If you’re wondering if your firm should create a chatbot, you’re asking the wrong question. Rather, you should be asking, “When we create a chatbot, what do we want users to gain from using it?”
Maybe you’re even wondering how a chatbot can save your firm money, time, effort, or energy? No matter what your reason, consider these stats:
- 41% of people starting online chat conversations with businesses are C-level executives. (Drift)
- Chatbots can help businesses save on customer service costs by answering up to 80% of routine questions. (IBM)
- 67% of U.S. millennial internet users would purchase a product/service from brands using a chatbot. (eMarketer)
What can you use a chatbot for at your firm? Here are seven suggestions.
- Answer commonly-asked questions and to generate leads.
- Increase opportunity to gain market share.
- Save staff time, effort, and energy on simple tasks.
- Increase efficiency with a mobile site.
- Selling or promoting services.
- Marketing content through online channels.
- Quick access to the right products and services versus using a site search.
How can it be used in combination with marketing?
When visitors come to your site, finding the solution to the problem they have may not seem intuitive, especially if the firm offers a lot of services. A chatbot can help to reduce confusion and to direct the visitor exactly where he/she needs to go.
Research for future content, services, and offerings can be identified by a bot. Let’s say the people who use your chatbot click on a few questions a lot more than others. That data helps to inform your content-development cycle.
Lead generation is also a good use of bots. Bots can be programmed with lead-qualifying questions to determine where the customer is in the buying funnel. If that lead meets your criteria, you know if you should contact them, rather than spending time on all leads only to narrow the list down to a few, good candidates.
Data collected from a bot can be used to personalize content for the user. A personalized bot could work in conjunction with your email system or website blog to display content that person has shown a prior interest.
Cross selling is also a popular chatbot function. But how would a firm use it? An example would be, if a visitor asked questions about inheritance tax. The bot could be programmed to provide a link to your financial planning services or to lead-generation content they could download.
Defining your target market is sometimes difficult. Bots track demographic and psychographic data, which can in-turn be used in other marketing campaigns, such as social media and online advertising. It also informs other interests your frequent users have, which you could tie into your organic content and social media efforts.
For example, the bot identifies an overwhelming number of people are interested in baseball. You could so a series on some of the accounting and tax challenges professional baseball players have, including multi-state taxes, estate planning, bonuses, fines, and more.
Creating a chatbot can take months to develop. Begin the process by defining why you want one in the first place.
Once you know that, begin researching tools to help you reach your goals. To help, Ometrics researched dozens of tools in its “2020 Chatbot Platform Comparison Reviews.” The article compares chatbot tools by type, platform, and fees, and then provides additional information about each.
If implementing a chatbot sounds like something you want do, avoid the trap of doing it just to be on trend. Rather, define the business reason for doing it, align it with your business goals, identify its champion, and implement it with intent. Otherwise, it will just be a waste of time, effort, and money.
Becky Livingston has more than 25 years’ experience in marketing and technology in financial services and engineering firms. She is the President and CEO of Penheel Marketing, a boutique marketing firm specializing in social media and digital marketing for CPAs. In addition to being a marketing practitioner, Becky is also an adjunct professor, author, and speaker.
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