Real-time customer experiences are the ultimate form of personalized marketing. When you engage with your customers in real time, you can solve their problems and address their needs the moment they arise. Not only are you communicating with the right person through the right channel, but you are also doing so at the right time — which is right when they’re on your website.
B2B marketers are just beginning to discover the benefits of real-time customer experiences, which are made possible through artificial intelligence (AI) and can be delivered in a number of ways. One of the most popular use cases for communicating with customers in real time is AI-powered chatbots, which simulate human communication live on brand websites and social media accounts.
Chatbots are already a hit with the general public, as 69% of consumers already prefer chatbots to quickly communicate with brands, compared with live representatives.
Chatbots were first theorized about in the 1950s by early computer scientist Alan Turing, and they have been in development for decades. Now this form of AI marketing is an everyday reality, and the golden age of the chatbot is nearly upon us. Here are three of the best ways to use chatbots to deliver real-time customer engagement and personalized marketing.
FINDING ANSWERS AND IDENTIFYING SOLUTIONS QUICKLY
Speed is perhaps the greatest benefit of chatbots. While the human associates behind the online help chat tools of the past decade were often helpful, it often took them a fair amount of time to find answers to questions. When customers open a chat with a chatbot, they know they will not have to wait around for the attention of a human associate, who may be busy fielding dozens of questions from different chats all at once.
Using the power of AI, chatbots can access information databases across your entire company to find relevant answers to customers’ most urgent questions, all within seconds. This can help set the minds of B2B buyers immediately at ease and help them make purchasing decisions without the need to wait for a formal reply from a human associate.
TRANSFERRING QUESTIONS TO HUMAN ASSOCIATES
Sometimes, however, it can still be difficult for chatbots to handle an entire query all on their own. While they can access virtually unlimited numbers of digital records and analyze the information incredibly quickly and accurately, their responses to very complex or detailed questions may not paint a complete picture for customers. Also, some customers may never fully be on board with the idea of using chatbots, preferring to communicate with a human associate. Certain questions will always need human input — but chatbots can still be helpful in identifying which human should give their input.
By accessing personnel databases at your company and measuring the function of your team members against customer requests, chatbots can easily find the best person to answer each question that requires personal attention. For example, a lead or prospect might have questions best suited for a sales rep, while existing customers might need technical support or assistance from your customer success team. Using chatbots to triage customer questions ensures customers’ most complicated and important questions are sent to the right person.
One of the most exciting and innovative uses for chatbots is performing transactions. Customers can perform almost any kind of transaction through chatbots, including making simple purchases, signing up for paid subscriptions, and paying bills. Chatbots — such as the LEGO Facebook bot, Ralph — can even suggest options for customers looking to make a purchase, but who may be unsure about what that purchase should be.
Performing transactions through a chatbot instead of an online form makes the process interactive and allows customers to ask questions that can be answered in real time, right in the middle of the purchase process. However, as 30% of customers currently worry about chatbots making mistakes, marketers need to communicate that chatbot transactions are just as secure as regular transactions — the bonus is that they are more interactive.
SIGNING UP FOR LISTS
Chatbots can also be used as a more engaging version of the classic mailing list sign-up form. Instead of presenting customers with static fields, chatbots can make ‘forms’ part of the conversation, asking for customer names and email addresses in a casual and informal manner, while engaging them in real time with relevant content and answers to their questions. This eliminates the sometimes-awkward and interruptive process of presenting customers with website forms, creating a more cohesive and seamless experience.
To learn more about how chatbots can impact your AI marketing and help create real-time customer experiences, read the State of Chatbots Report.