For some sales and marketing professionals, chatbots are an exciting new way to leverage AI to save resources and improve the customer experience. For others, they’re seen as a gimmick that detracts from the care and attention of more traditional, tried-and-tested customer interaction methods. Because the abilities and purpose of chatbots are more diverse than ever, thanks to recent leaps in conversational AI, people can approach the topic from a wide range of standpoints and preconceptions. If you’re a sales professional looking to optimize your processes but are not convinced about the value of chatbots, here are some key ways this technology can help increase sales and improve customer service.
Traditionally, qualifying leads through content on your website requires a bit of work on the user’s part. Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are defined by some previous action they’ve taken on your site, such as having:
- Downloaded content
- Signed up for a newsletter
- Requested information
Though these interactions with your content can all be promising indicators of a great opportunity, chatbots aren’t often given credit as an entry point for qualified leads. Before your site visitors even think of reaching out for support, a chatbot can pop up with a menu-based chat that visitors can navigate to answer their most pressing questions. This kind of proactive interaction can give visitors the information they want before they even know they want it, potentially turning people who are complete strangers to your brand into qualified, fertile leads.
To make the most of this chatbot feature, it’s essential to tailor how chatbots reach users based on how they interact with your site. Using user engagement insights from tools like Google Analytics, you can customize your chatbot’s behavior to pop up at the right time, on the right pages, and even create personalized greetings using visitor data. Consider setting up qualifier questions for your chatbot to ask prospects so you can pre-qualify leads in real-time. By presenting the right questions at the right time on the right pages, you’ll ensure more positive interactions and minimize missed opportunities that skim along the top of your funnel.
Improving the Total Volume of Generated Leads
Another core benefit of using chatbots, mainly if your organization has limited resources, is that they can take on the role of a rep by guiding contacts into the sales pipeline and increasing the overall volume of callback requests. Though basic chatbot integrations often fall short in this area, they can become influential nodes in good two-way conversations with a bit of work.
For example, if someone lands on your site and sends a message to your chatbot asking about a particular feature of your product, a basic bot will simply reply with that specific information. However, after some customization to its conversation flows, your chatbot could seize this opportunity to learn more about the customer, empowering you to succeed in future face-to-face interactions that address your leads’ unique wants and needs.
Nurturing Opportunities in Any Language
Like many companies, you may target and deal with global customers regularly. Despite the shock to the international supply chain brought on by covid, the modern business arena is still very much borderless. You need to accommodate international customers as best as possible. Many modern chatbot integrations have multilingual capabilities that adjust the language they use to communicate according to a specific user’s preferences. If, for example, a user opts to view the French version of your site, this will send a signal to a chatbot to interact with visitors in French.
Though presenting content in international languages like English, Spanish, or Mandarin can carry these conversations in many cases, language gaps still potentially cause lost sales. By plugging those gaps with a multilingual chatbot, you’ll get the customer experience off to a great start and reduce the chance of leads falling off further down the pipeline.
Improving Engagement from the First Contact
As chatbots proliferate to more and more businesses, welcome messages popping up in the bottom-right of a browser window are starting to be seen as cliché, but that certainly doesn’t mean that these little touches can’t improve engagement. One case study by chatbot provider Drift showed how one of their clients saw a “40% lift in the conversion rate” after switching from manual customer service to a system supported by a chatbot.
By simulating the warmth of face-to-face interaction in a brick and mortar premises and leveraging powerful machine learning to recognize patterns in the chats and identify the needs of customers, chatbots can ensure a more natural-flowing conversation and optimize interactions for engagement. Chatbots can also be set up for retargeting, tailoring their messages according to a visitor’s known behaviors and interests. These unique dialogue flows will give your visitors a sense of personalization which is becoming increasingly important to ensure strong engagement in all aspects of sales and marketing.
Generating Leads and Caring for Customers 24/7
Finally, chatbots can address leads when no one on your team can. If you’re like most businesses, it’s likely that a large portion of your target audience isn’t going to start their customer journey during typical 9 to 5 working hours.
If they reach out to express interest in your product and get the impression that you don’t care about their business, this could send them rushing into the arms of a competitor. Chatbots will enable you to support customers regardless of when they make first contact, helping you answer your audience’s pressing questions, reassure them that you’re interested in their business, and showcase a prompt, efficient response time that will set you apart from the competition. This feature makes them especially beneficial to global businesses, where differences between time zones can cause a lag in response times.
Having 24/7 availability will produce a higher total volume of leads and filter out the more straightforward, routine questions visitors might ask, helping your sales staff save time for the more complex queries.
Final Thoughts on Chatbots & Their Impact
Though chatbots are still uncharted territory for many sales teams, they offer massive potential to optimize your lead generation process and improve your overall brand equity. With a bit of research on their capabilities and some informed tweaking to tailor the technology to your product and processes, integrating a chatbot with your site will soon help you generate a higher volume of more qualified leads and free up precious time and resources for your sales team.