Chatbots: From nice to have to must have

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Everyone is talking about bots. Many companies are building their own, but too often, go about it in the wrong way, focusing on the WOW effect rather than addressing the real challenges chatbots can solve.

Why are more companies turning to chatbots?

Most people are tired of apps. 71% of users delete an app within 90 days. Thus, brands are now trying to target their customers on channels they’re already using: messaging apps.

At the outset, it seems like building a bot is easy. There are many cheap or even free platforms out there to help companies build bots. However, these platforms are of no help when it comes to bot improvement and ongoing maintenance.

We’ve witnessed many examples of “pop up” bots, developed for marketing and communication purposes. For example:

  • Gemo, a shoe and clothing brand, developed a game contest bot (music blind test, drive-to-store) on Messenger last year. The aim was to get people to their stores. In the end, a hundred people were geo-localised.
  • Asos, a clothing brand, developed a “Gift Assistant” in 2017 to help its customers easily find the right gift for someone.
  • Sephora released a chatbot last year for the Winter Holiday season: Beauty Bot by Sephora. The goal was the same as Asos — help their customers find the perfect gift without losing time. 
Asos Enki Messenger Bot

These bots were all nice to haves, but didn't address any real business challenge. Asos and Sephora have gone on to develop more powerful bots. You can now make appointments at Sephora via their Messenger bot and find clothing items at Asos similar to photos sent to its Messenger bot. After a first subpar experience, these companies learned how to create a bot that can tackle real customer pain points.

If you want your bot to be an asset to your day to day business and drive real ROI, you must ask yourself five questions:

  • What use cases do we want our bot to handle?
  • On which channel(s) do we want our bot?
  • Will there be enough users to be relevant?
  • What is the added value?
  • What criteria and KPIs should we use to measure success?

Chatbots outperform

Chats can manage a wide range of use cases, are scalable, and are one of the best ways to reach new and existing customers.

Chats are able to:

  • Answer your customers 24/7 — providing around the clock support costs a lot. Your customer will be frustrated if you can’t answer their requests in their time of need, and your conversion and retention rates will drop. A bot is always live and can answer the most common queries about the products and services you sell. 
  • Increase your revenues — giving the right information at the right time helps you increase your conversion rate. At Mindsay our motto is “Helping is the new selling”. For example, Lyon airport has seen its conversion rate for parking reservations increase by 5 points thanks to their chatbot.
Lyon airport Bot by Mindsay

  • Decrease customer service costs — Customers expect answers 24/7. No one likes being placed on hold. No one likes being transferred. No one likes speaking to a robot who can’t understand their accent. Staffing customer support representatives to assist people 24/7 is very expensive. AI chatbots can help track deliveries, answer return policy questions, book appointments, and answer simple FAQs. The best part? It’s all done organically in a conversational way.
  • Target younger customers — According to Gartner, given a choice, 26% of respondents prefer to communicate with a business via a chatbot than actually talking to a human. For millennials, this figure reaches 37%.
  • Better engage customers — Chatbots gather information to help you better understand and re-engage with your customers. Thanks to a push notification on Facebook Messenger, a bot can personally reach out to customers at the right time, reminding them they still have items in their cart or to send flowers on Mother's Day.

Bots are fundamental for any business that wants to optimize its customer care costs and increase its revenues through new channels.

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