How to use chatbots to grow your online business
If you run an online business, you already know how tricky managing customers can be. This is especially true for a small team handling multiple customers at once. And if these customers live in different time zones? Well, it gets even trickier.
Thanks to AI chatbots, your business could instantly respond to thousands of customers and provide them with an incredible shopping experience.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a computer software that simulates real human conversation, by comprehending what a person has said and automatically generating a response. These responses can be pre-programmed and fully in the business’ control.
Chatbots are all the rage in the corporate world today, and rightfully so. Businesses can integrate these virtual assistants into messaging platforms, websites, or mobile applications to interact with customers, answer questions, provide information, make recommendations, or even complete simple transactions.
But how widespread are they really? Over half of customer support teams already use some form of a chatbot or AI platform for customer-facing applications. And Gartner predicts that chatbots will become a primary customer service channel by 2027.
Are you planning to invest in chatbots for your business? Below, we'll discuss the nine best ways to use chatbots to grow your online business. But before that, let's dig into the incredible benefits these virtual agents offer.
Benefits Of Chatbots For Online Business And E-Commerce
AI chatbots offer many benefits for online businesses and e-commerce. Here's a glimpse at 5 of them:
Improved customer service and support
Personalized user experience
Increased customer retention
Streamlined sales and lead generation
Let’s learn about how each one impacts your business in a positive way.
Improved Customer Service And Support
Chatbots can respond instantly to customer inquiries and address their questions and concerns in real time.
They offer a convenient and efficient way for customers to get the information they need without waiting for a human agent. Maybe that's why the majority of customers prefer chatbots to resolve simple issues.
Unlike human agents who have limited working hours, chatbots are available 24/7. They can handle customer queries and ensure customers receive support anytime, even outside regular business hours.
This round-the-clock availability is a game changer for online businesses that serve customers in different time zones.
Personalized User Experience
Thanks to natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning algorithms, chatbots can simulate human-like conversations and provide personalized assistance. They can gather information about customer preferences, purchase history, and browsing behavior to tailor their interactions and recommendations to that specific person.
Increased Customer Engagement And Retention
One of the more important growth strategies is to create loyal customers in e-commerce. And guess what? Chatbots are incredible tools for increasing customer engagement and fostering long-term relationships. They keep customers engaged and satisfied with the brand by providing proactive assistance, recommending products, and offering personalized promotions.
Streamlined Sales And Lead Generation
Chatbots can assist customers in finding products and providing information. They can guide them throughout the sales funnel, streamlining business sales. Their personalized product recommendations can help drive more sales for businesses.
Further, chatbots can collect user information and qualify leads by asking relevant questions. A recent Botco.ai research finds that chatbots have helped 55% of B2B marketers generate new leads.
Best Practices For Using Chatbots In Online Businesses
Chatbots have taken over the mundane, repetitive tasks of customer service and support teams, freeing them up for more critical tasks. However, its multiple use cases can overwhelm businesses new to AI chatbots.
So, to help you get started, we’ve summarized the best ideas for growing your online businesses with chatbots. Let's dive in!
- Customer support and FAQs
- Order processing and tracking
- Product recommendations
- Lead generation and sales
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Feedback and surveys
- Social media engagement
- Appointment scheduling
- Surveys and polls
Customer Support and FAQs
AI-powered chatbots have achieved tremendous success in automating customer support. They offer instant responses to frequently asked questions, saving time and improving customer satisfaction. Instead of writing emails or waiting in long call queues, 62% of customers would rather text with chatbots in real time.
Many customers contact businesses for troubleshooting issues, and chatbots can help here too. They can provide the proper guidance by asking relevant questions and providing step-by-step instructions to resolve issues.
One step further in this innovation is the use of video chatbots. Creating and editing videos using an online video editor is an engaging medium for communication, storytelling, and information sharing. Businesses can use video chatbots to guide customers through video conversations with virtual representatives for enhanced support. Video chatbots enhance the overall experience by creating a sense of interactivity and customization, making videos more immersive and effective in conveying messages.
But what if the issue is beyond AI's capability and requires human interference? In that case, chatbots can escalate the conversation to human representatives for support and expertise. This combination of instant assistance and seamless escalation provides an efficient customer support experience.
Order Processing and Tracking
Another vital area where AI chatbots can provide immense support is order processing and tracking. When a customer expresses an intention to purchase, the chatbot can guide them through the step-by-step ordering process.
