When asked, 80% of business respondents admitted they are either already using or planning to implement chatbots by 2020. It makes plenty of sense why, too. Concerning customer service, always-on interactions and robust chat support bots are the way to go.
At any time during the day or night, users can reach out to a chatbot and receive answers, product and brand information, troubleshooting support or even kickstart service processes like returns and the like. It helps explain why 64 percent of Americans feel that 24-hour-service is the best feature of chatbots.
Also, 37 percent of Americans would be willing to use or get answers from a chatbot in an emergency.
What about B2B customers, though? We know the technology is viable for the B2C market, but that’s a bit different. The sentiment is more of the same. There are many ways that chatbots can improve customer interactions in both markets.
Any business, B2B or B2C, would do well to hone their inbound marketing strategy and campaigns. It involves reeling in customer interest and engagement through helpful content and value-based interactions. It’s about giving back to your audience, usually through platforms like a blog, digital guide or tutorial and social media.
Unlike more aggressive forms of marketing, with inbound, your focus is never on fighting the competition for exposure or your customers’ attention. They come naturally to you, looking for answers, advice or help with a product or service. It’s also the perfect opportunity to deploy chatbots.
In B2B, for example, you can deploy a bot that helps by answering questions about your products, service, features or otherwise. Imagine someone wanting to know your pricing structure after hours when there are no sales consultants or reps at the ready. The chatbot will kick in providing instant answers, possibly nailing down a future sale or service upgrade.
New Channel Opportunities
In the past, B2B marketing has been somewhat tricky and limited when moved to various channels. Take Facebook, for example, which is primarily meant for consumers and B2C properties. It doesn’t make sense avoiding Facebook, though, when you stop and think about it. Everyone uses Facebook, from your friends and family to other C-Suite executives, and they all use it for different reasons.
Deploying chatbots via a platform like Facebook Messenger can help you move into new areas or powerful platforms that you would otherwise overlook. According to ComScore, since Facebook deployed the use of chatbots, B2B professionals use Facebook more than any other channel now. B2B decision makers spend an average of 760 minutes per week on Facebook.
Spreading your influence to those extraneous channels can make all the difference, especially when your focus is generating new leads.
No More Forms
Similar to how chatbots can facilitate interactions with potential customers for inbound marketing campaigns, you can do the same for collecting general information. Forms are often tedious, uninteresting and unintuitive, but they’re necessary.
Use chatbots to collect this information from your clientele in a more engaging, more exciting way. Think of it like this: When you call a company or hotline, preference usually dictates you choose the option to talk to an actual person. Chatbots are not robotic regarding language. They sound more human — even if they are not.
Chatbots have incredible potential as virtual customer service and support representatives. The best part is that they never get tired, never get agitated and are always available. When your customers reach out, in addition to receiving most of the information discussed above, your bots can act as the first line of defense. In other words, they can help drive sales, leads and the like. They can also provide helpful advice, respond to problems or questions and act as a virtual concierge.
Chatbots Into the Future
We’re likely to see chatbots in use much more often in both the B2C and B2B markets, and for a good reason. It’s as good a time as any to get onboard with your own business. You can use the technology for a multitude of purposes, from inbound marketing to customer service. These tools are the future of customer interactions and automated communications.