Exceptional customer service and support are now the expectation. As businesses both big and small make the move to online storefronts and digital services, the line between enterprise and SMB has virtually disappeared. Put simply, customers don’t care how big your business is — when they land on your website, they want to find what they’re looking for ASAP.
Chatbots make it possible to streamline this process by providing visitors with an immediate and intelligent point of contact when they arrive on your site.
Curious about how chatbots can improve the user experience and boost your business impact? We’ve got you covered in this guide to adding a chatbot to your website.
What Is a Chatbot?
A chatbot is an advanced question-and-answer tool.
The first generation of chatbots came with a limited set of preprogrammed questions and answers. If users asked a question on the list, they got an answer. If they asked anything else, the chatbot would simply say it didn’t understand.
While this approach was useful for basic queries such as “When are you open?” or “How do I contact you?”, it offered little in the way of specific information. It also meant that most chats ended up getting routed to a live agent, in turn limiting the value offered by these solutions.
The new generation of chatbots takes question-and-answer a step further with the use of natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI). NLP makes it possible for chatbots to better understand a user’s intent, regardless of how the question is phrased. AI, meanwhile, allows chatbots to both find the specific information users want and ask follow-up questions to help them find the best answer.
Ways to Use a Chatbot on Your Site
There are several common ways to effectively use a chatbot on your site.
For Answering Questions
This is the primary purpose of chatbots for many companies. By making it possible for chatbots to answer common customer questions, businesses can spend less money on full-time service agents. Consider a customer calling about an order that hasn’t arrived. Without a chatbot, he or she must wait on hold for an agent, explain the issue and then wait for answers.
With a basic chatbot, this process can be even more problematic: If the chatbot can’t answer the question, the customer is put on hold for a service agent — and then has to explain the problem again.
AI-driven chatbots that are connected to CRM, ERP and other relevant databases, however, can recognize what the customer is asking, obtain pertinent details such as order and tracking numbers, then search for details and provide an answer, in turn saving time and money on both sides.
For Placing Orders
Chatbots can also be used to place orders. By connecting chatbots to inventory databases, logistics portals and checkout pages, customers can place orders without ever speaking to a human agent.
For Navigational Purposes
While one primary goal of website design is making on-site navigation simple, not all users will find your website easy to understand. Chatbots can help direct users to the page they want without making them search for it.
To Get in Touch/Contact the Person or Business
Chatbots can provide contact details for your business, such as email addresses or phone numbers, and can also be used to route customers to the right staff member in your organization if they have a specific question that bots can’t answer.
Benefits of Using a Chatbot
Some of the biggest advantages of using a chatbot for your website include:
Positive User Experience and Accessibility to Information
The easier it is for users to find the information they want, the better. Chatbots make it possible to shorten the time between question and answer, in turn enhancing the experience.
Increase in Leads/Sales
Chatbots can help you increase leads and sales. Just a few quick questions for the user, such as “What is your name?”, and “Can we get in touch with more information?” can help create a database of potential leads.
Automation of Operations
By making chatbots part of everyday processes, companies can automate the initial process of customer contact. This frees up staff members to work on new business initiatives and reduces the risk of customer frustration.
Data gleaned from chatbot interactions can be used to analyze site traffic, visitor intent and commonly asked questions, in turn helping companies pinpoint areas for improvement.
24/7 Access for Users
Humans need breaks — chatbots don’t. Equipped with chatbots, your website can handle user inquiries anytime, anywhere. If human service agents are needed, chatbots can help facilitate this connection during business hours.
How to Implement a Chatbot on Your Site
If you’re looking to add a chatbot to your website, the first step is finding a chatbot to use. While it’s possible to build your own chatbot, the time and effort involved make this prohibitive for most companies; instead, most businesses opt for third-party vendors that have created and tested chatbots or that offer connections to chatbots made by specialists.
For example, both the Wix website builder and WordPress CMS offer chatbot integration. If you’re looking to add a chatbot to your WordPress site, it’s as easy as installing a new plugin and then setting its parameters.
These parameters are what separate so-so chatbots from superior website additions. To ensure you’re getting the most from your chatbot, it’s worth understanding three key processes that occur before, during and after chatbot use.
Before: How to Determine the Purpose of the Chatbot
Why are you using a chatbot? What’s the purpose, and what do you hope to gain? For example, if you want to streamline order processing, make sure your chatbot has access to inventory, shipping and e-commerce data.
During: How to Create a Flow of Questions and Answers
Next is creating a basic flow of questions and answers. While AI-enabled chatbots learn over time, it’s worth creating a solid base of questions to start. Common chatbot question examples include:
- Where’s my order?
- What are your products made of?
- How much does [item] cost?
- What’s your return policy?
It’s also worth being prepared for questions such as “Are you a robot?”, “What is your name?” and “What do you do with my data?”
After: How to Review Customer Behavior and Improve
Once data is collected from chatbots, it’s important to integrate this information with analytics tools. This can help companies pinpoint areas where chatbots aren’t living up to expectations and need improvement, or identify trends in user behavior that may inform new sales or marketing practices.
Chatbots: From Conversation to Conversion
Adding a chatbot to your website can help visitors quickly find what they’re looking for while simultaneously reducing your reliance on human agents to answer questions.
Implemented effectively, chatbots make it possible to spark conversation that leads to conversion, in turn helping boost your bottom line without breaking your budget.