We’ve been discussing the interesting rise of chatbots as a sales tool, and how chatbots currently have around 10x better open/interaction rates than email. This has led to some pointed questions, such as, "So what types of communication are better through a chatbot than email? If my business wants to use a chatbot, what should we change? Because email is working pretty great for us."
If email is working for you, good! Keep using email marketing. But chatbots can accomplish things in real time in a way that a flurry of emails cannot do. Here are several examples of the different chatbot features that companies are creating to take communication several steps beyond the standard email.
The Payment Bot
The payment bot manages the payment process and completes the order in a way that even the smartest email client can't really accomplish. We're seeing a rise of payment bots on platforms like Facebook that encourage you to pop open the Messenger app and buy a product seen on a company page. These bots tend to do well on broader platforms like this because it's a lot easier to automate secure connections to payment options like PayPal, Visa, and so on. It can drastically shorten the sales funnel and automatically complete orders while also providing the customer with payment options, so expect to see a lot more of these payment bots as time passes.
The Recommendation Bot
The recommendations bot has one task: Find a product that the buyer likes. They are programmed with a variety of questions (typically questions geared toward the target audience) that they ask them, similar to an interview style. Each question has a basic redirect to a follow-up question until the bot has finished the mini-interview. Then it suggests the product or service that matches most closely with the answers provided. Obviously this takes some programming work, so these bots aren't cheap, but they provide an excellent customer task automatically: H&M has a great example of how this works. Yes, you may be able to do the same with a rapid email exchange, but by far that is a more awkward, less natural way of recommending products in 'real-time'.
The "How Was Your Experience" Bot
Do you know what happens to emails that include surveys or customer responses after an order? They get ignored. Sure, maybe there's a 1 out 10 response rate, if you're lucky, but this isn't exactly useful, especially for smaller companies. But bots tend to have a far, far better response rate when they ask about buyer experience. Mostly, this is because the bot is right there in real time, popping up in a little window as the buyer is finishing a transaction or looking for products. When you're asked about your experience in the middle of the experience, it's a lot easier to answer, which is why we're not surprised that these chatbots are gathering a lot of valuable information.
The Product Details Bot
This is a simpler bot that provides details about products that buyers are interested in. This is important, because many buyers will not take the time to email a rep if they have a question about a product. They will just look for a company that makes finding those details easier. Even long-term clients can appreciate the immediacy of a bot that can answer questions about specifications.
The Email Bot
If there's one thing that emails can't do, it's send other emails. But guess what a chatbot can do? Yep – a category of chatbots is designed to peruse customer data and create automatic, personalized emails with new product recommendations and other info that the buyer may be interested in. You can take the time to send these emails yourself, or you can get a chatbot to do it for you: Today's well-programmed chatbots are adept at creating a natural tone, so most buyers don't even realized a bot sent the recommendation. Isn't it time to save some time?