In today’s always-on age where customers can engage with businesses 24/7, competition can be fierce. Customers expect personalized and immediate service and attention. According to Forbes, more and more customers prefer using on-site chat to communicate with businesses. We’ve previously explored what this means for sales and customer service. As digital marketers, you can apply these evolving trends to develop and scale individual connections to attract new customers.
Marketers can use conversational commerce tools to create on-brand customer experiences for visitors who land on their website, and Formilla offers ways to help you add live chat and chat bots to your existing pages. By taking some time up front to design conversations and flows, marketing managers can create an engaging customer experience and personalized interactions that take visitors on a journey with your brand. Through these interactions, live chat and chat bots provide an effective marketing channel, creating memorable connections, building trust, and establishing relationships that make a customer more likely to return. Or maybe even become a brand advocate.
Chat bots are software programmed to carry on conversations by responding to keywords. They can be simple rules-based menu bots or more complex bots, like Formilla’s Helper Bot, using AI to learn, reply, and offer assistance. Chat bot conversations can expand beyond text to use emojis, gifs, and even videos to take on your brand’s voice and personality and personalize the user experience.
Chat bots are available at all times to help users, either by offering a service or by delivering content or on-demand information. Bots can be used to handle straightforward issues or repetitive questions, freeing live agents up for more complex needs. When bots are unable to handle a request, they can route the customer to a live agent. Agents are more attuned to emotional cues and can relay empathy to a customer while providing high touch service.
Chat widgets empower businesses to meet customers right where they are – on your website. Chat bots and live chat can work together to provide instant support at scale. When customers most need to speak with someone, live chat agents are available to engage.
The conversational experiences and personalized connections live chat and chat bots create with customers can bring a variety of benefits for marketers, including better lead generation.
The conversations between customers and live chat and chat bots engage customers in a format that makes it easier to gather information. The conversational back and forth provides a more intuitive user experience than completing a static contact form or reading and scrolling through blocks of text. Chat widgets make it easier for visitors to interact with buttons and quick replies, decreasing the burden of user input.
Live chat agents and chat bots gather information by asking questions and follow-up questions from the beginning to better direct the conversation and help the customer by triaging their needs. The customer can provide information, such as contact info and location, and answer questions about their needs to get a helpful response to their issue. As an example, Formilla’s chat bot can ask visitors for their email address at the beginning of a chat session. This allows us to follow up in the event of a disconnect.
Conversational commerce tools can supplement the basic information you can pull from Google Analytics by offering you the flexibility to choose the details that would be most helpful for assisting customers and for your marketing campaigns. Any information gathered through the customer’s responses can feed straight to your CRM software through integrations, making the flow of information seamless. You can then use the captured information for the future for further marketing and sales opportunities.
If a chat bot or live chat agent engages with a returning visitor, they can access information from past conversations, providing context for the chat and creating a more personal feel for the customer. Information gathered from chat conversations can also enhance and improve the conversational flows and overall customer experience for your company.
You and your team can also use the information for lead segmentation in order to better target your marketing campaigns and messages to the customer and to provide more helpful content in the future. For B2B companies, you can get information on the customer’s needs, role, budget, company size, and industry to help with lead scoring. Further down the funnel, having more info on the customer upfront can make onboarding easier.
Because of the various ways you can apply the information gathered by live chat and chat bots, marketers can reap a lot of benefits from maximizing opportunities for visitors to engage with chat widgets.
While you’re already spending money with Facebook Ad Manager or Google AdWords to drive traffic to landing pages on your website, or employing landing page design and optimization services such as Unbounce, you can increase your ROI even more by adding live chat or chat bots to your landing pages. Live chat agents and chat bots can engage with visitors, ask questions, and provide them with helpful information and content, improving key marketing and sales metrics across the board. When you’ve got a key landing page launched, you should be using chat tools to make it as successful as possible.
According to data from Gartner, implementing AI like that used in chat bots can increase conversion rates up to 30%. Conversational commerce tools can make your landing pages “stickier,” reducing bounce rates and moving visitors through the marketing funnel to take action. Landing pages are an effective tool for marketing and sales, and you can maximize your success during key time windows by adding chat bots or live chat to engage with visitors on your page and convert them to leads.
Live chat and chat bots working together provide 24/7 access to businesses, 24/7 access to customers, and generate leads around the clock, providing a significant ROI for a marketing campaign with minimal costs. Chat widgets designed to help, inform, and educate visitors are available from the moment visitors land on your website.
Because users must opt-in to speak with a chat bot or live agent, visitors are already engaging with your brand when they start engaging in chat. They are providing information through chat in exchange for on-demand help and education. Conversational commerce tools provide service while satisfying customers with their natural tone, driving customer interest in your brand, promoting engagement using conversational calls to action, and improving lead generation.
