Chatbots Are A Need For Small Businesses
Service is fundamental at a small business. Venture off to a café, bar or neighborhood pharmacy you frequent often. Chances are the people there greet you by name and remember your usual order. This intimate level in a customer-business relationship is what the big guys have sought for ages. Right now, they’re hoping chatbots will help achieve that.
Chatbots are almost always talked about in terms of what they can deliver big brands. But why shouldn’t small businesses have a piece of the chatbot pie? Unlike big business, smaller companies already have a stellar customer relationship down pat. Chatbots translate this strength from in-person interactions to the digital realm.
Thanks to Facebook Marketplace and buy-sell groups, customers are well accustomed to making casual purchases via messaging apps and conversation. Bots are also incredibly easy to make, which makes them a relatively simple stopgap for small businesses who want to offer better customer service or purchasing online. Finally, they don’t need to be fancy; Facebook messenger bots receive the highest volume of messages when compared to other platforms, there’s ample space for growth with SMS bots too, a universal platform that anyone with a cell phone could use.
So, how do bots help small businesses each day? Let’s take a look.
Say Hey Through Chatbots – at Any Time of Day
While small businesses typically offer great service in-person, trying to talk online or via phone can be a bit of a nightmare. We’ve all sent an email into the void, never to be returned by a business – and places with phones that ring endlessly without pickup are common as well. Why are small businesses flakier harder to reach than a Tinder date that’s ghosted on you? Because they’re often short of staff.
A chatbot, then, might just be a small biz’s favorite new employee, responding to customers’ queries immediately at any time of day. More sophisticated bots can even take service claims or try to solve an issue. Even if that just means scheduling for human employees to reach out and handle the claim themselves.
In addition to trouble answering prospective customers, many small businesses don’t offer adequate online booking or order features, which is a huge technological disadvantage. Businesses that do offer these might lose a cut of profits by relying on third-party systems. Implementing a chatbot is an easy way to make an appointment or put in an order.
Offer Enticing Deals Your Customers Can’t Pass Up
Obviously, small businesses can get a slice of the e-commerce pie with bots, too. But I already have a website for that, you might say. And that’s true – but with a chatbot, you can entice customers into making a purchase in a targeted way.
Take The Edit, for example. This record shop netted over $1 million in sales over a period of 8 months thanks to its chatbot, which alerted customers to album recommendations that were in stock. That’s no small sum for small business chatbots. Why does it work? Because people turn to shops like The Edit for their employees’ know-how and authority on music. You’re probably more likely to trust your regular barista’s recommendations tailored to your taste.
Chatbots are an excellent way, then, to leverage brand authority outside of in-person interactions. They can get a sense of customers’ taste and lead them to a sale through recommended purchases and curated offerings.
Find Out What Makes Your Customers Tick
Just like web analytics, chatbot analytics can help you find patterns in what/where/when people are looking for from your business. It’s tough to tell what your customers really want, but conversational data can immediately show the most-used words or phrases over time. Which makes it easy to discover new opportunities for promotion on other channels like social media and email blasts.
And speaking of email newsletters, you can use push notifications via your bot as an alternative for keeping customers up-to-date. Again, analytics help you A/B test messages for optimal open and CTR rates, which you can use for your email blasts, too.
As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for small businesses and chatbots. Chatbots are relatively easy to implement thanks to low-cost (and sometimes free) builders and visualized editors that don’t require coding knowledge. It’s definitely worth a try, so see how a chatbot can impact your business for the better.
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