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August 08, 2018

A Guide to Getting Started with Chatbots

Chatbots are the future of online commerce and are getting smarter by the day. Any online business would be wise to invest now and create a quality bot that engages their audience and in turn creates sales. Here’s a guide to get started.

1.         Use a Platform for Making Chatbots

Using a platform, such as Chattypeople is the simplest way to create a fully functioning chatbot. Chattypeople is a platform that businesses and businesses alike can use to build chatbots since it doesn’t require any programming knowledge. All you have to do is sign up to the website and then link your account to your Facebook (News - Alert) profile. Other benefits of the chatbot tool include:

-           It supports numerous business categories and CMS platforms

-           It can integrate with all the major payment systems

-           It is capable of taking orders directly from Facebook comments and Messenger

-           It can recognize variations of the keywords used

-           It allows you to push deals and offers to customers on demand

-           It works seamlessly with Facebook comments and Messenger

2.         Define Your Expectations and Goals

The surest way to set yourself up for failure is to overload the chatbot with features. You don’t have to try to get the chatbot to master all tasks from the get go. Designing the chatbot such that it is capable of mastering one task to its full capability is more preferable to having a chatbot that’s capable of undertaking 5 -10 tasks half-heartedly. It is always important to keep in mind that quality trumps quantity each time.

3.         Give the Chatbot a Unique Name

Avoid letting the chatbot to get lost in the growing crowd of chatbots. When thinking about the name to use, it is important to pay close attention to your chatbot marketing. Companies are increasingly implementing chatbots and if yours doesn’t have a unique name, it won’t be found online or remembered. Giving the chatbot a unique name ensures that customers can easily search for it.

4.         Approach Customers with the Bot

Many people still find chatbots incredibly confusing, so approach your customers directly to generate more conversations as well as ensuring that they have a positive experience interacting with your brand. When you design a chatbot, it is important to:

-           Use buttons on your website and Facebook page

-           Tell your customers how you can be of assistance to them via a welcome message

-           Incorporate a “Get started” button that’s positioned clearly

-           Create a greetings message that’s effective

5.         Create a Natural Conversation Flow

Ensure that the bot is conversational. A conversational bot will make the interaction between your audience and the chatbot more open thus helping you understand the needs of your customers better while gathering valuable data. The point of the bot is to answer questions from the audience. It should thus not get in the way of the conversation, but instead facilitate it.

6.         Start Simple and Small

Besides keeping its functionalities limited in its beginnings, you should also:

-           Avoid using jargon when communicating with customers

-           Keep its communications understandable and concise

-           Remember that the bot represents your brand along with its products

The but is currently in its infancy and does not need to pretend to be something that it isn’t. If you start small and keep the bot simple, it is possible to learn from the behavior of your audience and slowly develop new versions of it with additional functionalities.

7.         Optimize and Evaluate the Bot Regularly

You will extend the functionalities of your bot by creating new and improved versions of it. A chatbot is after all a powerful tool for digital marketing, and as with any tool used in marketing, it should be evaluated regularly and optimized according to David Sessford of Ready Steady Sell. The technology surrounding chatbots is still relatively new, which means that it is still introducing new features. When evaluating your chatbot, it is important to:

-           Establish the most suitable ways to drive your audience to the desired outcome

-           Focus on optimization of the chatbot depending on your goals

-           Determine what you would like to optimize it for

8.         Unveil One Feature at a Time

Besides the fact that you need to perfect all the features in your chatbot prior to launching them to the public, it would also be overwhelming for your audience to be faced with such a huge amount of information in one go. Unravel one feature at a time, when they are needed by customers.

9.         Figure Out the Data That You Would Like to Gather

Chatbots are a valuable tool for data collection. It comes back to setting goals. Think about the data that you would like to collect from the audience and then customize the chatbot’s conversation flow to ask the proper questions to gather this data. For instance, you could:

-           Ask for a customer’s zip code if you wish to know his/her location

-           Ask customers about their shopping, eating, or exercise habits to push the right promotions and offers to them in the future.

-           Gather the key learning about your customers’ shopping preferences to push relevant information in the subsequent interactions with them.

10.       Stay up-to-date with the Competition

Chatbots are still new, which means that there’s still room for improvement. The best approach is to learn by monitoring the progress of your competitors. To do so, you should start to track:

-           Things that your competitors are doing badly to avoid making similar mistakes.

-           Things that your competitors are doing well that you can implement in your own chatbot strategy. A lot of businesses are using Chatbots in their social media, specifically their Facebook pages and find them to be an excellent addition to strategies.

-           Any innovative features your competitors might be using that you aren’t yet aware of.

The best and most innovative way to reach your audience today is to launch a simple, easily accessible, easy to use, and efficient chatbot. Not just this, by providing your audience with a conversational chatbot with some personality you can be sure that they will keep coming back for more.

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