You can pair the leads generated by chat bots and live chat with your marketing automation tools. For example, visitors who are on your site, but not quite ready to make a purchase, can speak with the chat bot or agent and answer questions to specify their needs. The agent or chat bot can respond with product suggestions, advice, reviews, and other helpful content. They can also follow up to re-engage the customer or collect contact information for targeted re-engagement in the future.
A well-designed chat experience can engage customers and convert them from visitors to marketing qualified leads (MQLs) by asking questions, and providing helpful content to sales qualified leads (SQLs) to drive final conversion. Chat bots can also give customers the option to book meetings or can send information on high potential leads to your sales team for further follow-up. The conversion power of live chat and chat bots comes from the individualized, personal touch they provide during their interactions.
Given today’s circumstances, people aren’t shopping in person as often as they were in the past. Businesses with brick and mortar locations have to develop other ways to appeal to customers who can’t physically visit their stores. Shoppers prefer in-store experiences when purchasing from certain types of retailers, such as fashion, apparel, and cosmetics, because they can try products in-store before making a purchase. And some people are just warier of shopping online. Based on information from McKinsey, companies are looking for more ways to offer the in-store experience online.
Live chat and chat bots can mimic the on-site shopping experience by helping the visitor navigate your store and asking simple questions about your customer’s needs and understanding them. Automation with chat bots can even help smaller e-commerce Shopify stores provide this type of personal experience at a low cost and, when partnered with live chat, allows you to have uninterrupted 24/7 coverage.
Conversational commerce tools are great opportunities to suggest helpful products to customers. Through their interactions with a customer, live chat agents can identify ways to cross-sell by recommending complementary products, or even upsell by presenting similar product options. Chat bots can provide customers with options as well. For example, by having visitors answer a series of questions around clothing and style preferences, chat bots can provide them with recommended items to match their taste. And in the post-pandemic world, chat widgets can be used to guide people back into stores by scheduling appointments and sharing store hours and location information.
Another win-win for customers and businesses, this special touch and connection can create a loyal repeat customer. You can use the information gathered during the chat session to target marketing to the customer’s preferences. The customer receives personal guidance, and you gain insight into their behavior and needs. The personal touch that skilled in-store sales staff can provide is still possible online, when you use chat tools the right way.
Websites and e-commerce sites are coming out with bigger ads and splashier leaderboards to grab customer attention. However, people have become so attuned to this type of traditional online advertising that they can completely ignore banner ads and leaderboards. In fact, these may even have a negative impact on a customer’s overall experience on your site. In contrast, chat widgets are less obtrusive and take up less valuable space on your site, making them more effective ways to market. A well-designed conversational commerce tool attracts attention and engages visitors who need to opt-in in order to chat, so the marketing feels less like an unwelcome intrusion.
Customers want to engage when the timing works best for them, for businesses to meet them where they are, and they want to have timely and personalized service. Conversational marketing through chat bots and live chat is an efficient way to accomplish this. Unlike banner ads or leaderboards, the interactive and dynamic nature of chat widgets also allows them to send custom messages that are better targeted toward your customers’ interests based on the insights you gain from them and the relationships you build with them.
We’ve discussed before how proactive messaging impacts your customer service and sales. Chat bots or live chat agents can offer help when your customer has been browsing the page for a certain length of time or re-engage them when they’ve moved away from their shopping cart.
Similar to having an in-store shopping experience, the bot or agent reaches out and offers help when they notice that your customer may need it. In addition, you can use chat widgets to market sales and offers to visitors with messages asking them if they would like to hear about current specials. You can tailor these messages and push them to certain customers based on the data that’s gathered from their chat interactions.
With the real-time information they can see about site visitors, live chat agents can personalize their interactions. Chat bots behave the same way when integrated with your CRM, where you can segment visitors and leds by data points gathered during the chat, such as shopping preferences, demographics, and location. Contact records provide context that can enhance personalization during interactions with your customers, such as referencing visitors by name. For example, a SaaS company can use chat to promote new features or pitch additional features to existing clients, or a chat bot for a multinational business can speak to customers in their local language.
For further customization and targeted personalization, Formilla’s Chat Departments live chat feature helps route your visitor to speak to the proper agents based on their team. The chat widget can give visitors the option to select a department to speak with at the beginning of the chat interaction. Allowing the customer to select a department to speak with creates a better result for them by tailoring responses and approaches to address their needs, and provides a way to incorporate human interaction when necessary.
“One size fits all” blanket marketing campaigns don’t work for today’s modern consumers and their expectations for instant and personalized experiences with your brand and company. In a world with so much competition for business, digital marketing strategists can’t afford to exclude the conversational experience of live chat and chat bots from their marketing strategy.
Sign up for a free Formilla trial and get started with marketing through live chat and chat bots for your website. With some upfront investment in good planning and design, you can see the power of using conversational commerce tools for marketing to automate personalized customer experiences and generate leads at scale.