Chatbots are game-changing tools for SMEs, making it possible for small and medium-sized companies to engage easily with millions of customers. They’re also a significant tool to help SMEs compete with larger competitors. With a combination of machine learning and natural language processing, SMEs can have automated, yet personalised conversations with customers. In the early days, this was an advantage enjoyed by large businesses only. However, thanks to chatbots, SMEs are also jumping on the bandwagon now.
But for chatbots to be worthwhile, it’s important to get it right. To get the most out of customer engagement using chatbots, follow these tips:
Be prepared to engage customers across multiple channels
With the advent of responsive design, customers have developed preferences for particular digital channels, whether that be for Alexa, Siri or the Google assistant for example. Preferences also change according to the regions and countries of residence. Chances are some channels are unavailable in certain places, so you need to be aware of that.
It’s imperative for you to be prepared to engage customers across multiple digital channels, but to do this, your bot must be programmed to integrate with the underlying channel technologies, or it will likely result in stilted user experience. Button behaviour, dialogue and commands need particular attention to ensure your customer engagement experience is the best possible.
Have transparent conversations
While conversing with customers, it’s important they are aware it is a chatbot, and they aren’t confused into thinking the interaction is a with another human. After all, if the experience is weaker than expected, it could result in user abandonment. Additionally, the communication should be very simple, with a conversational tone, but also give users an out if the conversation isn’t serving them as it should.
Perfect machine learning
It’s essential that the chatbot is implemented well and to the point that it can fulfil its purpose of providing information more efficiently than a person. It should be programmed to understand a query asked in multiple ways; otherwise, poor user experience and frustrated customers will be the result. Use the machine learning algorithms to help chatbots learn and get smarter with every conversation that happens. This is a critical step in ensuring your customers get the best engagement experience.
Continuously update and integrate with the back-end systems and data
For chatbots, the learning can only happen if it is integrated with your backend system and data. It is essential that you update and integrate this continuously for better user experience. According to Sandy Ahluwalia, CEO of Secureship, “Chatbots have incredible potential for enhancing the efficiency of e-commerce businesses, but they must have the right level of back-end integration to see the results your business deserves. For instance, if your bot can’t give your customer the cost of shipping or an update on a real-time basis, they’ll likely be disappointed with the transaction.”
Use “instant apps”
Sometimes customers need to input a significant amount of data. In such situations, even the intelligent chatbots may not be able to engage customers in a natural conversation. To avoid this, you can try to use instant apps, or pre-built apps with UIs that can capture structured information from the conversation. The information thus collected can be used to process the task without requiring the customers to input repeated data in a set order.
Understand that chatbots are not do-it-all tools
It is important to remember that chatbots cannot deal with every situation. So, it is necessary to train chatbots so they can understand when the conversation needs human interference. In such cases, the discussion can be taken over by a human agent and solve the problem. For optimum productivity, businesses should ensure their employees outsource the repetitive, easily automated tasks to chatbots and focus on jobs where human involvement is a necessity.
While chatbots have been a revolutionary tool in digital customer service, it’s essential to be able to identify the best situations to use them in and how to maximise their engagement abilities.