By Wilson Basquiat on May 18, 2021
It wasn’t that long ago that artificial intelligence was the stuff of science fiction novels and movies. Computers were only as good as the information you put into them. They couldn’t learn and they couldn’t be expected to communicate in any meaningful way.
That’s no longer the case. Artificial intelligence has improved vastly in recent years. The use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) means that chatbots and virtual assistants are increasingly common.
That means you should have one, too. Chatbots aren’t as expensive to develop as you might think. Let’s talk about why you need to stop delaying and incorporate an AI chatbot into your sales and marketing strategy.
Chatbots Can Help You Make More Sales
Let’s face it, the most important thing you want to know about chatbots is whether they can increase your profits. That makes sense. After all, if you’re going to invest in a chatbot, it’s reasonable to want some reassurance about what the results will be.
While chatbots are relatively new, there are some promising statistics you should know about.
– 41.3% of consumers report using a chatbot to make a purchase in 2020.
– Consumer willingness to use chatbots for purchases rose by about 150% from 2019 to 2020.
– Companies that incorporated a Facebook Messenger bot to interact with customers who abandoned their shopping carts saw an increase in revenue between 7% and 25%.
– 55% of companies that use chatbots in a lead generation said they saw a significant increase in the number and quality of leads.
Overall, chatbot usage has seen a 92% increase since the beginning of 2019. As usage continues to grow, so will consumer adoption – and that means that companies who adopt now are likely to see significant ROI on their chatbot investment.
Chatbots Are Always Available
“Chatbots for sales can be programmed to make product recommendations that can increase your sales at any time of day.”
When consumers were asked about the benefits of interacting with a chatbot, the most common response was the availability of 24-hour service and assistance.
While that survey focused on customer service chatbots, the same benefit applies to sales chatbots. We live in a world where everything is available all the time. If someone is up in the wee hours of the morning and wants to go on a shopping spree, they can do it, provided that they have access to the web.
Human sales representatives serve an undeniable purpose. They can provide personal attention in a way that bots can’t. However, they can’t work 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Only chatbots can do that.
A customer who needs help at a time when a human representative isn’t available can get what they need from a well-programmed chatbot. Chatbots for sales can be programmed to make product recommendations that can increase your sales at any time of day.
A Sales Chatbot Can Help You Steal Customers from Your Competitors
While chatbot adoption overall is on the rise, adoption varies by industry and company size. Perhaps surprisingly, companies with between one and 10 employees have the highest chatbot adoption rate at 40%.
Mid-size companies have the lowest adoption rate and B2B companies only have a 0.5% adoption rate. If your competitors have not incorporated chatbots into their marketing and customer service, you have an opportunity to step into the gap they’ve created and capitalize by offering the 24-hour service that they can’t.
The key is to understand how and when your customers are most likely to use a chatbot and provide a seamless experience that makes adoption a matter of course. Some companies identify their bots as bots and others don’t. If you’re in an industry where you think it might take some work to get customers over the hurdle of dealing with a chatbot for the first time, you have the option of presenting it as a “live chat” option.
Chatbots Can Help You Grow Your Business
Attracting new customers is expensive. You need to retain your existing customers and spend as little as possible to attract new ones – and AI chatbots can help you do both.
Let’s start with customer retention. It’s easy for human sales reps to get caught up in chasing their next commission. They may not give the same attention to existing customers that they do to the elusive new customer. Over time, your existing customers may find what they need elsewhere.
A well-programmed chatbot can fulfill the need for instant gratification by providing immediate responses to common questions, directing customers to self-help resources, and flagging more serious problems for human agents. These things can all help with customer retention.
In terms of attracting new clients, chatbots can interact at any time of day, providing basic information about your company and products and gathering information on leads. Prospective clients get the impression that you care about them and want their business because they get immediate attention and quick responses to their questions.
Chatbots Are Affordable
Most small businesses need to work within a budget, so let’s start there. How much does it cost to develop a chatbot for your business?
There’s a wide range of potential costs. For the simplest of chatbots, it’s possible to use free software and do the designing yourself. This option will necessarily limit the chatbot’s abilities, unless, of course, you happen to be an ace programmer in your spare time.
If you want a chatbot that does more than offer standard responses, you will need to invest some money to hire an experienced chatbot programmer. Some chatbot designers might charge about $15,000. At the high end, it can cost $50,000 or more. At Umbrella, we offer a far more affordable alternative, with chatbot development fees ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, even for complex bots. We’ll work with you to design a bot that does what you (and your customers) need it to do.
The bottom line is that chatbots are a worthwhile investment because they are less expensive than expanding your sales or customer service departments to provide around-the-clock service. Customers expect them – and by providing them, you can get more leads and grow your business.
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