Chatbots in eCommerce – How to plan and execute

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

Ecommerce chatbots are ready to talk to your customers.

They want to get to know them on Facebook and solve problems on your website.

They’re ready to learn your brand voice and speak your language.  

While the robots are ready to lend a helping hand, some business owners are still nervous about bringing them onto the team. Here are a few ways you can make their transition easier and why you should invite them to join you sooner rather than later.   

Chatbots Are the Future of Customer Service and Sales

The development and implementation of chatbots has continued to grow over the past few years. While many were first launched as marketing gimmicks, they have evolved in ways that save companies money and improve the user experience.   

In 2016, 80% of decision makers (in a survey of 800 leaders) said they planned to add chatbots to their customer service strategy by 2020. The potential savings for these brands is huge. In the United States, businesses stand to save $23 billion in salaries for customer service representatives out of a projected spend of $79 billion total salary spend.

2020 is still two years away, but it means more companies are likely looking to execute their chatbot strategy or at least test the new technology, especially as more brands realize how much money is at stake.

Consumers Are Clamoring for Chatbots

One of the main barriers marketers face when considering chatbot adoption is audience reception. Will your customers need training on how to interact with the bot?  Will your business lose its personal touch because of the computers?

Studies have shown that these concerns are largely unfounded. According to the 2017 chatbot report
, 35 percent of consumers (out of 2,000 people polled) say they want to interact with more chatbots during the buying process. Interestingly, only 57 percent of consumers say they have ever interacted with a chatbot before.

This data proves that the majority of people who interact with chatbots have positive (or at least neutral) experiences and people who have never interacted with chatbots are eager to try them.

5 Tips to Add Chatbots for Your Ecommerce Brand

Along with customer adoption concerns, brands often question whether they have the bandwidth to launch and maintain a chatbot program. With the right onboarding process, almost any eCommerce company can successfully add a chatbot to its customer care team.

1) Make Sure Customers Are Aware of Your Chatbot

Look for opportunities to promote your chatbot to get customers testing it. You can either let people know they are talking to a robot or simply place the customer service window strategically on your eCommerce website.

Remember: the more people your eCommerce chatbot interacts with, the more it can learn, so it’s better to test its mettle instead of hoping for improvements over a slow roll-out.

2) Set Goals Beyond Conversion and Sales Revenue

2018 is the year of micro-conversions. Brands aren’t just tracking eCommerce conversion rates
anymore, they’re also looking at clicks, engagements, and satisfied customers. The same concept should be applied to your eCommerce chatbots. Instead of just tracking how many sales your bot generates, consider factors like:

  • Percent of total site visitors who interact with your chatbot
  • Percent of positive interactions customers have
  • Average time spent interacting with the chatbot
  • Number of questions answered on average

With these analytics (amongst others) you can see how your chatbot improves your business and helps customers with the buying process.

3) Train Your Chatbot on Your Brand Personality

You wouldn’t let your customer service team answer calls without brand training, would you? Then why would you let your chatbot respond to questions without teaching them about your brand.

Some eCommerce chatbots have features where chatbots “read,” your brand voice by filtering keywords and analyzing conversations. Other tools allow you to create scripts that reflect your brand.

Either way, make sure your chatbot enhances your brand and sounds natural, or customers could feel awkward engaging with it.  

4) Track How Your Chatbot Learns Over Time

Most chatbots are powered with AI and machine learning capabilities to make them better at their jobs. While their responses might be static or limited at first, they should improve after a few months of use. Make sure you keep track of what problems your chatbot can solve to see how it affects customer satisfaction.

5) Keep Humans Nearby to Help

Like all new trainees, your chatbot might need help from their managers on occasion. Consider moving a few of your customer service team members to supervisory roles to monitor chatbot conversations and help when needed. You can even make passing off the conversation to a manager part of the script.

You should also track the number of times your chatbot needs to hand-off the conversation to follow its improvement over time.

Chatbots grow more advanced each year and continue to learn from the people they work with. If you decide to bring a chatbot on to your customer service team, your eCommerce website and buyer satisfaction should continue to grow.

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