E-commerce chatbot 101: types, applications, and pricing
Ever since social media has become an inseparable element in today’s marketing, there’s a lot of hype floating around regarding chatbots. In 2016, Facebook decided to open up its Messenger platform, providing developers with API tools to build chatbots and Live Chat web plug-ins for business clients. There are over 10 thousand applications worldwide, via integrating various apps. Users can now share locations, pictures, music (Spotify), and files (Dropbox).
Entering in an era of conversational business, chatbots’ “quick reply” feature is definitely a great help. Chatbots are frequently used to facilitate customer service experience, including but not limited to selling, promotion, and customer engagement. As predicted by Gartner, there will be more than 50% of enterprises that are eager to invest more per annum in chatbot creation than traditional mobile app development in 2021.
Are you considering having chatbots in your marketing and customer support? Let’s further our knowledge a little more before we dive into “why we need chatbots”.
Chatbots are a programmed interface that is capable of mimicking human behavior and interacting with visitors in a conversational manner. With public APIs, businesses can create chatbots on multiple social platforms. By analyzing specific words or phrases contained in an incoming message, chatbots can offer a predefined response promptly.
There are 3 types of Chatbots:
1. Scripted – Requires users to make several selections so as to guide them through any specific processes
2. Keyword-Based – Is able to break down an incoming message to identify the user intent, and match it with relevant information
3. Assistant – Responds to basic questions and refers the conversation to a live human when necessary
The chatbots usually work by adopting 2 kinds of technological processes. One of them is called Natural Language Processing (NLP). It is a branch of AI that helps computers to read and understand natural human language. After translating the content into information with a combination of patterns and text that can be mapped with its database, it can then generate the most accurate responses.
The second type, which is also known as a more advanced type, is a hybrid of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. A very typical example is the built-in personal assistant, Siri, which is available in every Apple device. Siri is capable of understanding and integrating different languages, not to mention providing personalized suggestions by utilizing information stored in your device.
24/7 round the clock
People love shopping online because they will never get limited by opening hours. Customers also expect better service from you, anytime, anywhere, boundlessly. The better you perform in this area, the more sales you can generate, and the more you can outperform your competitors. Using a chatbot will help you to take care of your customer 24/7 without having any employee getting a night shift.
Fast and Reliable Reply
Quick question: How to not make typos in your messages?
The answer is DON’T TYPE! No matter how careful your team has been, chances are we can still see mistakes lying around your messages. AI technology used in chatbots will help you detect incoming messages and immediately send out suitable pre-set message templates to your customer. You no longer need to waste time drafting reply messages time by time and are afraid of having typos that damage your brand image afterward.
Human resources are the most expensive and valuable asset of a company. With a chatbot, many straightforward questions such as pricing, store locations can be replied to automatically. Your customer support manager can hence do more other high-level tasks. The cost saved can also be used in other areas for your e-commerce site. For example, website revamping, purchasing more goods to widen your product scope, or even launching a new marketing campaign. In short, your company can better utilize every single bit of finance resources.
In the end, a chatbot assists you to increase conversion rate, customer satisfaction, and hence, sales and revenue for your company. And yes, many people have already started to implement one. That includes your competitor.
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Chatbots are fast becoming one of the most popular sales and marketing tools on various instant messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and LINE. While humans can’t work 24/7, chatbots can interact with customers around the clock and deliver timely responses. Businesses can even further extend their chatbots by reaching out to external APIs, which allows visitors to get additional messages such as news, weather forecast, and stock quotes in the response.
Many are using chatbots to bridge the communication gap, and retail businesses are the biggest fans. According to Statista, 34% of retail customers are more comfortable speaking with customer service through AI chatbots than a live customer support representative. However, only 10% of respondents voted “yes” to government institutions employing chatbots.
Being the first airline to launch a Facebook Messenger chatbot, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is described as an ‘inspiration’ by other airlines. After integrating the chatbot APIs, KLM could offer customers flight status updates and information about their boarding passes, travel details, and booking confirmations, together with restaurants and hotels recommendations.
So far, this Facebook Messenger Chatbot supports up to 13 different languages: Dutch, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Norwegian, French, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Korean.
Chatbots don’t demand users to install additional apps, and most importantly, they are relatively simple and inexpensive to build. Here is a list of free platforms with chatbots: Chatfuel, Pandorabots, Botkit, Flow XO, Facebook Messenger, and Microsoft Bot Framework.
Meanwhile, some platforms do charge according to the volume of usage. They include Chattypeople (Free for up to 100 customers), Smooch (Free up to 500 conversations per month), Botsify (Free for one chatbot), and Motion.ai (Free for two bots).
Normally speaking, the former can send and receive messages, use plugins and integrations, set appearance and menu, get user information, and more, whereas the latter also helps to build reports and dashboards to gain user engagement insights.
SleekFlow is a leading provider of omnichannel customer communication platform which specializes in instant messaging automation. With its automation features, businesses are now able to guide customers through the buying process without the need for human staff.
Interested in knowing how such an AI-oriented customer service can provide a smooth experience to customers and save you from countless hours of pointless hassle? Just imagine if you encounter one of the following scenarios:
Scenario 1: The same question has been asked multiple times
When a customer interacts with a chatbot to ask for an FAQ, SleekFlow’s chatbot will immediately scan the keywords and map them with the ideal solution under the respective touch-points. Even if a simple answer is not enough, SleekFlow can share a link in addition to the answer, redirecting the customers to a full page of a how-to guide.
Scenario 2: Customers want to talk to a real person
Very often, when customers are not satisfied with the options provided by an automated attendant, they prefer speaking directly to human beings. To streamline the process, Sleekflow will help you segment customers according to their interests and needs in advance. For instance, if the conversation is sales-related, Sleekflow will assign the chat to the Sales Team; if the customer wants to make a complaint, a representative from the Customer Support Team will take over the conversation.
Scenario 3: Waste too much time dealing with non-buyers
While getting new messages from new customers is exciting, some of them might be window shoppers who have no intention to purchase. Luckily, with SleekFlow, you can finally avoid wasting too many resources on people who are not in a position to invest in your product or service. SleekFlow’s Chatbot will ask several questions to discern whether the customer is a good fit, in other words, to qualify a lead. Once the customer meets the requirements, the system will then assign the chat to the relevant team for follow-up actions.