How to get the best out of a chatbot

How to get the best out of a chatbot

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By now, most of us have had at least a few interactions with chatbots. They seem like a good starting point to know more about a company’s offerings. However, the experience leaves a lot to be desired because it is early days for the technology but over time, chatbots will handle a significant amount of traffic and routing of customer queries.

However, the first attempts have been more like taking the FAQ and using that as the basis to develop interactions. It starts with 4-5 people sitting in a room, making assumptions about what customers will want to know, creating a set of questions and answering them. Some of it may be pertinent. A lot could be completely off the mark. The moment customers think they are simply reading text instead of having a conversation, they lose interest and leave.

A few ground rules. Creating a chatbot has to be an organic process with inputs from the customer support and customer facing sales teams. They are the ones who take the calls and know what customers seek out. Building their experiences into the chatbot lightens the load on the company and gets customers to engage better.

What does it take to build one?

HubSpot has a great primer: A chatbot is an artificial intelligence tool that helps prospects or customers find answers to simple questions like store hours or pricing. Historically, chatbots required code to build or customize. A chatbot builder takes out most of the technical knowledge necessary to create a chatbot and empowers everyone to make them. Not only can you build chatbots to live directly on your site, but most chatbot builders also allow you to build chatbots that work on platforms like Facebook Messenger or other social media.

Building a chatbot because ‘all companies have one’ is not a good enough reason. The first question to ask is how it will help customers

HubSpot chatbot builder lets you take advantage of all of those features and more. Because it’s powered by HubSpot’s CRM tools, the chatbot builder helps you personalize messages using content directly from your library. Qualify your leads before responding to them, and always send the exact right response using natural-sounding sequences.

When customers and prospects use your live chat widget to learn more about your product or submit a customer service request, they expect human connection on demand. HubSpot’s chatbot builder is designed to help you provide the experience they expect without having to multiply your headcount. Start by setting up automated, on-brand welcome messages. Then use if/then branches to triage sales questions or service requests to the right team. Lastly, enjoy a two-way connection between your chat widget and your CRM, which allows you to automatically customize chatflows to fit your contact’s information, while enriching your CRM data with every conversation.

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Build it step by step

A chatbot should always be work in progress. The team building it should use terms that customers use in sales conversations or when calling support to report a problem. The company may use industry terms to describe an issue but that will only make it more distant to a customer.

Instead of having standard chatbots deployed on site, dig deeper into customer queries and interactions to encourage conversations

The closer a chatbot is to normal human-to-human conversations, the more it will be used. Unfortunately, this is another area where lip service is paid and the chatbot, or live chat is set up along with the website.

A sensible way to go about it is to go over recorded conversations, find out what the most common problems are and what answers seem to satisfy people or move the conversation forward. So, building a chatbot should happen after the early teams have personally answered a number of questions and their inputs will be invaluable.

They have to be consulted and even after the chatbot goes live, it should be constantly monitored to see if people find it useful or abandon it after a few seconds. In fact, even something as simple as the salutation or the welcome message can go a long way in ensuring the first interaction and making customers comfortable.

Welcome messages should be different for new visitors and returning ones. The more general the message is, the less likely people are to interact. This is tricky because unless the returning visitor is logged in, differentiating between them is a problem.

Start small. Expand the scope.

Instead of trying to do too much, try doing just one set of things at a time. Start with what customers want answered most often, instead of focusing on sales to begin with.

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When customers see that their questions have relevant and immediate answers, interactions increase. Over time, the support team may have to deal only with unusual problems – and because their time has been freed to handle the tricky problems, customers feel cared for.

In fact, one of the most important aspects of HubSpot’s Service Hub is to enable a problem to be transferred within a team to the right person without the customer having to repeat the issue several times.

That reduces the irritation and the moment the team provides feedback and keeps customers in the loop, it leads to greater trust.

Now, these are not things a chatbot can do. So, the focus should be on identifying where a chatbot is best deployed. In fact, it may even be wise to use it only when customers are logged in – and if there is information about the customer on the CRM, use that in the conversation.

Implementing a chatbot is a multiple stage process. Talk to our consultants at Blueoshan to find the best way forward.

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Blueoshan is a HubSpot Diamond -Tier Solutions Partner. Delivering worldwide from India.

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About The Author

Venu Gopal Nair
Venu Gopal Nair

Advertising and Branding Specialist, CEO - Ideascape Communications, A professional journey through the tumultuous years of advertising and communication, starting in 1984. Started out in the age of print, saw the changes with the entry of satellite TV and the momentous transition to digital. Advertising and branding today is vastly different from its practices in the 20th century and the last two decades have seen dramatic changes with smartphone domination. As a Creative Director turned CEO, making the transition personally and professionally has been a tremendous experience.

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