When you mention chatbots, the first thing that springs to mind is effective customer service. Waiting to get service has always been irksome, but with the growth of eCommerce customers have come to expect 24/7 connectivity and assistance—hence the need for chatbots.
In fact, according to a Userlike survey, customers’ favorite things about chatbots is their quick response and availability outside normal working hours.
Customer service aside, did you know that chatbots can benefit your business beyond improving customer satisfaction?
Specifically, I want to get into how chatbots can help your business implement your sales and marketing strategy.
Over 50% of executives agree that bots deliver significant return on investment and improve customer acquisition and retention
1 – Automate Lead Generation
Picture landing on a website. Instead of an annoying spammy pop-up asking for your precious email address, you get a conversational chat bubble welcoming you and offering to help you find the information you need.
Check out the engaging example below.
Lead generation is identifying people who may be interested in buying your product, capturing their interest and engaging with them.
In this initial phase of the buyer’s journey, information is what they’re after. Providing information on your product and pricing is straightforward and therefore perfect for automation.
You don’t really need the human input at this stage. But you can simulate human conversation with conversational chatbots.
According to HubSpot, only 19% of customers just learning about a product or service (awareness stage) will want to speak to a sales rep. The number triples to 60% when customers have researched, have more information and built a shortlist (consideration stage).
Therefore, it makes sense to use bots as a touchpoint in the customer’s journey and to enhance marketing communication and to help sales teams get in touch with customers more efficiently.
Automating the initial engagement with new or returning users browsing your site through chatbots will enable you to:
- Tailor your customer’s experience on your website away from the generic towards specific information that benefits them. Personalization can include referring to returning customers by name or offering location-based deals. 80% of customers are more likely to buy from businesses with personalized experiences.
- Increase average time spent on your website and customer engagement. Using question prompts your chatbot can guide your customer through to the information they want without the hassle of reading walls of text or trying to navigate the website.
- Auto qualify your leads. Get real time data on what the user wants with basic qualifying questions and therefore transferring to the right human agent instead of a frustrating chain of handoffs or them having to repeatedly explain themselves.
- Achieve higher lead conversion rates. Often, lead generation forms are clunky or require an essay-worth of information before the customer can access your offer or content upgrade. Chatbots simplify this to a few buttons in a fun gamified way.
- Schedule, modify and cancel appointments. You’ll save your sales team the time and back and forth involved in trying to manually sync calendars.
- Boost the number of marketing conversations. An agent can only handle three conversations at a go. Bots can handle an unlimited amount of chats and automatically send the information to your CRM software, making your marketing activities more effective.
2 – Upsell and Cross-Sell Your Customers
Upselling is persuading your customer to buy an additional item to what they’re purchasing or to purchase a more expensive product or service. For example:
Add $150 to upgrade your tablet from 64GB to 256GB.
On the other hand, cross-selling is identifying complementary products based on your customer’s interests or purchases. For example:
Get a stylus and bluetooth keyboard with your tablet.
Chatbots can tackle both upselling and crosselling to bump up the sales and revenue in your business.
You may be wondering, why don’t I just put my sales reps on the job of upselling and cross-selling?
Chatbots do the job better because they:
- Can be programmed to track what customers do on your site and what they’re interested in. These analytics provide a more accurate base point for personalized product or service recommendations.
- Are less intimidating and put less pressure to purchase on the customer than a human being would. This improves customer experience and allows them to calmly consider their options
- Provide the last selling point sending emails or chat messages that offer last minute deals or upgrades before the client checks out.
A great example is Levi’s chatbot that casually suggests the customer browse promos and upsells the stylist service which is an additional $3-$12 per order. It presents the options with no pressure to the customer.
3 – Remarketing and After-Sales Follow-up With Customers
So your bots have been working hard and managed to generate leads and convert them into buying customers or at least collected their name and email. Now what?
The best customer is the one you’ve already got. That’s why it’s essential to nurture your customers even after they’ve given you their hard-earned money or committed to your brand by sharing information that you can track.
Chatbots can enhance your remarketing strategy by:
- Periodically sending targeted messages every time products or services in your customers’ range of interest comes up.
- Using AI to learn what each customer likes and streamline the automatic flow for remarketing.
According to a Mckinsey survey, nearly 60% of customers value and expect businesses to follow up with them post-purchase and to send timely communications tied to key purchasing moments or decisions. Automating after-sales follow up can supercharge revenue.
Let’s finish up with an aspect of follow-up that is not quite after sales but addresses abandoned carts.
We’ve all experienced it. Stopping mid-purchase because you were buying a gift and you needed to confirm one more detail or maybe you want to watch that demo video one more time just to be sure you’re getting the right product.
Your customers are doing the same and letting that line go slack is losing tons of business.
Marketers found that retargeting has 100% better ROI than text or display ads. So, program your chatbot to analyze those abandoned shopping carts and send prompts to your customers who are just waiting for a nudge in the right direction.
Start Streamlining Your Sales and Marketing Strategy
To sum it up, we’re not replacing your skilled sales and marketing teams with bots.
Rather, chatbots will automate parts of the sales journey such as lead generation and conversion, upselling, remarketing and sales follow-up leaving your people to do what they do best.