Chatbot for Small Business: Enhancing Customer Interaction
Got a small business website? You need a robot – a chatbot, to be precise.
Inexpensive, easy-to-use chatbots can help any business engage with customers in real-time online. They answer questions and make it easy for customers to buy from your online store. Consider that “by 2024, consumer retail spend via chatbots worldwide will reach $142 billion — up from just $2.8 billion in 2019,” per Business Insider. In addition, businesses that adopted chatbots boosted their sales by an average of 67 percent in 2019, according to Forbes.
These numbers are good news, especially for small businesses. Small-business owners have historically relied upon brick and mortar, in-person selling and have given less attention to investing in technology for e-commerce. For many, e-commerce was 'a nice extra'.
The impact of COVID-19 changed our economic landscape, causing a dramatic shift toward online purchasing. In order to survive, small-business owners had to quickly switch focus to digital selling and marketing and offer fast, easy digital customer service to compete with major online businesses.
What better way for small businesses to capitalize on their entrance into the digital world than by using chatbots on their websites? Chatbots can provide numerous benefits such as cost savings, instant customer support, increased lead generation, and ultimately, increased revenue.
Have questions about chatbots for your business? We’ll answer a few of them for you, like:
- What are chatbots and what are they used for?
- How can small businesses benefit from using chatbots on their websites?
- What are some examples of businesses using chatbots?
- Should you invest in a chatbot for your website?
Chatbots, flowbots, what’s the difference?
In general, there are two types of bots: regular chatbots and flowbots.
Chatbots are a type of software that performs tasks automatically. How? They use algorithms, machine learning, and natural language processing technology to mimic human conversation. Chatbots get smarter over time. As they learn the unique language of your specific customer, chatbots become more precise at answering customer questions.
Another type of bot commonly used on websites is the simple but helpful flowbot. Like chatbots, a flowbot mimics conversations with users, “but instead of replying to open questions, it forwards customers to the right team or gives information by asking questions with multiple-choice options.”
How can a chatbot for small businesses improve customer experience?
You’d be surprised how much value a business can get from even a basic chatbot. For example:
- Chatbots free up employees to perform other important tasks for customers instead of answering routine questions
- Chatbots give customers instant answers to FAQs, so they don’t get frustrated and leave.
- Chatbots can keep customers engaged and increase the odds of the customer clicking the purchase button.
- Chatbots can ask the customer for basic information like their name, what they’re looking for, and when they need it so that if an agent takes over later, they have the preliminary questions answered. And that's a huge time saver.
Overall, chatbots make for happier customers — and more productive employees.
How are businesses using chatbots to enhance the customer experience?
When Betersport, an online fitness, and nutrition e-commerce retailer, had a growth spurt, they had an overflow of customer inquiries that didn’t have the staff resources to answer in a timely way. Betersport found its solution by using Trengo’s Flowbot to answer customers’ questions faster.
Betersport’s Flowbot responds to a customer’s questions by offering a multiple-choice menu of answers and next steps. It can also discern if it needs to refer the customer to a live service representative. That way, shoppers with complex questions get the attention and resolution they need. The bot handles simpler queries.
Marriott International’s chatbot helps Marriott Reward members to research and book travel to over 4,700 hotels. Members can also use Marriott’s chatbot on their smartphones to order room service, schedule wake-up calls, and explore local dining and entertainment information.
Sephora, a US-based beauty retailer, uses a chatbot that provides online shopping help, makeup tutorials, and product reviews and ratings when customers are shopping in one of their stores.
Should you invest in a chatbot for your business website?
The answer is probably yes, especially if:
- Your customer service team gets more questions than it can answer quickly.
- Your website has a high product page or cart abandonment rate. This may indicate that customers can’t find the information they need to feel confident making a purchase.
- Your business has a higher-than-average rate of product returns – again, this can indicate that customers need more information before they buy.
- You want to grow your business and engage with more customers as efficiently as possible.
By now, you may have some ideas about how a chatbot can help your small business serve your customers better. And now maybe the question isn’t whether you can afford to have a chatbot on your website but whether you can afford not to.
However, it’s easy to DIY a professional quality chatbot. Yes, even if you don’t have the budget to hire a developer to custom-build one for your site. If creating one seems daunting, we can show you how to build a no-code chatbot using simple drag-and-drop tools – no coding know-how required.
This method also saves you from having to create a separate chatbot for each customer service channel your business uses. Instead, you can use the same bot on your business website and the messaging apps you use. You can also decide when you want your bot to be available to your customers.
Want more ideas for using chatbots in your business? Learn how our sales and customer service teams use chatbots