Digital technology is changing the dynamics of communication in all spheres of life. Marketing and sales are not left out of the pack.
A Computers in Human Behavior study shows that people would rather talk to their phones than talk to human beings. The desire to engage on digital devices comes with the need for speed in online interactions.
According to a research by Econsultancy, 83% of customers admit that they need prompt assistance during their online buying journey. And when such assistance is not provided, they exit.
With a lot of work on their hands, businesses are unable to meet this need. AI-powered technology - chatbot comes to the rescue by driving interaction between services and customers.
An eMarket report shows that 1.4 billion people worldwide were already using chatbots as of 2015.
In 2016, Facebook embedded chatbots in its Messenger application for better user engagement. Opportunities abound with the use of chatbots in marketing and sales.
Here are 5 ways to use chatbots for marketing and sales:
1. Offer personalized customer experience
When you are meeting someone for the very first time, and they address you by your name. After the initial surprise, you get the impression that they know you from somewhere, and then you let down your guard.
Chatbot applications are programmed to identify customers by their personal interactions, and address them based on this information, making them feel understood.
A study by Oracle states that 80% of businesses will be using chatbots by 2020. The bots record customer interactions and analyze such data in creating their profiles for marketing communications.
Rather than create generalized marketing campaigns from large data, you can streamline various customer data, and communicate with them on a personal level.
Personalized customer experience goes beyond inserting customer’s name in their emails. Having recorded customer interactions over time, the chatbot is able to engage them in a two-way conversation, creating an illusion of human-human conversation.
2. Reach a wider market
Brand awareness is one of the first stages of marketing. The more people are aware of your products and/or services, the more sales you are likely to make.
Recommended: How to Build Brand Awareness for Your Startup
Chatbots are integrated into social media platforms and can reach an unlimited number of people in the virtual space.
According to Statista, there are 3.169 billion people on social media in 2018. Obviously, this market is overly huge to handle. Chatbots analytics enable you to streamline your marketing efforts to your target market.
A marketing campaign set with a particular demographics of users on Facebook is visible to only that segment of the population, and this increases the engagement rate.
All marketing interactions are communicated to prospects who meet your criteria and are interested in what you are selling.
3. Leverage feedback
Feedback, either it positive or negative, is helpful in marketing. There is a limit to how far a business can go without feedback. Repeating the same thing, in the same way, will at best, give you the same results.
Continuous improvement is the mantra of successful businesses. Regardless of how great their products and/or services might be, they are constantly searching for ways to make them better. With the continuous feedback they get, they are empowered to make well-informed decisions.
In a Customer Service And Business Results study, 95% of customers say they share a bad experience with at least one person, and 54% say they share it with 5 people. A bad customer experience you are unaware of, can easily spread if you do not get feedback to correct it.
Chatbots can be used to facilitate feedback from customers via several options such as online surveys, emails, polls and feedback boxes.
Customer responses to questions asked, bring hidden issues to the fore, and stir you in the right direction.
You also get a path on the back if your products and/or services satisfy customer needs. Commendation for doing a great job is a motivator to work harder and do better.
4. Improve the sales funnel
Sales funnel is the process prospective customers go through in their buying journey. An effective sales funnel increases sales.
Chatbots can be used to track and collect large data of both current and prospective customers. Doing this manually is cumbersome. At the speed of light, the bots interpret data, and make useful predictions of their buying outcomes.
There are four stages of the sales funnel: awareness, interest, decision and action. Chatbots can be used to influence the customer positively through all the stages.
Lead nurturing is an integral function of the sales funnel. It is used to drive interactions with prospects even after they leave your website.
Nurturing leads manually is very demanding as you have to create different sales copies about your products and/or services at different times.
Chatbots can be programmed to eliminate unqualified leads, and focus on the qualified ones. Useful information gathered from customer interactions are used to create specific sales copies that will speak to the needs of the customers.
5. Engage customers promptly
A typical customer support unit is always busy. Customers often have the need to speak to someone about rising issues. The most responsive customer support teams sometimes get overwhelmed, and this leads to a backlog.
An Aspect Consumer Experience Index report shows that 70% of customers say an organization’s customer service shows the value it places on them.
Poor customer service such as keeping customers waiting for long can be said to be an insult on their personality.
Chatbots are automated to always be on time. As soon as customer inquiries come through, the bots log them in and provide swift response. They engage customers until human engagement becomes imperative.
Marketing and sales have evolved over time. In today’s digital world occupied by the digital savvy, sticking to only traditional ways of marketing is an anomaly.
The clock is ticking, and everyone is moving along with it. It is okay if you would rather stick to the old ways, but do not be surprised when you look around and find no one. Everyone likes to be on the winning team.
Sawaram Suthar is head of marketing at Acquire, and also a founder of Jagat Media, a digital marketing agency. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in things including branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on @sawarams.