Offering good quality customer service is paramount for small businesses, given their tight budget, limited resource and lack of experience. It can also be overwhelming for many small businesses and entrepreneurs because they don’t have the liberty or the expertise to depend upon telephone or email support
Thankfully, artificial intelligence is growing at an unprecedented rate and is opening up new technological advancements for big and small businesses alike, with chatbot being the latest breakthrough.
Chatbots are becoming an integral part of everyday life thanks to the growing popularity of messenger apps, and can be used productively by businesses to augment your customer service experience.
How can chatbot boost your small business?
Unlike humans, a chatbot can serve your business 24/7/365, empowering you to provide round the clock customer service to a practically endless audience. There are a myriad ways in which you can use chatbot to improve customer engagement and enhance your business prospects.
Here are 10 tips to create a chatbot for your small business
- Observe successful bots
Chatbot is a domain that is being looked at with a lot of interest by developers, businesses, customers and major brands. Needless to say, the competition is cutthroat and users are becoming increasingly discerning and are intelligent enough to sense a mediocre bot from some distance.
In the event you’re unsure how to get started (which is natural), start off by observing and analyzing successful.
Is it the interface or the technology or a combination of the two? What is their strategy to attract users? Do they focus on answering questions or resolving problems? Do they diversify into wide-ranging domains to proliferate? Prepare a list of such questions and do your own research to come up with the answers. By doing that, you’ll be better positioned to start planning.
- Don’t erode the human touch
If you’re a small business owner, you’ll be selling your products or services to humans and not robots. Remember that while preparing to create a chatbot for your small business. You’d do well to remember that there will always be some customers who’d prefer human engagement, so always incorporate an option within the bot interface that allows them to contact a real person.
This is paramount in cases where the chatbot is unable to address their questions specifically.
At the same time, ensure that the customer is made aware they they’re not interacting with a human in order to maintain transparency.
- Set realistic expectations
While it’s a very good thing to be ambitious for your small business, remember that all success stories unfold one step at a time in an incremental manner. By integrating chatbots in your overall business strategy, you’re using a technology that is still in the process of solidifying its presence.
Granted, chatbots are able to unlock the latent potential of monetizing your marketing strategies in a tangible way. However, you may want to be specific in terms of how you plan to use chatbot for your business. Do you plan to leverage them to provide information about your product? Or would you rather have them answer basic customer service questions?
- Imbibe wit
Point of contact is hugely important in that it separate good businesses from average ones. To that end, your engagement strategy needs to be spot on. The easiest way to put off a potential customer is to make them wait or go around in circles without addressing their specific concerns.
It is very important to make a chatbot that is not only fast and efficient, but also intelligent enough to sustain a conversation in a friendly, natural manner. You don’t necessarily need to make your bot obsequious; but you’d do well to work with developers to imbibe wit and humor. This will eliminate the element of boredom or predictability from the chatbot and make them talk in a human-like manner.
- Choose a suitable tool
Regardless of how modest your business appears right now, it is bound to grow at some stage and it only makes sense to invest in a robust chatbot building tool if you’ve decided to leverage them as part of your marketing strategy.
These days, there are a plethora of wonderful tools that let you make chatbots in no time at all without any coding. Many of them even offer free chatbot building plans that allow you to make functional bots for free! Platforms like messenger etc offer great opportunities for monetization thanks to their impressive features and integration with Shopify and PayPal.
- Make them contextually relevant
You customers could be messaging from myriad platforms like Facebook Messenger, Twitter, SMS, Kik, Viber Line, etc. Also, they could harbor different expectations on different platforms. For instance, users typically go to Facebook to socialize or rant about something; they are unlikely to seek a technical problem’s resolution there. Instead, they’re more likely to get a brand’s attention on Twitter.
Therefore, your chatbot need to factor in the context in which customers are approaching you. Before creating bots, think about contextual relevance: How and in what frame of mind does customer likely to reach you?
- Select your channels carefully
Out of the numerous messaging platforms, you should look to select something that is relevant to you. For instance, if you’re a small business owner in the US, Facebook Messenger and SMS may suffice, but that may not fit the bill in other countries. Each region has different IM platforms that are used extensively by a large audience.
If you’re unsure how to approach this, just begin with SMS texting and the leading messaging app used by the majority population; take it from there.
- Keep your promises
The technology market is replete with chatots that have little meaning and relevance. In their zest to be different and stay ahead of the trend, many businesses end up fancy looking but under-delivering chatbots that serve little purpose. If your idea of a successful bot is to merely pique the curiosity of customers and get them to click on it without offering anything substantial, you may want to reconsider your approach.
Not only would you be neutralizing the immense potential of chatbots; you’d also be causing a lot of harm to the reputation of your own business. So, if your bot promises to accomplish a task for your customers, ensure that is equipped or intelligent enough to do that satisfactorily.
- Make your bots specific
As a small business venture, be prudent the scope of your chatbot and narrow it down to specifics to boost its efficacy. For instance, structured bots are effective for buying things from a limited number of options whereas scheduling chatbots are good for scheduling purposes.
Oftentimes, people assume that just because they have reached you from one channel, they hope to meet other needs through the same channel. For example, if customers click on your bot that reads ‘Order Now’ to order gluten-free meal from a restaurant, they might come back to the same bot for a completely different context, which can lead to technical breakdowns.
- Assess your risk-taking ability
This is absolutely critical for small business owners and entrepreneurs because the stakes are that much higher. That would also be predicated on your target audience. How much risk are you willing to handle with your chatbots? Are you 100% sure that this is the right fir you for and how do find that out?
If your brand/reputation is the lifeblood of your business, then be 100% sure that you need to leverage chatbot as a potent marketing strategy and don’t look backwards. Any less than 100% means you’re not quite sure yet, so pause for a bit and take a hard look at your priority.