In today’s fiercely competitive business arena, having enough resources to contribute to effective customer success (CS) is essential, and the maxim “your success is our success” is becoming a much bigger part of companies’ approach to customer experience.
The core of effective customer success is ensuring that customers get the outcome they’re looking for from your product or service, thereby building stronger relationships, learning more about customer behaviours, and anticipating future demands.
Though no business leader denies the importance of customer success, many can fall short of their goals due to a sheer lack of capacity, which prevents account managers and others responsible for CS from making sure customers receive the best possible experience.
One of the forward-thinking technologies businesses are adopting is conversational AI, which utilises natural language processing and machine learning to enable natural, two-way conversations through the use of chatbots.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the scope of chatbot functionality, and how conversational AI can help grow your revenue.
Simply put, chatbots are AI-powered customer service assistants that are able to communicate with customers without any direct human input on the business’s side.
They use sophisticated machine learning capabilities to analyse and understand the way humans talk over IM channels, then use these cues to make their own communications more natural. These automatic responses, and their ability to learn from each interaction, allows them to constantly improve customers’ online experience, while saving time and resources for the business.
Chatbots can have a direct, positive impact on your sales and revenue in several ways, including but not limited to…
- Providing around-the-clock engagement: Chatbots allow site visitors from all over the world to get their questions answered, empowering your business to educate and inform, upsell, and even close deals when no human reps are available.
- Creating omnichannel experiences: Whether on your site, social media platforms, or apps like Whatsapp, chatbots can create consistent, omnichannel experiences for your customers and make your brand that much more approachable.
- Breaking down language barriers: Modern chatbots are multilingual, and able to carry out conversations around sales in many different languages, automatically adapting to user-defined signals such as what language users selected when they entered your site.
- Studying your customers: By answering common questions, conducting customer surveys, and generally being in contact with your customers, chatbots can glean powerful insights for improving your sales process.
Now that you have an understanding of what chatbots are and how they work, let’s look at some of the most effective ways businesses can use this technology to grow revenue.
In the modern business arena, success in sales and marketing depends on the business’s ability to gather reliable customer data sets and glean insights from them. In the words of leading sales software provider Outbase, “Not all prospects are going to become customers. But knowing who’s engaging with your content gives you valuable insights on how to nurture your leads.”
Until recently, the main sources businesses depended on for customer data were email, ad data, and social media engagement, but with the proliferation of chatbots, companies have an opportunity for exciting new personalisation options.
Each time a chatbot addresses a customer issue themselves or passes their ticket up the chain to a human contact, it will record these interactions, creating a reservoir of data based on real customer interactions. This data can not only be used by the chatbot to improve its standard of service, but can also pass along valuable data by asking for customer details such as their name, email, and industry.
With sophisticated natural language processing, (NLP) chatbots can also pick up on patterns in the way your customers communicate, helping inform future face-to-face interactions further down the pipeline. Most chatbots can also be configured to flag questions that they weren’t able to resolve, which can highlight the areas where your standard FAQs and other content are falling short.
When a lead shows interest in your product and drops off the sales pipeline, sending follow-up emails is the traditional go-to approach to recovering the value of these leads. However, with modern consumers expecting fast, effective service from any business they interact with, you need to be quicker off the blocks.
With a chatbot, you can react instantly to leads that are falling off the pipeline, helping to resolve customer queries and even giving them an incentive to complete the sales process.
Abandoned cart or follow-up chatbot templates are some of the most popular on the market. They’re activated by a certain prompt, such as when a customer adds a product to their cart but doesn’t complete the checkout, or when a customer makes it to a certain page that indicates a strong interest in a product, and then returns to an earlier stage in the funnel.
Once this condition is met, the chatbot will pop up with a predetermined message, usually offering to answer questions about a product or by offering a discount which could incentivise them to follow through with the purchase.
This feature will help you grow revenue by reducing your site’s abandonment rate, and help leads overcome the uncertainties that could prevent a purchase.
Though many professionals don’t see chatbots as a viable tool for top-of-funnel sales strategies, their capacity for lead generation is starting to move into the spotlight. Chatbot provider Tidio even frames this as one of their core USPs, outlining how chatbots can help you “Automatically qualify leads and reach out to them at the right time”.
There will always be times when no one’s around to answer queries from new leads, but customers can still use chatbots to answer pressing questions and request a follow-up call or email. Even if the lead isn’t particularly warm at the point of contact, chatbots can still be used to harvest customer data, giving you powerful assets to use in later marketing campaigns.
If you’re already using automatic lead-generation features on your site, then chatbots can also offer a more effective alternative to these. Large pop-ups designed to harvest data and generate leads, for example, are often seen as irritating, and will drag down the user experience when site visitors make first contact with your brand.
Chatbot icons and windows, on the other hand, will only appear in the corner of the visitors’ screen, giving them a simple, non-intrusive way to make contact with your brand.
A big portion of all the questions your customers ask are likely to be related to the status of purchases they’ve already made. In fact, a 2020 report on the state of the ecommerce sector showed that 70% of consumers listed the ability to track orders among their top three considerations when shopping online.
One of the great examples of how chatbots can create personalised experiences for site visitors is by presenting them with the opportunity to check the status of their order before they reach the ‘Contact Us’ page.
Whether by drawing on the visitors’ account information, or popping up with a template where they can enter an order number, this kind of proactive customer communication can help enhance your customers’ experience, and save time for your customer success staff that would otherwise be spent chasing details and replying to support emails.
Though this is primarily a benefit for ecommerce businesses, chatbots can also be customised for B2B situations. If, for example, a customer account is shown to have purchased a particular software suite, you can use previous customer success data to isolate FAQs pertaining to that particular product, helping your customers skip past more generic, catch-all queries.
Finally, one of the simple, yet effective ways that chatbots can grow your revenue is by giving visitors a personalised greeting the moment they land on your site.
Whether they’re a new customer, a returning customer, or a brand advocate with one of the most active accounts in your database, chatbots can be set up to draw on relevant data sets and greeting site visitors in a way that’s unique to them, helping you improve your brand equity and make your customers feel more at home.
From simply using their name to say ‘hi’ to offering an exclusive discount on a product they’ve been showing interest in, there are countless unique ways that your chatbot can be set up in order to align their interactions with a customer’s personal profile.
Though these may seem like subtle touches on the surface, personalisation in marketing is becoming increasingly important to modern consumers, and by starting it from the early stages of the customer journey, you’ll be able to reap the benefits further down the line.
If you were on the fence about the potential of chatbots and conversational AI, we hope this guide has shown you the kinds of great benefits they can offer businesses of various sizes and specialties. By finding the right chatbot product for your existing model, and customising it according to the nuances of your pipeline, you’ll soon be providing customers with a more memorable, positive experience, while enjoying more data, more leads, and stronger revenue figures!