Chatbots 101: What You Need to Know to Get Started

Artificial intelligence is emerging as a powerful force in a number of industries, but one in which it’s achieving major results is marketing. Companies are finding ways for AI to automate the most tedious or time-consuming processes in their sales and marketing departments, saving them valuable time and money. But AI isn’t limited to big companies anymore; even small businesses can put artificial intelligence to work for them. 

One simple and intuitive way to incorporate AI is to use chatbots for the early stages of your sales process. If you’d like to know how, read on to learn the basics of incorporating chatbots into your small business.

1. What Can Chatbots Do?


Chatbots are artificial intelligence programs designed to have specific types of conversations and accomplish specific goals. Some chatbots make it clear, when conversing with live people, that they are programs, and not other people, in order to avoid confusion. 

Other more sophisticated bots are able to carry on convincing dialogues and may succeed in completely fooling the person they’re interacting with. In either case, a chatbot can pull off a convincing sales pitch, answer frequently asked questions, and refer interested customers to a live salesperson if they’re close to converting (although many are also perfectly capable of making the sale themselves).

2. What Can’t Chatbots Do?


Chatbots aren’t capable of original thought. They’re great at answering frequently asked questions only because these questions are easy to anticipate and you can load the answers into the software in advance. Some might be capable of machine learning so that their ability to process and respond to inquiries will grow over time as they accumulate and process more data about the type of people they’re conversing with, but this isn’t a feature of the cheapest versions. Chatbots aren’t the best at perceiving sarcasm or irony. 

You shouldn’t allow a chatbot to post to your social media feed, although you can utilize other forms of automation to post things at specific times.

3. What Platforms Can I Implement Chatbots On?


You can incorporate chatbots into your website to do everything from arranging meetings with your human sales representatives, to directing users to products that are best suited to their needs, to pushing them toward the checkout page with offers of discounts and bonus items. 

You can also use chatbots with social media platforms, including Facebook Messenger – and many of these bots are actually cheaper to use since they build on the existing framework of Messenger’s chat system, rather than having to implement a chat interface where there wasn’t one before. Twitter chatbots have proven useful as well.

4. Where Can I Find Chatbots For My Business?


If you’re intrigued by the idea of deploying chatbots to help your sales team, or accomplish any number of other time-consuming tasks, you have a lot of choices to sift through. 

Here are some of the best Chatbot options:

Chyme offers a fantastic customer service bot that can manage all of the most common tasks that you’d normally need a human being to do, like giving status updates on orders or addressing issues with deliveries. Chyme also offers a number of other chatbots, including an IT help desk assistant and a Sales bot. If you’re working within Facebook Messenger, the uber-powerful tech company has already got bots ready to do your bidding; check out this Payments bot for an example. Of course, these aren’t the only bots on the market, but they’ll handle the needs of most small businesses more than adequately.

You, too, can have a robot army at your command! Look into using chatbots for your sales and marketing busywork and you and your staff will have more time to focus on the things that matter.

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