Whenever there’s a shiny new marketing toy that gets released we automatically get giddy with it to the point where a lot of us just use it for the sake of using it. With chatbots it’s no different.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to be that cool business in the block who was first to use X new technology, right? That’s street cred right there!

But more than being the first (or being a user at the very least) the focus should be on whether we are maximizing the tool. The thing is, if you are not effectively using a marketing tool, then you are probably wasting budget and man-hours. We all know that to get ahead of the competition, we need to have the budget and man-hours.

Take customer interaction, for example. There are a lot of ways to do it, and one of the newest technologies to take over this department is having AI deal with your customers. Most people call these “chatbots” and they have revolutionized how businesses provide support and service to their clients without having to break the bank by keeping a whole team of agents standing by.

What Are Chatbots?

Chatbots are a type of software powered by AI (Artificial Intelligence) that can mimic a conversation with a customer through websites, mobile apps, and other messaging applications. Chatbots “talk” to your customers to provide them with what they need. Sounds pretty straightforward, right?

But chatbots aren’t perfect. They still rely on human input at times. Still, they are, to date, the most advanced way of bridging communications between human and machine with the help of Natural Language Processing.

A lot of chatbots work pretty much the same way, a customer inputs a request, and the chatbot processes the request to respond. Depending on how well-programmed your chatbot is, it can be as easy as answering a question regarding a restaurant’s opening hours to providing accurate calculation for a customer’s total order including shipping and tax.

While it’s easy to get reeled into the idea of a robot doing all of these things for you, the price tag can be pretty steep, especially for a smaller business. For those that can afford it, the news can be a bit more grim – most chatbots aren’t being maximized.

That’s why we came up with this list of pointers for you to know whether you are effectively using chatbots or not. By the end of this article, we hope you can properly assess your chatbot to see if it is being used effectively or not.

How to Effectively Use Chatbots

1. Give it a persona

Most chatbots are just glorified answering machines. I say this because chatbots being used by a lot of businesses only give canned answers to common questions. One way to elevate your chatbot is to provide it with a persona. Aside from providing your “frontliner” a personality, it’s also quite fun for your customers because they feel like they are having real conversations. Remember that the experience is what the customer will remember so if they are having fun, then you are already winning half the war. Plus, if you can do this part well, your chatbot will breathe a life of its own.

2. Don’t make it one dimensional

Sure, chatbots start pretty much the same – to answer questions but don’t settle with a one-dimensional chatbot. While they should be able to answer a customer’s questions, they should also be able to provide other forms of service. For restaurant owners, it’s easy to have a chatbot that can answer basic questions such as closing hours and menu options but imagine if it can also take reservations. Users love it when your chatbot becomes a one-stop-shop for all their needs.

3. Make it easy to use

A lot of people are very focused on the marketing aspects of a chatbot that they forgot the very reason why we came up with it in the first place – to make everything easier for both the business and their customers. Take Domino’s, for example. They created a chatbot that will take your order without needing an account. Sounds straightforward, right? The thing is, a lot of people have been discouraged with using order-taking chatbots because they were so persistent with asking users to create an account. For people who want pizza, they want to be able to order pizza without having to go through obstacles and Domino’s chatbot provided that.

4. Use it to sell

Alright, this might sound a bit confusing, especially when we just mentioned above that a chatbot should be direct to the point and easy to use. Selling through your chatbot does not mean being direct like “Hey buy this!”. Instead, provide your customers with options may it be an upsell or cross-sell. This can be a bit tricky, but if done in a sensitive and tasteful manner, you can easily extra from one customer. One good example of this would be restaurant chatbots that can offer dessert options or extras for a customer’s current order.

5. Keep it simple

I know this can sound a bit cliche and contradictory to everything I mentioned above but because we are too focused on adding more bells and whistles to our chatbot, we can easily forget why we have it in the first place. Couple this with the fact that the more complicated a bot gets, the more likely it is to have issues. So list down the needs of your users, your goals, and craft a chatbot that can address both lists. Remember that at the end of the day, if your customers did not have their questions answered or were not serviced properly then your chatbot still failed – no matter how advanced it is.

Final thoughts

So what do you think? Coming up with a chatbot that can cover all bases will be hard, but the good thing is that most chatbots can easily be “taught” new things as you go along. It’s only a matter of you realizing what needs to be improved, what should be continued, and what you need to remove.

Also check out: Power Virtual Agents – any non-developer can create chatbots.