When customers have a question about your product or service, they want it answered quickly no matter the time of day. Few things are worse than having a problem or question, then needing to access a website and wait several minutes for the next live customer support member to arrive in your support chat area. The same is true with support ticket platforms or emails… it shouldn’t be such an issue to have customer support times of less than an hour, if not instant. Chatbots could be the answer to this demand for lightning-fast customer service, if they are used correctly.

With social media and on-site support leading the way for many companies, chatbots are a hot, modern way to take your business to the next level. They offer real-time customer service to an audience that needs it. But how can you actually leverage chatbots within your business?

To stay up with the latest trends and advancements in chatbot technology, we asked 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share the best ways to integrate a chatbot on your site, or what they’ve seen while browsing through the internet and visiting various other sites.

1. Automate Common Questions

Try to automate the most common questions you receive into the messenger/chatbot. The more you are able to provide people with direct information, the better. Still, though, you should try to provide them with a direct line of communication to a living person, should they need that urgently.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

2. Give Them Simple Tasks

Though chatbots are useful, they should be used to complement your current customer service team, not replace it. Chatbots are best used to answer basic, routine questions and prioritize customer inquiries. Then, they should pass the more complex customer service problems to real staff members. This not only creates a seamless workflow, but it allows human employees to do their jobs better.

Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

3. Start With Really Good Research

Look at voice search analysis in your category. Look at site search data. Talk with your call center. Do keyword research. You want to figure out what your customer’s most important questions are. When executed properly, you can automate a lot of answers as many of your customers’ most pressing questions are direct and simple to answer.

Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)

4. Treat Customers Like Real People

Treating customers as real people rather than numbers is always going to drive loyalty and, therefore, sales. Designing an intuitive chatbot that is able to answer a few basic questions can go a long way toward upping customer retention. We recently took a deep dive into our onboarding process and noticed that far too many users were downloading the app, but not enough were completing the registration process. We found out the main questions users faced during the registration process and adjusted our chat feature and tutorial accordingly, to much success.

Zohar Steinberg, token payments

5. Test for Quality Assurance

If your chatbot can answer your FAQs in a fast, intelligent way, you are good to go. You want to encounter any irritating misunderstandings, which have made chatbots unpopular in some cases, before your customers do. At least the bots can be on call at all times. If nothing else, an automatic response telling customers when you are next available will prevent them from feeling they have been ignored.

Derek Broman, Discount Enterprises LLC

6. Refer Customers to Your Portfolio

Automate your response to have customers call your office. That way, you can personally close the deal. Have your automation hyperlink to your portfolio and services so that the prospective lead has a good understanding of what you provide. In the meantime, you can personally close on the phone.

Andrew Namminga, Andesign

7. Offer Human Contact

Despite popular belief, many customers actually like chatbots. If they’re programmed well and provide valuable information in a short period of time, chatbots can be a valuable tool for any business. However, the most important thing in this situation is that interacting with a chatbot is a choice made by the customer. Provide the option for human contact so they can choose.

Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

8. Preload the Chatbot With Questions

I like to preload the chatbot with questions so I know that moving the prospect from one stage of the funnel to another will be a breeze. Once I have an understanding of what questions most people are asking, I can use those as conversation starters to understand the new prospects. When you leave it open, prospects may not know which questions to ask. It’s better to leave it closed-ended.

Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing

9. Acquire Email Addresses

Have your chatbot ask the visitor for their email address to be able to follow up and convert them into a customer. Make sure the script cross-references your existing customers to keep your email lists segmented. This will ensure that you don’t email existing customers first-time customer coupons or the like.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

10. Analyze Data

One way to leverage chatbots to offer better customer service is to analyze the data gleaned from the conversation. You can use it to educate yourself on your customers’ habits and needs, and then integrate that data into business operations to improve customer service.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

11. Prioritize Customer Convenience

Chatbot technology has come a long way. For many businesses, it can be a way to better serve their customers. Improved service is the key. Though automating your business processes is usually a solid strategy, it can be tempting to take it too far. The primary goal is to give your customers the answers they need. It should be about their convenience, not only about streamlining or cutting costs.

Ismael Wrixen, FE International

Is Your Brand or Business Making the Most of AI, Automation, and Chatbots?

It’s only a matter of time before your business will need to start implementing these methods into it’s day to day operations. While you may not have made the plunge yet, it’s very likely that your competition has. Take a moment to visit your top competitors and see how they are using their websites, blogs, and social media to better engage with their audience and customers. Once you’ve found out what’s working well for them, be sure to consider these same options for your brand or online business.

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