Written by Professional Academy Guest Blogger Michael Deane
In an increasingly competitive sales landscape, it’s essential for brands to innovate in order to stay ahead of the curve. People have been saying “data is the new black” for a while now, but in order for it to be used in a way that makes sense, it needs to be combined with an efficient communications strategy.
Data and communications need to work hand-in-hand in order to help brands stay abreast of customers’ ever-evolving needs and boost brand loyalty. AI-powered chatbots are one way to do this. By automating interactions with customers and facilitating engagement with brand content, chatbots are a great way to optimise your conversion rate. Let’s take a moment to find out why and how:
Recent research by Salesforce reveals that nowadays, 64% of the general public and 80% of B2B consumers expect real-time interaction and responses from brands. And while people tend to joke about millennials and their need for instant gratification, it turns out that the cliché may be true – 66% of younger buyers take instant communication for granted.
While a round-the-clock multi-channel customer service team may be possible for companies such as Amazon, it’s not quite that simple for smaller businesses and entrepreneurs. So how can businesses keep up to speed? This is where chatbots come into their own. Chatbots greet customers, respond to simple queries, point customers in the direction of the right products and even provide post-sale follow-up. All for much less than hiring extra customer service agents – basically, a win-win situation. Especially when you take into account that an enquiry that receives a response within five minutes rather than 30 is 21 times more likely to lead to a sale.
We’ve all been there - you’re aimlessly browsing the internet and come across a product that catches your eye. It has great reviews, the price is reasonable and after all the hard work you’ve been putting in, you feel you’re owed a treat. You click “add to cart”, reach for your credit card, and then – boom. A “Please Create a User Account” window comes up. You tell yourself you’ll think about it, bookmark the page and promptly forget about the whole thing.
You’re not alone. According to Neil Patel, 23% of users will abandon their shopping cart if they have to create a new user account. Another big reason for cart abandonment is customers not being made aware of shipping charges early enough in the purchasing process. Yet again, chatbots can help avoid both situations, by informing customers early on by engaging with them about any necessary information and minimising the number of checkout steps.
Chatbots are dynamite when it comes to keeping track of individual customer preferences and using that information to encourage further purchases. Not only can they do this within your ecommerce site (a practice made widespread by Amazon product recommendations), they can also engage with customers via their social media feeds in order to suggest additional purchases. One of the major advantages of chatbots is their ability to integrate with customers’ favourite messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger, Viber or WhatsApp. Being able to engage with customers in real-time via the apps they know and love is a huge benefit in itself, and all the more so when you throw powerful analytics tools into the mix.
Facebook Audience Insights is an analytics platform that enables marketers to gain insight into their audiences through geographic, demographic and behavioural data and target consumers with personalised content in line with their interests and needs. Messenger chatbots combined with insights such as these are a truly powerful combination.
Lead qualification is an intricate process that can eat up a lot of time. Sales teams all too often don’t have the time or resources to sift through vast quantities of data in order to identify the most qualified leads. This is all the more true for smaller and fledgling companies.
Yet again, it’s chatbots to the rescue. By providing an extra set of hands that can handle more routine interactions (scheduling meetings and demos, answering simple pricing queries and FAQ, handing customers over to a live agent), they enable sales teams to focus on what they do best – selling.
And not only that – chatbots can also handle a large part of the lead qualification process for you. By carrying out a certain amount of preliminary research and posing relevant questions, they ensure that your team interacts only with customers that are interested in your products and ready to buy.
In conclusion? Chatbots draw on the power of data and use it to engage with potential buyers in an effective and entertaining way, thus helping you sell more, sell better and, above all, ensure that customers keep coming back.
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