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Analysis

It’s About Time to Build Yourself A Chatbot

A chatbot can do wonders for a company's retention strategy - only if done right, though. Here are 3 important guidelines to keep in mind

Victor Ijidola
March 16 2018

Retention marketing via chat apps can win the day or lose the whole match. Many users barely move beyond the first or second conversation before they give up talking to a bot. But that doesn’t have to be the case. While it is true that many brands have low retention rates on chat apps, there are several businesses have turned the technology into a winning strategy. GameStop’s AskGameStop saw almost 100% engagement rate from customers compared to under 1% engagement for identical notifications delivered over SMS. How do you optimally implement chat apps for retention marketing?

#1 Make your chatbot resemble human behavior

When using your chat app, many customers already know they are chatting with a bot when it types a 50-word response in one second. But you can still make it feel a little more like a bonafide human-customer experience for them; nobody prefers talking to a bot over an actual human — 57% of survey respondents want to speak with an individual who cares about them and both answers their questions as well as offers insights. So, while customers know it’s a bot, they still want your chat app to provide the care that a normal human would — or at least provide relevant answers to their questions. So be sure to program your bots to react to a question or problem like you best customer service rep would, politely, efficiently, and with empathy.

#2 Don’t leave the human job for the bot

When a customer asks a question your bot can’t handle—such as “do you offer quarterly price packages?”—program it to bring in a real human they can speak to. Aspect’s chatbot continues responding to questions until customers inquire about something that needs a real human touch. Here’s what this looks like in action:

Bots shouldn’t completely replace human employees, and by having a human representative, Aspect prevented a situation where they may have lost a customer due to their frustration. Alternatively, you when consumers ask a question your chatbot isn’t designed to answer, the bot could reply with something along the lines of “Sorry, I’m not able to answer that question. Here are the questions I can answer…”

DIY site Hometalk, for example, has over 500k subscribers and 84% retention rate via their Facebook Messenger chatbot. When users ask the bot a question it can’t handle, it simply says…

With a smart response like this, Hometalk was able to add 500k new subscribers (people entering “subscribe” in the bot) and reached a 84% retention rate — just with the chat app. Remember, people already know it’s a chatbot; Have your bot be transparent when it runs into questions it can’t answer.

#3 Optimize what’s performing best on your chat app

Find out what the most requested activity is on your app. If 50% of your customers come to your app to take one particular action — let’s say, subscribing for your updates — optimize your chat app around that. Make the subscription request the center of your chatbot. Popular weather bot Poncho, for instance, earned a 300% increase in retention when they optimized their chatbot to proactively alert users about unforeseen weather events — like storm or rain. Run tests and analyze your chatbot’s activities to find out what most users find useful, then make it front and center of your chat app. This way, you will be putting the very feature your users find useful at their fingertips.

In the end, real human-like care is what’s important

Users want someone (or something) that will solve their problems. What they’re not looking for is a scenario where they ask a bot to provide the link to your latest updates, and receive links to your pricing page in response. If your bot can provide the customer care service they are looking for, your chat apps will only help your business and increase your retention rate.

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Victor Ijidola

Victor Ijidola is a conversion-driven content marketer and copywriter. Contact him at Premium Content Shop.

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