A chatbot is an artificial intelligence (AI) application that can imitate a real conversation with a user in natural language. Chatbots enable conversation via textual or auditory methods on websites, messaging applications, mobile apps, or telephone.
Chatbots use machine learning to identify communication patterns. With continued interacts with humans, they learn to mimic real-life conversations and react to spoken or written requests, in turn, delivering a particular service. Since chatbots use AI, they understand language, not merely commands. Thus, they become more intelligent as they have more conversations with users. Worth noting is that aside from AI-based chatbots, there are those that are based on multiple choice scripts, in essence, option Y leads to path B and so on.
Why chatbots are important for business
Let’s highlight some of the advantages that chatbots offer businesses going by findings in the State of Chatbots report of 2018.
- Help companies to provide 24-hour service. 64% of respondents in this survey reported that 24-hour service is one of the advantages of using chatbots. See, with bots, businesses can ensure that they respond to customer queries regardless of the time thus boosting customer experience — an essential factor for success in business.
- Allows brands to reach out to more customers. Going by this report, 69% of users prefer bots over apps when interacting with businesses. It, therefore, makes economic sense to use this channel if a brand is to pass information regarding their products and services to a broader demographic.
Benefits of a chatbot
Below are more benefits of using chatbots in business:
- Better customer engagement. Chatbots shine at engaging both prospects and customers leading to more sales. While a brand can tend to go overboard with the traditional customer service by providing more information than is required, chatbots only give bits of information based on the input provided by users at each time. They do not end up annoying users with irrelevant information. Instead, they keep the customers engaged for longer by sharing the necessary content flowing.
- Cost savings. Business owners have to pay their employees at the end of it all. These expenditures keep increasing as the business grows and can soon reach uneconomical levels. Chatbots are a one-off investment that assists firms in cutting down on staffing expenses. Brands can easily integrate customer support chatbots to cater to simple concerns of prospective customers and pass on the complex issues to customer service agents.
- Tracking gaining insights and consumer data. Chatbots collect useful feedback from customers, and this information can go a long way in helping brands to improve their services. Moreover, this feedback can prompt brands to optimize their sites by making changes to low-converting pages.
- Successful lead generation, qualification, and nurturing. Chatbots receive consumer information that enables them to send personalized messages to customers at various stages of the sales funnel. Bots can ask relevant questions, persuade the prospect, and, in turn, generate a lead for a brand. Moreover, bots can help businesses to find out unqualified leads via key performance indicators (timeline, relevancy, resources, budget, etc.); thus, barring businesses from dealing with time-consuming leads.
- Easy operation in global markets. Chatbots help enterprises to offer excellent customer service in multiple languages all year round. In turn, brands can scale up their operations at new markets.
How does a chatbot work?
Chatbots primarily use artificial intelligence to talk to people and give relevant content or suggestions. They can function based on a set of instructions or use machine learning. A chatbot that works based on rules is usually quite limited. That is, it is designed to respond to fixed commands. So, if a person asks it the wrong thing, it will not understand what the question means, and therefore, will not provide an appropriate response.
Also, how smart the bot will be is solely dependent on how it is programmed.
On the other hand, a chatbot that uses machine learning works better as it has an artificial brain. So, the bot understands not only commands but also language. The user, therefore, does not have to use precise words to get accurate or useful responses. Moreover, the bot learns from interactions it has with users and can deal with similar situations when they arise later. It essentially becomes smarter as it talks to more people.
Apart from AI-based chatbot, there is one more which proves useful for marketers. This type of chatbot is simpler as any marketing enthusiast, even a beginner, can work with it. It deals with group message sending. Brands use it to empower their email marketing and web push strategies. Facebook campaigns allow to increase outreach, boost sales, and improve customer support. All that made possible in SendPulse without coding skills required. Stay tuned to start your messenger marketing.
How to create a Facebook chatbot in SendPulse
Facebook Messenger, being the second most used messenger app in the world and the first in America, is the best place to set up a bot. In SendPulse, businesses can create Facebook Messenger chatbots to send personalized marketing content to recipients and have conversations with subscribers. Do messenger marketing in SendPulse in these steps:
Step 1 Create an account in SendPulse and go to the “Messengers” tab
If not already on SendPulse, sign up. If you are already logged in, click “Facebook chatbot” under products. Find the “Messengers” tab at the top of the page and click on it.
Step 2 Connect your Facebook profile to SendPulse
Sign in to Facebook to connect the business profile with SendPulse. Once in, all pages associated with the profile will be uploaded automatically. Choose the page to create a bot for and click “Get Started.”
Step 3 Send a message to a new subscriber
SendPulse users can test the bot by subscribing to it themselves before launching it to actual customers.
Below is a Hello Fresh chatbot.
Here is how the Score uses a chatbot to provide fans with updates regarding their favorite teams.
Finally, HipMunk’s Facebook chatbot that helps travelers to book flights and hotels easily.
Chatbot best practices
Here are the best practices for building, testing and using a chatbot:
- Give the chatbot a personality. How people perceive the bot will affect how they converse with it. Simple things like giving it a face and a name can go a long way in enhancing user experience.
- Give users reading time between messages. No wait times or too short wait times makes it frustrating for the user to keep up with the conversation. So, set wait times depending on the length of the message and increase the wait times a bit more with each additional message.
- Know when to use buttons or quick replies. Quick replies are written as the user responds to facilitate the conversation flow and usually disappear after use. Buttons, on the other hand, are written when the chatbot is talking and are used to navigate. They do not go away after use.
- Use tactful quick replies to say no. Have polite negative quick replies that people can use without feeling bad about it.
- Give the user a way to re-engage with the bot at the end of the conversations. Craft a response that allows the users to re-engage the bot later.