Not just pre-sales, chatbots can come to rescue post-sales too by addressing one of the most repetitive customer questions – where's my order? They can provide real-time updates on order status to customers seeking reassurance. This level of transparency and visibility helps instill confidence in customers and build trust.
Further, businesses can also use chatbots to make their order modification and cancellation process hassle-free. Modifying or canceling orders can involve several time-consuming steps. Customers may need to navigate through lengthy phone calls or wait for email responses, leading to frustration and delays.
Chatbots can simplify this process by allowing customers to initiate order modifications or cancellations within the conversation. They can quickly process customer requests and provide instant confirmation of the changes.
Product Recommendation and Personalization
As discussed before, businesses can use chatbots to provide personalized recommendations to customers. Through their conversations, chatbots can understand user preferences and provide tailored suggestions. For instance, a customer may ask for recommendations for running shoes. The chatbot can inquire about their preferred brand, size, and running style and suggest the most suitable options.
Additionally, chatbots can utilize upselling and cross-selling techniques for recommending complementary accessories, such as moisture-wicking socks, sports insoles, running apparel, fitness trackers, etc. This personalized approach not only helps customers discover relevant accessories and improve their shopping experience, but also increases the average order value for the business.
Lead Generation and Sales Funnels
Generating quality leads can be challenging for businesses, especially if they don’t have the means to capture visitor information and qualify them. Enter chatbots!
Chatbots can capture visitor information through lead generation forms, allowing businesses to build a database of potential customers. Then, by asking relevant questions, they can qualify leads and provide initial sales information accordingly.
However, chatbots don't stop here. They can also nurture leads by delivering targeted messaging and follow-ups, keeping potential customers engaged throughout the sales funnel. This proactive approach helps businesses convert leads into sales faster.
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Did you know that the average cart abandonment rate in e-commerce is a staggering 69.99%? Chatbots can play a vital role in addressing cart abandonment by sending timely reminders and incentives to customers who leave their shopping carts behind.
You may have come across messages such as, “Hey there! We noticed you left something in your cart. Complete your purchase now and enjoy a 10% discount!” Such automated reminders can entice customers to return and complete their purchases.
If customers need assistance or have doubts, chatbots can step in to provide support or suggest alternative products. Besides, businesses can also discover the common reasons for abandonment by collecting customer feedback through chatbots. They can then use the insight to improve the checkout process.
Chatbots are fantastic at gathering feedback and conducting surveys. Businesses can use chatbots to ask specific questions and collect data on what customers like, what they're not so happy with, and what they'd love to see improved.
They can then use the platform to enhance their products, services, and overall user experience. By actively listening to customers and making changes based on their feedback, businesses show that they genuinely care about meeting their needs and creating a better customer experience.
Social Media Engagement
Chatbots are the way to go if you want to stay connected with your audience on social media platforms. You can add chatbots to platforms like Facebook and Instagram and actively engage with the audience.
With 76% of customers expecting a response from brands on social media within 24 hours, automating engagement has become a necessity rather than a luxury for brands to foster customer loyalty. This is a crucial social media tip for businesses to consider.
Chatbots can automatically respond to social media comments, messages, and inquiries, providing timely and personalized assistance. Businesses can leverage chatbots to offer social media-exclusive promotions, discounts, or giveaways, creating a sense of exclusivity and driving customer engagement.
Appointment Scheduling and Reminders
Appointment chatbots have become popular among businesses that offer services and require prior booking. By integrating chatbots with your calendar and scheduling system, you can allow customers to book appointments at any time of the day directly through conversation with the bot.
Once an appointment is scheduled, chatbots can send automated reminders and notifications to customers, reducing the chances of no-shows. If customers want to cancel or reschedule appointments, chatbots can easily handle them without human intervention.
Survey And Polls
With their ability to handle large interactions, chatbots make it convenient for businesses to gather data by engaging customers in interactive surveys and polls. They can ask questions about customer preferences, trends, and opinions and collect real-time responses.
These wider insights can be used to make informed business decisions, improve products or services, and tailor marketing strategies for better customer satisfaction and engagement.
Using a chatbot in your online businesses opens up possibilities for improving customer satisfaction and driving business growth. You can provide efficient round-the-clock customer service, personalize new customer recommendations, and gain valuable insights through customer feedback.
Plus, just imagine all the time you’d save?!
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