As technology continues to push our imagination, it is quickly turning sci-fi ideas into reality. B2B marketers have started embracing chatbots. It is not possible that every bot makes a B2B website experience better for the users.
A good chatbot helps users accomplish something more efficiently and can make a site more enjoyable. A bad chatbot wastes time, frustrates users and drives them to the competition. Any task that doesn't require human interaction can be automated by a chatbot, but don't assume technology is all it takes.
Building a conversational chatbot that offers more than chatter takes planning and effort. Crafting the right chatbot experience starts with understanding the needs of the users. The reason to build a chatbot is not to have a chatbot. A chatbot must have a purpose or fulfill a need for users. It is very vital to identify how a chatbot can help meet business goals or support a marketing communication strategy.
To be useful, a chatbot needs to do more than just following limited direct commands and offer up amusing responses. Chatbots used in B2B applications need to understand user intention or risk negatively impacting a business and brand. If one can't identify a task, service or process that a chatbot can perform to make something better, faster, or easier, then a chatbot is not the right solution.
When a chatbot is appropriate and well-implemented, it can:
- Increase brand affinity and reinforce a brand voice.
- Increase engagement and conversion rates.
- Streamline and improve lead generation and qualification.
- Provide faster and better-informed customer support, 24/7.
- Generate data about user language and sentiment.
- Gather direct feedback during sessions.
- Generate ideas for content or services to meet needs.
How to build a better B2B chatbot?
1. Define the purpose and plan.
The process starts by outlining the chatbot's purpose and benefits. Answering the following questions helps in articulating the need behind the investment and define the plan.
- Who is the target user/audience?
- What need will the chatbot fulfill or useful service can it provide?
- How will the chatbot provide value? What will it make faster, better, or easier?
- How does the chatbot support our business or marketing objectives?
- How does this customer service model represent our company and brand?
It is better to start simple and do one thing well rather than adding features that fall short of users' expectations. Building only what is needed is the basic rule to making chatbots productive and not overdone. So, it is important to see what is and isn't working before adding complexity that might diminish what could have been a simple, satisfactory solution.
2. Understand the options.
There are chatbots that use AI and those too which don't. A simple chatbots may use rules or a decision-tree to chat. Its paths are limited, so users select from defined options and get programmed responses. An AI chatbot can use machine learning or natural language processing. Machine learning uses algorithms to test data and responses against an outcome. Data is gathered and applied or learned. An intelligent chatbot is able to handle different scenarios and adapt. Users ask a question, the chatbot explains it and responds back using its intelligence while turning the user's input into more data. So, the identification should be done regarding what level of chatbot is needed to support the conversational flow.
3. Establish success metrics.
Based on the bot's purpose, it is very important to define measurable results. For a B2B website implementation, measurable goals might be:
- Streamlining inquiries and improving response time by X.
- Reducing customer service calls by Y.
- Increasing traffic to and leads from Z page.
- Improving user efficiency time by X to find a certain product.
When evaluating performance, look at analytics along with analysis of conversation flows and barriers. During chat sessions, feedback can be gathered from users about the accuracy of responses.
4. Craft a chatbot personality that is appropriate for the brand.
Poncho the weather robot, a fun, quirky weather forecast delivered by a cat in a raincoat, is not the right approach for a B2B industry thought-leader. The chatbot should have a voice and personality that is appropriate for the brand, service and user base. An avatar isn't required- but creating one can actually help in conveying personality and make script-writing more consistent.
5. Integrate the chatbot into the user experience - don't interrupt it.
It is very vital to plan when it is appropriate for the chatbot to offer assistance and how. So, we mustn't aggressively confront users the moment he/she lands on a home page. Engagements should be tailored to the user's actions. The chatbot's greeting and conversation flow will be different for a user returning to complete a transaction and a first-time visitor. It is advised to write scripts for different scenarios to outline when the chatbot can be an asset to a user's experience and not an interruption.