Chatbots are programs designed to simulate human-to-human conversations. These programs are designed to help businesses automate communications with customers and can be found in places like Facebook Messenger, websites, various messaging apps and even text messages.
Chatbots can help a B2B do everything from book product demos, provide customer service and discover new leads. Using technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI), chatbots can communicate with clients and work to ensure complete satisfaction.
One of the most significant advantages to chatbots is they allow B2Bs to work more efficiently by streamlining specific processes and saving them money along the way. According to Business Insider, 80% of enterprises will want personalized chatbots by the end of 2020 and produce savings of $38 billion in the process.
Types of Chatbots
These are the most basic types of chatbots seen today. The user is presented with a range of questions to choose from. Then based on their choice, the chatbot will either provide a scripted answer or show more items to dig deeper into the users’ request. These chatbots closely resemble automated phone menus.
While these types of chatbots are great at answering basic support queries, they fall short of being able to deal with advanced scenarios with many variables. This type of chatbot is also the slowest in terms of getting the user to their desired answer.
Keyword Recognition-Based Chatbots
Unlike the basic menu-based chatbots, this type analyzes what a user types looking for specific keywords. Then based on the keywords found, it provides an answer or asks more questions. This type of chatbot uses a combination of keyword recognition and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to determine how to give an appropriate response.
In practice, it is becoming more common to see a hybrid of keyword recognition-based and menu/button-based chatbots. This type of chatbot provides users with the choice of asking their question directly or using the bot’s menu buttons if the keyword recognition is yielding poor results or the user requires some guidance to find their answer.
Contextual chatbots are the most advanced chatbots available today. These chatbots use Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to remember conversations with users to learn and grow over time. These types of chatbots are smart enough to self-improve based on what users are asking for and how they are asking it.
The goal with these chatbots is to try and determine what the user intends. These types of chatbots will remember the previous things a user has already asked or performed and based on that, it presents a more thoughtful answer.
5 Reasons B2B Need to Use Chatbots
1. Available 24/7
Your customers need help at all hours of the day. Yet, for many B2Bs, having customer support representatives available 24/7 is cost-prohibitive. So, it would be best if you had a way for customers to find answers to vital questions even after business hours.
Chatbots offer customers the opportunity to find answers to their questions at any time of the day. This way, your customers are not waiting for an email message or call back. Instead, they can get real-time support. In the case where a human representative is needed, the chatbot can gather the appropriate information and speed up the response time by forwarding it to the correct person.
2. Handle Repetitive Tasks
By automating conversations and tasks that would otherwise require employees to answer, you can save time and money that can then be used to support other efforts. Setting up a chatbot to answer repetitive questions or perform a repetitive task is why chatbots were invented in the first place. This frees up your team to handle more complex queries and focus on generating sales.
- Password resets
- Scheduling demos
- Answering product questions
- Answering frequently asked questions
- Collecting necessary information before transferring to a live agent
3. Replace Forms
Getting a customer to hand over their information is a constant struggle for B2B marketers. Most website visitors find forms annoying and way too long. As a result, most users will quit before finishing the form. In fact, 81% of B2B buyers have left a page because they didn’t want to fill out a form.
Chatbots can minimize bounce rates and create interest using the art of conversation. A chatbot can easily blend user input fields with relevant questions based on intelligent, natural conversations. A user no longer has to deal with text boxes and drop-down menus. Instead, they are guided through the process. This, in turn, will lead to higher completion rates and can generate better leads. Businesses can see up to a 33% increase in leads on their website by adding chatbots, as compared to other traditional web contact forms.
4. Generate and Qualify Leads
A massive problem in the B2B sales pipeline is the time spent having to generate and qualify leads. Chatbots can actively encourage visitors to engage with your site. By setting up your chatbot to ask a series of qualifying questions, you can qualify leads before ever sending them over to your sales team. This way, they are only dealing with prospects who are interested in your products and ready to continue down the sales funnel.
5. Cross-channel Capabilities
Contact forms are located on specific web pages. Traditionally, marketing would need to drive customers to that particular page to fill out the form. In the process, you could lose many potential clients.
With chatbots, B2Bs can go wherever the customers are in order to acquire the necessary information. Chatbots can be integrated with social networking sites, messenger apps, emails and text messages. B2Bs no longer need to deal with the problem of driving users to their website to complete forms. They can collect the information and provide answers right on the spot.
Chatbots are poised to change the B2B marketing game. This technology can be used for a multitude of purposes, from inbound marketing to customer service. Further, B2Bs can save millions on customer support and generate millions thanks to inbound lead generation.