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What is a chatbot, and why you need one

The age of robots has arrived and they’re here to take over… run for your lives! Actually, it’s not all that dramatic. In fact, robots are here to make our lives easier.

Believe it or not, world domination is off the agenda. Instead, bot-powered commerce and automated tasks top the manifesto. While marketing continuously evolves, so does Artificial Intelligence, and that can only be a good thing, right?

The answer is a big resounding ‘yes!’. As marketers, we are constantly looking to make our methods more efficient, reduce workloads to put time back into our schedules and make processes more streamlined than they have ever been before.

Thankfully, AI-powered marketing reached out and we grabbed it tightly with both arms. It is now a staple part of our marketing methods, affecting how we market and, frankly, Artificial Intelligence is doing a pretty good job.

Presented to you is our guide to AI-powered marketing. This blog post will discuss why your business should be using chatbots and how you can build a chatbot that’s more than happy to help you market your business and nurture leads.

What Is a Chatbot?

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Put clearly and simply, a chatbot is a computer program built to automate certain tasks, typically engaging with received messages. Chatbots can be programmed to respond differently to messages containing keywords and, in advanced bots, they use machine learning to adapt their responses to fit the situation.

The modern chatbots of today are frequently used in situations in which simple interactions with only a limited range of responses are needed. This includes marketing applications and customer service.

Come to think about it, have you ever used a customer support line or live chat service and experienced a sneaky suspicion that the person you’re talking to was actually a robot? Chances are it was. Don’t be alarmed, however, it just demonstrates that the organisation you’re conversing with has adopted AI-powered marketing, which means they know what they’re doing!

Chatbots are evidence of the leap in progress that Artificial Intelligence has taken. As they provide opportunities beyond responses to customers, the chatbot market is growing exponentially.

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The Benefits of Chatbots

At the very least, your consumers will be happy to receive a welcome message from your chatbot as it informs them about potential solutions you have to their problem. Beyond the welcome message, chatbots offer businesses a variety of benefits in both daily operations and communication.

  • Quicker Issue Resolution - It is a proven tool that chatbots improve your business' customer service through quick issue resolutions. Chatbots avoid consumers having to ‘hold the line’ or ‘be placed in a queue’. A chatbot can rapidly search FAQs to source solutions for the consumer.
  • Automate Tasks - Repetitive tasks can be a marketer’s nightmare, such as collecting data and processing it into your business’ CRM. Chatbots automate tasks and can process information for more than one consumer at a time.
  • Personalise Communication - Giving your customers more attention increases their desire to buy your service or product. Personalised chatbots can answer specific questions instead of displaying long lists of information.
  • Improve Response Rate - Between social channels, forms and websites like Yahoo Answers and Quora, many business questions go unanswered daily. Chatbot responds to 100% of received messages and helps convert more visitors into buyers.
  • Cost Optimisation - Chatbots reduce costs by reducing manpower. However, it goes beyond cost reduction with chatbots able to automate end-to-end business processes.
  • Save Time - It goes without saying, chatbots save time. When used on your website, they provide fast, automated responses increasing productivity and serving greater numbers of consumers.
  • Cut Down Errors - Unfortunately, humans handling customer service questions can make errors. When setting up correctly, based on the questions asked, chatbots will always give the right answers.
  • Put Customers at Ease - Finally, chatbots can be programmed to facilitate humour which can make them feel more human-like. They will never turn away customers.

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Should You Invest in AI?

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There has never been a better time to welcome AI-powered technology, and your business processes will thank you for it. 2018 was a good year for Artificial Intelligence which means now, in 2019, we will see a further rise in businesses adopting more chatbot automated systems. In turn, this helps businesses trim processing user requests to tremendous speeds which helps gain customer loyalty.

According to an Oracle Survey, by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their
relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human and they will generate $600 billion in revenue. That's some exponential growth right there!

However, some marketers are calling it the death of customer service. When it comes to more complex and technical questions, consumers often look to speak with a ‘live support agent’ (a real human) who can react and adapt to the complexity of an individuals problem. Artificial Intelligence is only as valuable as the information inside their databases.

