Imagine you walked into a mall or a store, intending to buy a pair of shoes. You’d walk in, find the style of shoe you liked, and probably want to try on a pair – maybe ask some questions about how the shoes usually wear or get some advice on lacing them. At this point, you’d probably look around for a store clerk to assist you. Now, imagine there wasn’t one. You’re looking everywhere, up, down, left and right – but there’s nobody in sight! You’re probably gonna put down that pair of shoes and go find another shoe store, right? Or at least come back another time if you don’t find a similar pair somewhere else?
Well, what if we told you that’s what’s happening in your WooCommerce store? That you could be doing all the right things with your product, your marketing, and your pricing – but still losing out on sales at the very last moment because your online “storefront” doesn’t offer immediate available assistance. “But,” you say “the whole point of eCommerce is that my store is always open – I can’t spend all my time answering questions from potential clients? I need to run my business!”
And you would be correct – handling all immediate inquiries one on one might not be realistic. So what do you do? Well, you get a Chatbot that can automate your processes and improve your customer’s experience.
What is a Chatbot?
Contrary to how it sounds, it’s not an actual robot that sits behind a computer interacting with your customers. More often than not, a chatbot appears on your eCommerce site as a little chat window in the corner of the screen, almost like a pop-up advertisement. Website visitors can enter this chat window when they have questions in order to have a conversation with your Chatbot. The flow of information between a customer and a Chatbot is a much more individualized and immersive experience than just clicking on an FAQ tab, and it allows visitors to get only the information they’re looking for without having to dig through tons of information.
Speaking with a well-integrated chatbot can be as great (or better!) than talking to a real person. This success lies in how well the chatbot works – and how well it’s been set up! A chatbot works by analyzing consumer input and looking for certain keywords or frequently asked questions. Once a keyword or phrase is identified, the chatbot replies to the customer with the pre-programmed response you’ve set it to say, sharing with them the info they’re looking for conversationally. This means, if you put enough effort into your Chatbot, it can even develop a fun turn of phrase or personality that aligns with your brand!
A popular use of a chatbot is as an identifier or pre-qualifier used to either deliver basic information requested more efficiently than a human can, but also providing the option to route the conversation to a human representative if the conversation or requested information hits a level the chatbot isn’t able to provide!
Cx Today outlines the 3 most common types of chatbots around 2021:
Rule-based chatbots: The most straightforward option, these bots simply provide a predefined answer to very specific questions. This would be your entry-level chatbot programming, ideal for offering an interactive FAQ experience or gathering info from potential leads. This usually involves the basic setup needed by you to set a list of keywords, and the desired response the bot should give if it hears a keyword.
Intelligent chatbots: These are more complex bots that use machine learning to understand consumer replies and trigger responses in real-time conversation. For example, they may analyze your site, FAQs page, or past customer interactions you’ve had to understand appropriate responses. The more one uses this type of bot, the more it “learns” what users want, and the more efficient it becomes. These are a step up in complexity to set up but well worth the time investment if your WooCommerce store has a lot of traffic.
AI-powered chatbots: The most complex variety of chatbots, AI bots combine the bonuses of rule-based bots with the power of machine learning to develop intelligence. These bots use a “combination of natural language processing, machine learning, and AI to understand customers”. With an AI chatbot, it can be pretty hard to tell that you’re not speaking to a real person, and these bots can remember user preferences, conversational context and can even use slang and idioms! Robot uprising much?! These sophisticated AI chatbots are a technical marvel but may be overkill for small to medium businesses, so don’t worry about diving right into the deep end here.
What could go wrong?
As with all new developments in technology, there’s bound to be some hesitation with handing customer interactions over to computer software. We understand that! The Golden Rule in retail is providing enthusiastic customer service, to encourage sales but also brand loyalty and repeat purchases. When you allow the voice of your brand to become automated, you need to understand some of the setbacks you may face.
First and foremost, security and privacy concerns will need to be addressed. The more information about the user a chatbot has access to, the more accurate and engaging the chatbot can make the personalized answers it sends to the user. A business will need to ensure that the data their chatbot captures will be transmitted and secured with utmost care. Voice and sentiment are also incredibly important concerns that you may need to address when setting up a Chatbot. Visitors want to speak to a bot that can express complex sentiments like humor and empathy but don’t want to feel like they’re being tricked or manipulated.
I want to integrate a Chatbot into my eCommerce store! Now how do I do that?
Once you’ve decided you would like to use a chatbot, you’ll need to decide which type and provider to use. There are many chatbot plugins available for WooCommerce, but we suggest taking a step back to think about the features, processes, and experience you would like to provide your customers and your employees with.
Will follow-ups be needed after a chat conversation?
Will your team need to have to ability to contact the visitor in the future?
Would you like to send email addresses provided to your email marketing platform?
Should the chatbot be able to follow up and ask if the visitor found a solution?
What needs to happen after the chat takes place?
Answering these questions will help you make a list of the features you need. While you think of what your business needs, feel free to read more about our journey and the tools we use.
The chatbot tools we use at MyWorks
While providing a personal service is at the core of how we work at MyWorks, we also believe that efficiency and automation are essential (hence why we built our QuickBooks Sync for WooCommerce). In the search for the best tools for our company, we’ve tried a few different tools and we are happy to share our experience with you. Part of our chatbot journey at MyWorks led us to realize that we needed a chatbot that could integrate with a CRM in order to facilitate follow-ups, future conversations, and customer journey tracking.
One of the chatbot providers we have used is GoSquared. Their “Assistant” added a chat widget to our website that allowed us to customize automated responses as well as route conversations to our sales team. While we loved the level of customization this chat widget offered, their CRM features began to fall short as we grew and our needs grew. At that time, GoSquared couldn’t do everything we needed it to do.
Our team now uses the HubSpot chatbot, which offers us the ability to capture leads and customize our chatbot workflows. More importantly, it has CRM features that allow the user to automate tasks, follow-ups, and sequences – all from within the chat.
We also use an intelligent bot that assists with support questions. This chatbot offers instant support during the 15-20 minutes that it usually takes our team to reply to a support ticket. This intelligent bot gets better as it learns more about what works, and we can say it has become quite the “intelligent” bot! We know it will never fully replace our human support reps, but it can do a good job of providing instant feedback and some initial helpful assistance to our users as they search for answers on our support site!
We suggest you make a list of what you need right now, what you would like to have, and what you expect you will grow to need in the future. Use this list to evaluate different chatbot options for your business.
For more options, read about the 8 of the Best Chatbots for WooCommerce.
Also published on Medium.