The robots are taking over.
Artificial Intelligences (AI) are now much better than humans at many complex tasks. As our own Dave Gregor pointed out recently, our devices now understand our speech and can quickly give us the information we need.
And, well, just watch this.
I know, right?
Despite these advances, we need not fear digital systems becoming more and more intelligent.
I mean, you can fear it if you want, but it won’t stop these technological advances from happening. Plus, it’s far from a given that intelligent robots will pose a threat to humanity.
(And even if human-level intelligence is a threat, we’ll have plenty of time if we get to work planning for it.)
But another reason that we shouldn’t fear intelligent machines is that they can help us make more money. I don’t know about you, but this is something I am willing to risk world domination for.
What are Chatbots?
In all seriousness, a new technology called “chatbots” has some serious potential to help you get more leads and customers through your website or app.
Their functionality is similar to that of a search bar and live chat combined – users can simply type in a product or query and the bot will immediately bring up the desired page, or they can ask more complex questions that advanced bots can be “trained” to answer, such as, “how do I get to your store near Hamilton?”
The advantages of chatbots are pretty clear. They provide a chat service, which has been shown to increase conversions, but they don’t require a human to be monitoring the chat at all times.
Mobile is now ubiquitous, and it is frustrating for mobile users to have to click through a bunch of links to find what they need. Users are much more accustomed to messaging with their phone, and it’s becoming ever easier with technology like the Android Swype, so it’s a much smoother process.
Making Online Shopping Fun Again
Chatbots also make the conversion process…wait for it…FUN!
Yes, buying a shirt online can be fun, because you can make the bot’s responses funny or witty just as a human’s responses can be. Hey, it’s more engaging than clicking a bunch of links or sifting through a bunch of irrelevant search results.
Bot: How did you find our website?
Bot: In that case, hi Mr. Zuckerberg!
Not that funny? Well, it’s funnier than your boring search bar, so there!
Landing Pages and Forms That Speak
You already know that you should always use custom landing pages for PPC, social or email campaigns (I hope).
But did you know you can create cool landing pages for your campaigns that are actually chatbots?
Again, it’s more engaging and interesting than clicking a CTA or filling out a form. This leads to better conversion rates and more brand awareness, as it’s a unique experience that sticks in users’ minds.
Of course, filling out a form can also be as engaging as a chatbot. Just make it a chatbot. Here’s a good example of a chatbot form.
Don’t Forget About Humans, They’re People Too
As we’ve seen, chatbots are better at customer service than you might think. But AI-plus-human customer service is even better!
You can have the best of both worlds if you start the user in a chatbot conversation, then, at a certain point, pass them on to a human agent.
This decreases your human resources need by getting most of the information through a bot, but it also gives the slightly technophobic (who isn’t?) individuals a chance to finish the conversion with an actual human.
You can have predefined points in the interaction where the agent takes over, you could have the bot ask if a human is preferred, or you could wait until the user is silent for a certain period then have the human take over so you don’t lose the conversion.
However you do it, having the combined powers of (wo)man and machine at your disposal is a conversion-boosting combination.
So, what are you waiting for? Global robot revolution? Go out and start using a chatbot before they gain consciousness and take over!
Seriously though, if you want to engage users and grow your business, there may be no better tool out there than a chatbot built with your target audience in mind. Your bottom line will thank you (though your search bar and main navigation may not.)