But, with AI and its advancements, we could be witness to future chatbots possessing the ability to react in a truly human manner.

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How Do You Know If You Need a Chatbot?

It is crucial for a business to catch emerging trends, grab and maintain profits, or risk being left behind. For a couple of years, AI chatbots have emerged as the most followed trend according to Chatbots Journal. With many businesses desperate to adopt chatbots, can you afford to pass up this innovative technology?

If you’re wondering whether the time is right for chatbots for your business, there are several signs it’s time to invest.

Firstly, your competitors are using chatbots so, why aren't you? The marketing industry is super-competitive. As new technologies emerge, failure to adopt the trends means handing the marketing advantage to rival businesses. Even your competitors who aren't using chatbots right now will be using them soon.

If you’re attracting traffic to your website, engaging visitors quickly and easily means you’re increasing your potential to secure new customers. Chatbots can help convert potential traffic into customers. 53% of customers are more likely to make a purchase if they’re able to message your business. Give the customers what they want.

A chatbot will greet your potential customers, identify their needs and ask basic questions before directing high-quality leads straight to your sales teams. Chatbots are capable of retaining information which means they can use those details to go the extra mile such as re-engaging your customers for a better customer service experience.

Perhaps your business wants to meet the customer where they are. It’s a no-brainer that Facebook Messenger and its 1.2 billion active users is a playground for marketers to attract new customers. By tapping into this huge social network, bots can do the selling (with the right script) without leaving the comfort of Facebook Messenger for the customer, meaning drop-off rates are lower.

Finally, if you’re ready to make your business stand out from the crowd, chatbots improve business branding with minimum effort. In short, your customers are looking for a more qualitative solution with minimum effort as well. Chatbots offer the required information irrespective of the day or time. Better customer service equals a better brand.

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What to Keep in Mind When Building a Chatbot

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When a customer has a positive experience with a company, they will eventually become a loyal customer for, hopefully, years to come. So, if your business is ready to accept the idea of chatbots as part of your marketing processes, there are a few crucial tips to follow.

Goal: This is the first, and most crucial, step to consider when building your (first) chatbot. Your chatbot needs a purpose. Ask the question “why will your customers use it?”. It is important that you incorporate things your customers will find helpful such as FAQs. You can make a simple chatbot with rules-based conversational workflows. It’s best to start small and as time progresses, you can gradually build upwards.

Functionality: Your chatbot needs to be functional and convenient. The customer needs to receive the help he/she may need. Make sure your chatbot functions with quick and correct responses to avoid delayed resolutions.

Customer Service: You’re not replacing your entire customer service team with chatbots, however, they will be the first point of contact between your business and potential customers. They simply help facilitate customers in need and make conversations easier.

Your chatbot must be fun, friendly, and above all welcoming. Adding emojis provides visual cues that compliment quick replies. Make sure your chatbot always offers a way to end the conversation with a switch to a human.

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I Want a Chatbot - Get Me Started

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If you think you’re ready to embrace chatbot technology, we salute you. In fact, we would like nothing more than to help you start your marketing journey with AI-powered technology.

Being a HubSpot Partner Agency ourselves, we strongly recommend choosing HubSpot software for your business to benefit from their free chatbot builder. Building and launching chatbots on your website is easy with no coding required. You might have noticed we have already applied chatbots to our own website - that’s how brilliant we think they are!

With HubSpot chatbots, lighten the load for your team as your chatbots qualify leads, book meetings, provide answers to common customer support questions, and hand the conversation off to a live agent once qualified.

You can create and customise the bots yourself or simply choose from HubSpot’s canned bot templates to get started. The best part, because the chatbot builder is seamlessly integrated with HubSpot’s CRM, your bots can deliver more personalised messages based on the information you already know about your contacts.

Can’t wait and what chatbots and want to know more? Our team is ready to help, book a call with an expert today.

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Chatbots offer businesses new opportunities to improve their customer engagement process. By leveraging chatbots, businesses bolster speed and efficiency that leads to a superior customer experience.

There are different approaches and tools that you can use to develop a chatbot, but remember, human intervention is crucial to configuring and optimising your chatbot systems.