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According to Gartner Research, by 2020 people will have more conversations with chatbots than they will with their spouses. This means that chatbots are here to stay and will play an ever-bigger role in people’s digital lives in the years ahead.

In the here and now, chatbots can be an invaluable tool in your sales efforts, leading to higher conversion rates and improved customer experience. To properly take advantage of what chatbots can offer your business, it’s important to utilize them properly.

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Choose the Right Platform

If your company is thinking of adding a chatbot to your website, it’s important to choose the right platform. Given the complexity of modern chatbots and conversational AI, creating your own chatbot from scratch can be a daunting task.

Instead, the first step to a successful deployment is to select one of the existing platforms to base your chatbot on, one that best aligns with your use case.

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Improve Search

One of the prime ways that chatbots can improve your conversion rate is through improved search. Research has shown that 55% of users will spend less than 15 seconds actively looking at a website. While individuals who are searching for something specific may have a slightly longer attention span, the fact remains that you have a very finite amount of time to provide users with what they’re looking for.

Chatbots can significantly increase your chances of helping visitors find what they’re looking for before they lose interest and go elsewhere. Thanks to advanced programming, chatbots can ask questions, offer assistance, and provide information pertaining to what a person is searching for, usually much faster than the person could otherwise find it on their own.

Use Chatbots to Screen Interest

Another way that chatbots can be used to optimize your conversion rates is by screening your website visitors to determine which ones are the most likely to be converted into paying customers.

For example, a chatbot can be programmed to recognize when an individual has made multiple visits to your website, how long those visits are, and engage with relevant questions. Depending on the level of engagement and interest, the chatbot can turn the conversation over to a live representative or schedule a time for a representative to contact the customer.

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Upsell Existing Customers

In today’s economy, a large percentage of businesses focus their energies on acquiring new customers, rather than keeping the ones they have. In fact, research has shown that 44% of companies focus on acquisition, compared to a mere 18% that focus on customer retention.

Unfortunately, this approach is ineffective, in terms of both time and money. In the book Marketing Metrics, the authors make the case that “businesses have a 60 to 70% chance of selling to an existing customer while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5 to 20%.” That means that 44% of companies are focusing their energy on a portion of their business that may have as little as a 5% chance of being successful.

Unfortunately, in some people’s mind “upselling” is almost a dirty word, associated with sleazy salesmen who won’t take “no” for an answer. This is yet another area where chatbots can help a company optimize their efforts in a tasteful, dignified fashion. Just as a chatbot can be used to help customers find products at the beginning of their visit to your website, a chatbot can offer product recommendations based on what a customer has just viewed, added to their shopping cart, or purchased.

Best of all, if the customer is not interested in additional recommendations, the chatbot can be dismissed with no harm done.

Customer Support

While many companies focus on sales when looking for ways to improve their conversion optimization, service is an area that should not be ignored.

According to research cited in the Invesp infographic referenced above, it costs companies an average of five times more money to attract a new customer as opposed to simply keeping an existing one. For some industries, that cost is even higher. When acquiring mobile app users, for example, it’s estimated that it costs companies $8.21 to get a single user to create an account and an astounding $64.96 to get a user to make a purchase.

With figures like those, it’s critical for companies to keep existing users happy. In spite of what’s at stake, studies have shown that 62% of companies don’t respond to customer emails. Among those companies that do respond, the average response time is over 12 hours—well in excess of the one hour response time that customers expect. Needless to say, your company can’t optimize conversions if customers are leaving en masses because of poor service.

This is yet another area where chatbots can be a boon to your conversion efforts. In fact, up to 70% of customers think a company’s website should offer some sort of self-service application, with 40% preferring that to human contact for their customer service needs.

That means that chatbots are ideally positioned to help your company improve its customer service experience by cutting that critical response time to immediate, assisting customers with basic help and questions, and setting up definite appointments for customer support personnel to contact them with more difficult issues. Even when a human must get involved, chatbots can streamline that experience by providing the support representative with all the pertinent details necessary to resolve the customer’s issues as quickly and painlessly as possible. As an added benefit, your company can significantly improve its customer support experience without the added cost of additional staff.

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Chatbots and Your Company

Without a doubt, chatbots represent a new—and often improved—way of communicating with customers, both prospective and existing. By choosing the right platform and using chatbots at every step of the customer experience journey, you can significantly increase your conversion rates, while improving customer satisfaction and customer retention.

With 80% of brands expected to be using chatbots by 2020, don’t get left by the wayside. Start integrating the technology now to ensure your company is well-positioned to meet the needs of your customers now and in the future.

Bill Rice
About Bill Rice
Bill Rice is the Founder & CEO of Kaleidico. Bill is an expert in designing online lead generation strategies and programs. Kaleidico blends web design, development, SEO, PPC, content marketing, and email marketing to generate leads for mortgage lenders, law firms, fintech, and other businesses looking to grow a consumer-direct online strategy.