services, it frees up your live customer service team to deal with more pressing issues.
Personalise the Chat Experience
Bots these days are incredibly sophisticated and are only becoming more so. Businesses are now able to personalise the chat experience for their customers with appropriate branding and tone of voice.
Even though the messages are automated, it’ll still sound like it’s coming from you.
Start Conversations with Customers
Another way to use chatbots is by starting a conversation with your customers. Similarly to how you might greet anyone who walks into your store, clinic, or office, you can use bots to start conversations.
If someone’s perusing your website or scrolling through your social media profile, a chat box might pop up with something like:
- “Hi, how can we help?”
- “Hello. Ready to book an appointment?”
- “Welcome, friend. Let us know if you have any questions!”
Even if they never planned to click the “help” button or send in a question, bots can be the conversation-starters that lead to more engagement with your customers.
Successful Bot Examples
You won’t have to look far to find incredible examples of bots on the internet. Here, we’re sharing just a few successful bot examples in terms of customer service, personalisation, and starting conversations.
Chatbots are incredible for online customer service. They’ll pop up on your website or Facebook Page to answer any customer questions and make users feel supported on their purchase journey.
Here is a great example of a customer service bot from Amtrak lending a helping hand to online customers.
Source: Impact Bnd
Domino’s Pizza now has a personalised bot system via Facebook Messenger that allows customers to order a pizza through the chatbot.
Its simple interface offers customised messages like “New Order” and “Track Order.” Chatbots can be personalised to fit any brand message, call-to-action, and marketing campaign.
On social media and elsewhere online, one of the main objectives is to build engagement with your brand. After all, we’re more likely to trust a brand and use their products and services when we have a good experience from the get-go.
Here’s an example from NatGeo, using a bot to start a conversation via Facebook Messenger. Using humour and a clear brand voice, the company is able to engage with John, the potential customer, in this unique marketing tactic.
Source: Impact Bnd
Step How to Implement Bots: A Step-by-Step Guide
Here, we’re taking you through how to implement your own bots to improve your online customer experience.
Choose a Bot Service
Bots are a hot trend in digital marketing, so you’ll find lots of chatbot services that are functional across various platforms. Some of the most popular bot services include:
Decide When You Want the Bot to Activate
Using a bot service will generally be pretty self-explanatory but you will still have to make some decisions. For example, you’ll have to decide when you want the bot to activate, or in other words, when the bot should start chatting.
- Will a chat pop up right away?
- Do you want the bot to wait a few minutes before activating?
- Does the customer need to click the “help” button for the chat to start?
Understand the Goal You Have for the Chatbot
Depending on your marketing strategy, it’s likely you’ll have widely different goals in terms of using a bot for customer service. Decide on what goal you’ll be working toward.
- Is the bot there to answer questions?
- Will you use the bot to encourage the sale a certain product?
- Are you hoping to get more bookings with the bot?
Come Up with Possible Questions and Answers
Just like a conversation with a customer service agent, your customers will be responding to one another in real-time. The way it works is that you’ll premeditate the questions and answers to allow the conversation to flow.
Again, your chatbot service will help you through these sequences but essentially, you’ll be thinking in terms of “if, then” statements, meaning if the customer says this, then the bot says that. The graphic below shows an example of a bot conversation script.
Best Practices When Utilising Bots
Here are some tips to keep in mind when setting up your chatbot for the first time:
- Make it clear that it’s a bot. You won’t be fooling anyone by pretending that a real person is behind the screen. These days, people are totally fine with chatting to bots online. If they’re not, you can create an option via the bot to speak with a real person from your team. Problem solved.
- Don’t be annoying. We don’t know how else to put it, but bombarding your customers with chat greetings on every website page is annoying. We get that you want to engage, but just like the overzealous sales clerk, sometimes customers just want to be left alone to make their decision. One greeting is enough.
- Provide choice options. Instead of programming your bot with open-ended questions, add some choice options instead. Customers are more likely to click on a choice than type out an answer and it’ll also help you create clear answer templates.
Why do bots improve customer service through social media?
Not only can bots be powerful tools on your website, but they’re also utilised on social media with amazing success. One of the most powerful ways to implement bot customer service is through Facebook Messenger.
Facebook Messenger has a powerful chatbot service that anyone with a Business Facebook Page can set up. There’s an extremely low barrier of entry and with high-level demographics at your fingertips, there’s a lot you can do.
The good news is that the bot services listed above can be easily integrated into your Facebook Page for the ultimate functionality.
Some of the best reasons to use bots on social media include:
- Reaching your audience directly
- Saving time and money
- Lead identification
- Handle e-commerce transactions via social media
- Re-engage customers
The bottom line is, utilising bots on Facebook can produce just as much, if not more, ROI than using bots only on your website. Plus, Facebook Messenger is so widely used and understood, that you’ll be communicating with your customers in a way they’re comfortable with and used to.
Chatbots are an exciting feature that every small business owner can take advantage of. By saving time and money while simultaneously improve your customer service capabilities, it’s a no-brainer.
Want to learn more about Chatbots? Check out these resources below: