9 Ways Small Businesses Can Effectively Use Chatbots

To help you understand the effectiveness and use of chatbots, we asked business professionals for their best insights. From qualifying leads to supporting online customer service, there are several ways to effectively utilize chatbots for your small business.

Think of chatbots as assistants

The best way is to not think of them as chatbots at all. No one wants to interact with an unhelpful robot that can only do a handful of things. Most of what’s out there today is no better than the old automated call center tools — and we all know how frustrating those can be. Instead, think about this tech as an “assistant” and frame it with a question: “If you had an assistant to help you get work done or create better experiences for your stakeholders, what would you have that assistant do?”

That frame forces you to consider the jobs you want the technology to do, and you can use that to evaluate different technologies to ensure they’re flexible enough to handle what you want to do — whether that’s automating tasks like scheduling or answering customer or job applicant questions. Ultimately, the technology we buy should work for us rather than create more work. Don’t just buy a chatbot to have a chatbot. Buy technology that, through automated chat and conversational experiences, can take work off your plate and create better experiences overall. You should be able to measure success by time saved for you and your team each day, higher customer and employee net promoter scores and higher throughput.

Josh Zywien, CMO, Paradox

Respond with new blogs

Think about the last time you visited a website and used a chatbot to ask a question, and the chatbot didn’t have a clear answer for you. What happened next? You were probably told to enter your email address and that someone would get back to you within the next 12-24 hours, right? But what if, in addition, the chatbot provided you with some type of value you weren’t expecting.

Here’s how you do it: After a user fills out their information, have the chatbot respond with new blog posts recently published on your site that are relevant to the user’s question. You can also share upcoming events and webinars. You see, this interaction point with the user contains an opportunity, one where you can provide potential customers with unexpected value during what can sometimes be a less-than-ideal user experience.

Mike Krau, Markitors

Support online customer service

Chatbots are being used to answer frequently asked questions, or FAQs, to walk through a process that customers need to go through. They are also being used to support shopping experiences, or to provide more information about a particular product. You can also integrate chatbots into your customer service operations to help automate and streamline your support process.

If your chatbot is working to support your business, then it is definitely a success. But to ascertain that your chatbot is working well, you should look at some metrics like average order value, conversion rate, order completion rate, average time on site, and session duration. The cost per customer acquisition is also a good metric to keep an eye on.

Chris Panteli, LifeUpswing

Simplify sales and KPIs

Most small businesses use chatbots to provide information about their business processes. While this is an amazing use case due to the high efficiency, it minimizes the chances of getting creative with chatbot usage. Chatbots can be used to influence almost every part of the sales process.

Any small business can employ chatbots to automate and clear the sales funnel of any snags and pain points. Besides making sales more efficient, using chatbots in sales allows the business to use less effort in the sales process. This allows the business to focus on the customer acquisition process rather than channel optimization. In our case, using chatbots increased our customer conversion rates by double digits within a relatively short period.

Alina Clark, CocoDoc

Use chatbots for presales

One way that a small business can effectively use chatbots is in presales. When potential customers first come to your website, you can use chatbots to help answer any questions that your potential customer might have. The advantage to chatbots is that they work around the clock, at all hours

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of the day, and can be there to answer customer questions even when you are sleeping. An effective way to measure the success of your chatbot implementation is by looking at the conversion rate of visitors to the website to customers. If you are converting more customers with the chatbot integration, then your implementation is a success.

Jason Butcher, CoinPayments

Get the ball rolling on customer issues

Chatbots on your website and in social media DMs can help you with customer service conversations and problem-solving. If a user has a common problem, the chatbot can be programmed to respond to that specific problem and help rectify the issue without the need for human intervention from your company. In more complicated situations, chatbots at least help get the ball rolling in terms of fixing customer issues, with instant replies making the customer feel reassured that their issue will be resolved.

Amber Reed-Johnson, Giraffe Social Media

Ensure the message is hyper-focused

As a freelance developer of chatbots for various clients, the most innovative (and most successful) use of a chatbot is to hyper-focus messaging based on the user’s interactions with your business’s website. Avoid the annoying static bot on the bottom left of the screen, that no longer works.

For example, a visitor scrolls until a product comes into view. The chatbot can be primed to pop up and say, “You see that [Product Name], it’s on special just for today. Here is the 10% coupon code: [Give expiring coupon code].” This is so effective that one e-commerce website boosted their month-on-month sales by over 22% simply by implementing this small change. The clicks on products that had this laser-targeted approach were 35% more than the rest of the site. The key for small businesses is to incorporate the chatbot onto their website such that it acts like a virtual assistant moving customers through your sales funnel and not a nuisance.

Mogale Modisane, ToolsGaloreHQ

Qualify leads

Chatbots can save a substantial amount of time by helping qualify leads for your business and directing visitors who do not meet your qualifications to free resources or other referral services to save your intake team time. A chatbot can simply ask visitors a short series of questions to help meet their needs that can separate your prospective clients from other visitors to help you focus your sales resources where they matter most.

Josh Rohrscheib, BRE Law

Recover abandoned carts

Everybody knows the old-fashioned way to deal with abandoned carts — sending an email. However, setting up a chatbot to remind potential customers about unfinished purchases is much more effective, faster, and simply more modern. Chatbots react instantly, provide incentives and tirelessly work 24/7 to increase small business sales. It increases the odds of customers completing a purchase. The abandoned cart chatbots have one mission – don’t let customers walk away without buying! Measuring this chatbot implementation is not complicated. The business has to measure the increase in their conversion rates and categorize how many leads came from a certain chatbot message – in this case, a message to revisit the abandoned cart.

Maryia Fokina, Tidio

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