The function of the chatbot is pretty self-explanatory, right? A robot that chats with people- usually activated on a landing page. The person responds with questions and the bot follows up with answers, calender-drops, and/or links to content. These quick responses hopefully increase sales and customer convenience, providing an easy way for buyers to get exactly what they want. For a concept that screams ease, too many businesses seem to be getting tripped up on the same common pitfalls. What we’re about to show you, courtesy of Hans van den Berg, is the formula necessary to propel your company forward with bot implementation in the business community while avoiding these common traps. By following this formula and implementing some straightforward solutions, your marketing can better than ever before.
Pitfall #1: Pretending your Bot is Human
Often businesses will start their chat off by saying things like: “Hi! My name is Anna. How can I help you?” This introduction implies that behind the screen the bot is actually a real person. Although this model COULD be fine in theory, studies have shown that creating an illusion of human interaction that doesn’t exist is misleading and can even turn people away.
Solution: Let your customers know that they are speaking to a robot. No, there’s no real person on the other side managing the chat. No, they don’t want to go get coffee with you after you book a sale. People just don’t like to be tricked, and they don’t want to wonder if they’re talking to a real person or if it’s just a bot. This doesn’t mean that your bot has to be a mindless drone without personality, however. Even with the knowledge that there isn’t a person behind the chat, people still respond better when your bot can make a connection with them. Using natural language or even incorporating humor can help buyers feel positive about their interaction with you. This also allows you to insert links to content and calender-drops without the buyer becoming too confused about where the information is coming from or if the wording seems too generic. By being upfront and honest from the beginning, you start to establish a relationship of trust with your customers, creating a foundation that leads to loyalty and even positive word-of-mouth marketing (learn more about that here!).
Pitfall #2: Diving Straight into the Technology
Chatbots are cool. They save money and manpower and they help book sales like crazy. So why wouldn’t you want to jump right in? Well, according to our podcast with Hans van den Berg and Billy Bateman, diving straight into the technology can be dangerous for your business.
Solution: First determine the WHY of your business. Before any software is introduced, you need to have a real purpose that people are on board with. If there’s no demand and a wobbly foundation, then it doesn’t matter how cool your software is. You’ll crumble. After you’ve determined your why, you’ll need to figure out the who. Look at your current process and figure out what is currently going wrong. Use that to determine if it could be an issue with your interaction with your clients. Diving straight into the technology sometimes rushes the process of understanding why you’re doing what you’re doing, and who you really need to connect with.
This also allows time to make sure your software is free from bugs or issues. Frequently, businesses will decide to use an MVP (minimal viable product) in order to launch a very basic version- to “just get it out there”. There’s an issue with this. Often by using the most basic version intentionally and without proper prep time, the chance your software plagued by bugs is heightened dramatically. By launching bad software you run the risk of losing customers that get sick of dealing with it. It’s far better to have a good product, a good motive, and a good idea of your customers before you start launching.
Pitfall #3: Trying to do Everything at Once
We do this in all aspects of life. Work, school, a social life. We are constantly trying to do everything and be on top of everything. However, when trying to solve company problems, this seems to backfire more than not. By trying to juggle all the things that need to be fixed, it seems like even less gets done.
Solution: Pick one. This may seem like it would be obvious. However, it probably also stresses you out a little bit thinking of putting all your other tasks aside. So here’s what you do- decide which project is of the utmost importance. Both in time urgency and for the results you need. And then you tunnel vision in that direction- not allowing yourself any time for the other tasks until your #1 has been completed. Sometimes we mistake doing more for getting more done. I disagree with this statement. Multitasking is shown to reduce productivity by 40% according to the Harvard Business Review, and even with teams, this is no different. Not only does it reduce productivity, but it also increases stress. Having a common goal can unite your team, increase productivity, and lower stress. It’s an investment of time and trust in yourself. So take that investment, and propel yourself forward.
Bot Implementation- Friend or Foe?
With all of these potential mistakes, it’s easy to wonder if the work is actually paying off. Wouldn’t it be easier to not worry about bot implementation at all? Our answer is no. Your bots have the power to revolutionize your marketing strategy, and with 90% of people rating an immediate response as important to them when they have a customer service question, you can’t just opt-out. However, you can make sure you’re following this formula for bot implementation success. Chatbots are not only the future but they are your friend!