Using Chatbots to Improve Your Business Strategy & User Experience

By Morgan Hennessey on August 28, 2018

  • #ecommerce
  • #website
  • #User Experience

I’m sure you’re used to stumbling across CAPTCHA’s when filling out online forms, completing online shopping orders, and basically every time you need to input data such as your email address. That’s when you have to copy the phrase or pick out an item from the images to prove that you’re not a “robot.” Have you ever wondered what that even means, and why this website is afraid of robots filling out their online forms in the first place?

The “robots” they are referring to are called Internet bots, and they are very much a real problem for websites and ecommerce businesses. From malicious spambots, to viruses, to bots that buy up all of the good tickets for concerts so resellers can upcharge, bots find their way from the largest enterprise websites to the smallest online retailers.

It’s important to know that not all Internet bots are dangerous to your website, there are bots that can actually help your business thrive. One type of helpful bot is a chatbot. You might be asking, how can a robot help me… it’s a little creepy. Well, you’ve probably interacted with one more than once. Think: Siri, Google Assistant, and Apple’s online customer support. Chatbots can be found on and off the web.

You can integrate a chatbot onto your website or Facebook Business page, within your internal instant messenger, onto your mobile application, or even build one that’s completely custom to your business. So how can you get started using chatbots to better your business today?

Your business’s Facebook page is a good place to begin utilizing chatbots. There are many different tools already available to integrate into your Facebook page and customize for your business, such as Chatfuel, which is used by Adidas, Volkswagen, and UBER, or ManyChat, which boasts that no coding is needed. Facebook Messenger also allows you to develop your own bot which is a little more developer work, but it’s made precisely for your business.

With over 2 billion monthly Facebook users, Facebook bots are a handy tool for your business and will definitely be seen. These chatbots can appear more personal than other bot options because you are chatting via your Facebook account, so these bots have the capability to use variables like your name in their conversational responses. Depending on what would be most beneficial for your business, your bot can perform different tasks – from giving your store’s business hours, to placing an order for a bouquet of flowers for a specific occasion (1-800-Flowers), to making product recommendations (Sephora).

When built into your website, the capabilities of your chatbot are just as vast as they are on Facebook, if not more. You can put your website’s chatbot to work and have them lead your customer service department, be your leading salesperson and recommend products to shoppers, or even manage your day-to-day marketing tasks.

People just much rather communicate quickly and through some type of instant messaging. No one is making phone calls anymore, and they especially don’t want to wait on hold with your customer service department. By 2020, it’s expected that 85% of customer-business relationships with be conducted without actual human interaction and by means of chatbots and other artificial intelligence tools.

Chatbots can take the role of an employee of your online store by being there as a 24/7 customer support line, or sitting in the background while a user browses and starting a conversation with the shopper when an opportunity arises to offer a promotion or recommend a similar product. Chatbot Magazine found that people actually prefer to receive information about brands while they are shopping, leaving it to be an optimal time to offer up more information to shoppers while they are already showing interest in your company.

An example of a chatbot-turned-employee is Kit, a Shopify chatbot that talks to you rather than your customers. Kit can take over your accounting and invoicing tasks, create advertisements from customer reviews, push out remarketing ads, and much more. The bot gathers information on your company and then immediately begins giving you recommendations, then you make the final decision chatting with the bot on Facebook Messenger or via SMS.

Chatbots are not only making your online business easier to run, but they are also elevating the user experience. When a bot sends a message, it has an open rate of around 65-90% because it’s content people want to see and engage with. On the other hand, emails only see an open rate of less than 25%. Users get their questions answered quickly on your page without having to leave and find answers elsewhere.When they stay, you have more opportunities to convert them to customers, and your chatbot is smart enough to act on those opportunities.

Chatbots are truly changing the way online businesses run, and you should take advantage of them as soon as possible whether it is on your Facebook page, website, or just starting out with an integration into your internal messaging program (we use Slackbot and Todo on Slack) to make operations move a bit smoother.

If you’re ready to take your ecommerce website to the next level or you have a question about how to get started, Electric Enjin’s designers and developers are here to help. Check out our ecommerce services to learn more.