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Chatbots are a powerful marketing tool that can enhance and automate the customer journey, ultimately improving customer satisfaction and conversion rates. Using customer-facing chatbots can help improve efficiency. These chatbots operate on the frontlines to directly engage with your customer base, giving them a faster service and more accurate answers to their questions — plus, they make it easy to collect customer information to better qualify, nurture, and sell.
In this article, we’ll outline some of the most effective uses for chatbot marketing, as well as how they can help to maximize revenue.
Lead generation is a core aspect of a growing business. Brands that don’t generate new leads will stagnate, fall off, and eventually fail. While some brands may still use traditional lead generation methods like cold calling, direct mail, and referral networks, the digital age has produced a user base that is much more resistant to these approaches. Many of these traditional lead generation methods are being ignored because they don’t offer a dynamic personalized experience.
A good example of the power of personalization is targeted versus untargeted paid social media. Serving your ads to a general audience is going to be much less effective than using carefully collected and researched data to fine tune your target audience for ad distribution. Wouldn’t you rather send an ad about buying a car to a person that is actively looking to buy, close to the seller, looking for that make/model, and comfortable with price? Chatbots can get additional information like location, budget, and preference to help guide your lead generation targets.
Conversational lead generation enhances the collection of rote data, like shipping info, billing info, qualifying information, etc. Typically, an agent would have to have to ask for this information, however, a bot can do this conversationally, as opposed to a form fill or ecomm environment. Conversational bots can speed up the sales cycle by removing those unnecessary steps from the marketing funnel, where brands may experience higher dropoff points. Additionally, generating leads through a bot lead conversation, at the highest point of consumer interest (the moment that the user asks the question), increases conversion rates and speeds up the sales cycle when compared to funnels that require slower email/phone coordination, scheduling, etc.
Here are some examples of how chatbots can help us get the data that you need to improve your lead generation efforts:
Structured form fills
Pre-filled cookie data
Chatbots can be used to help drive customers through your sales funnel more efficiently. Customers that engage with a chatbot are more likely to convert and purchase more of your products or services.
Capture and qualify leads: Chatbot automation can continuously and consistently evaluate your audience and qualify leads. By asking the right questions, chatbots can create a better understanding of your target audience such as their likes and dislikes, preferred products, or other factors like demographics, interests, age, occupation, gender, etc. You can then use this information to segment your audience and qualify your leads. For instance, an ecommerce store that specializes in male grooming can use a chatbot to figure out which parts of their audience base are buying for themselves or for a loved one, if they need facial hair care products or just hair care products, etc Once these audiences are identified and segmented, they can be targeted with highly relevant content that is more likely to lead to conversions.
Increase average order value: Chatbots can suggest complementary items and services to your customers, or answer user questions that would otherwise be a roadblock in the user journey. For instance, imagine a customer is buying a comb, and asks a question about shipping via chat. Your chatbot could suggest a shampoo or conditioner as well. If the chatbot answers the question, the user may be more likely to purchase the comb, and to trust the shampoo suggestion. Further, a chatbot could algorithmically offer promotions like free shipping or discounts based on customer characteristics like region or purchase history that are proven to increase order values.
Reduce cart abandonment: Chatbots can proactively re-engage with customers who get stuck in the sales funnel. Let’s say a customer leaves a product in their cart and doesn’t check out. A chatbot can recognize this behavior and reach out to the user, reminding them that they have something in their cart, which will help to guide them towards a conversion. Chatbots can even send out periodic abandoned item updates like price changes or offers and discounts. According to SaleCycle, cart abandonment rates are generally between 70-75%. With the help of a chatbot, you could decrease that number, thereby increasing conversion rates through low-overhead automation.
Track customer signals: Chatbots can detect much more than simple cart abandonment. Long average page view times, for example, can indicate customer indecision. Likewise, excessively high page-per-session numbers might mean users are looking for information that they can’t find. There are many detectable events that might indicate areas of improvement in the funnel, and bots can identify them in real-time. Once a bot does detect a signal like this (which a human agent couldn’t do), it can step in to show tailored messages, run promos, or offer additional help.
Without the use of chatbot automation, it can be far too easy for a customer to get stuck on the payment portion of their transaction. When users get stuck at the payment hurdle, they will often leave and sometimes not come back, resulting in a lost conversion opportunity.
Chatbots work on multiple messaging channels to mitigate this circumstance. On some channels, they can even provide integrated payments within the chat flow. Let’s say a customer wants to pay their bill, but they’re experiencing some kind of roadblock — for example, their credit card brand is not accepted. Instead of having to call a 1-800 customer service number (something most of us dread), they reach out to you in the chat window on your website or via a social media messaging app. The chatbot is able to resolve the issue by asking a series of questions and accepting payment within the chat.
In the digital age, data is everything. Chatbot data collection allows us to more easily collect information in the form of data and research, with more advanced chatbot programs even able to help us process, organize, and use that information.
By allowing you to obtain a greater volume and quality of data, chatbots can provide insights into your user base that would be impossible or too time-consuming to explore. You can then use that information to improve your strategies and ultimately increase revenue.
For example, while not the immediate goal of the flow, each chatbot interaction is effectively a tidbit of survey data that a consumer is handing over — from their initial message that gets tagged as a specific intent (e.g., "I want to return these shoes" gives data both on return intent volume, but also a specific product), all the way to each response or decision they make in a bot flow.
This distinction can help to provide insight into aspects like why users are visiting your site, what issues they are encountering, and how you can better serve both typical and unique needs. The better we can address these intents and needs, the more we can improve user experience, resulting in customers that are more likely to purchase services and products.
AI, automation, and machine learning are powerful tools that will become major factors in almost every industry. To learn more, check out our ebook on AI and Machine Learning, which explores how these burgeoning technologies are connected to chatbots, as well as how you can use them to streamline and improve crucial aspects of your business.