Chatbots have come a long way from an overhyped industry that was initially thought of as a new world order in commerce to a calmer approach nowadays. Still, a huge number of businesses employ chatbots, and we will discuss in this article how they can be used in an SEO agency for better efficiency.
A chatbot is an application/software which is connected to the chat channel you use, be it on-site chat or your chat channels on social media like Facebook Messenger. Then the chatbot reacts programmatically to the user input.
There is a huge number of different chatbots with different capabilities, and before starting to implement one you need to do some research on what they’re capable of and how that matches with what you plan to do with it.
Chatbots generally work in two ways:
- They react to human language messages entered by users. Think of some rules like “answer “hi” if the user enters “hi” — however, this is a very simplistic example and such rules can be eternally more complex, involving AI/ML trying to decipher the user’s sentiment or intent.
- They offer the user some choice to make and the follow-up with it. Think of a screen showing up in chat saying “hi, what would you like to learn about?” and three buttons like “SEO services”, “Pricing Plans”, “Website Audit”. And when the user clicks on a button of the choice, the chatbot continues with that flow offering more choices or asking clarifying questions.
Such flows can be very complex, nested, and mixed, depending on the logic you want to follow with customers’ queries/actions in a bot.
Another important aspect of chatbots is that they often have an escalation mechanism designed to reach a human agent when the user feels that the bot can’t help him. Or it can be done by the bot itself when it doesn’t “understand” the entered query by the user.
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Hardly anything annoys a customer chat specialist more than having to type “hi”, “thank you for your request”, and other such things tens of times a day to different customers. Chatbots are a great resort for this type of routined responses and they can be set up to respond with different phrases of the same meaning, to avoid a “robotic” feeling.
Offering customer support 24/7 is another great use for chatbots. Not every request can be sorted out via chatbot. But if we think about how many similar requests are handled every day by customer support, it becomes clear that a lot of them can be automated.
Two of the most common customer requests are regarding payment methods and how-to questions. These are easily programmable as rules for certain keywords being present and turned into automated responses.
If you run an SEO agency, you definitely have your own typical, often heard questions from the customers which can probably be also automatically replied to with relevant information, while your customer support staff focuses on more complex support tasks/requests.
You may not have a human operator ready 24/7, but when the user wants to escalate to talk to an operator, the chatbot can reply with timeframes when there are live operators available.
Probably any SEO agency uses a variety of techniques and magnets to nurture potential leads. These can be free website audits, case studies, PDF guides, webinars, free consultations, etc.
Chatbots can be used to help with this. If the customer interacts through a chat channel, the chatbot can clarify the needs, offer to send a link to an appropriate guide, and later invite to a webinar or consultation. Depending on the bot functionality, it may be even deeply integrated with your calendar like Calendly, so you’ll see the appointments are lining up right there.
Many companies from pizza places to e-commerce shops turn to chatbots in helping customers make an order. While your SEO agency has a different flow than ordering a pizza, still a lot can be automated through a chatbot.
The customer wants a new invoice — here it is. The customer wants to upgrade a plan — surely. The customer wants to pay by card — no problem, they can do it right in the chatbot.
There are many chatbots available. The best place to start is to identify what you want your chatbot to do, and in which channels.
If it’s your socials you want to automate a bit, the functionality can differ or be not available at all, as the technical capabilities and what is allowed for chatbots differs on social media. E.g. chatbot simply cannot follow-up on Facebook to users after 24 hours of the user’s last input, while on Twitter it is OK.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a chatbot for your website:
- Supported channels in addition to on-site chat;
- Multilingual interface — if you have customers from different countries;
- Integration — if you want to get the customers and their dialogues into your CRM;
- Automation — what sort of rules/autoreplies and such the chatbot can run.
When you understand the typical scenarios you want to pursue, you may start looking for chatbot solutions. For example, ManyChat is one of the famous chatbots for Facebook (and now — Instagram, as until the 2nd of June, 2021, any chatbot automation in Instagram was not available via API).
It is free by default, but many useful features and templates become available on paid tier. If you’re looking for an on-site embedded chat service with options to run email newsletters, there is a widely known communication platform HelpCrunch.
However, we strongly suggest that you make your own choice after carefully weighing your chatbot needs.
All in all, the whole purpose of employing chatbots is to either increase conversions or increase customer support satisfaction, or both.
You can easily track your conversions via Google Analytics or your internal statistics, and most chatbots offer the option for users to rank their satisfaction with the chatbot experience. If you find it fairly low, probably, you need to rethink the chatbot functionality or scripts.
Also, you should track the average session length and bounce rate after implementing a chatbot. If the bounce rate has become higher with a chatbot, perhaps, it doesn’t work properly, or the popping-up chat annoys users.
Adding a chatbot to a site can negatively impact the user experience, which is extremely important to rank well in search engines, and the recent introduction of Core Web Vitals by Google is just another supporting proof for that. Your site should load extremely fast, not have any troubles with the layout and input delays. This is why after you set up a chatbot on your site, you need to run an audit via one of the professional tools like SE Ranking.
Chatbots are great tools to replace humans in repeating tasks. Be it saying “hi” in response to “hi” or running ever-repeating same conversations regarding your services, chatbots can run mundane communication tasks easily leaving human input needed only to really complex issues.
Try connecting them, and you’ll love how chatbots will make your sales funnel or customer support easier!