Can Chatbots Enhance Your Online User Experience and Brand Integrity?

Written By Jim Kersey
Posted On September 3, 2019

Whether you are a media publishing brand or e-commerce giant, your website needs to make sorting and finding information as easy as possible; otherwise, you risk losing customers to frustration and ultimately, competitors.

To convert your web traffic, creating a frictionless online customer experience is more important than ever. When your customer experience satisfies user intent, you’ll help your organisation towards reaching its goals. A chatbot can make these outcomes easily attainable.

How important is the role a chatbot plays in enhancing your user experience and boosting your brand integrity? The answer is absolutely instrumental. A surprising 80 per cent of brands, said they plan to implement a chatbot by 2020, when surveyed by Oracle

The need for customer-focused online experiences

For those that haven’t encountered a chatbot before, chatbots are software programmes designed to respond to questions. Created with the intention to simulate human intelligence, chatbots attempt to provide information and solve problems for users through conversation. 

Chatbots vary in the complexity of queries they can handle. AI chatbots can deal with more complex commands, and fetch information less smart chatbots wouldn’t ‘think’ of. However, chatbots haven’t yet become sophisticated enough to pass the Turing test – an experiment developed in the 1950s to determine a machine’s ability to successfully imitate human intelligence.  

Chatbots can support your brand’s customer experience, which is quickly becoming the most critical component of a successful online brand. Your website acts as a customer’s first impression of your brand. And greater focus is now placed on positive user experiences more than ever. Can your brand afford to be left behind?

Customer-focused experiences:

  • Create a seamless journey for your customers
  • Convert and retain leads
  • Delight users with short attention spans

For guidance implementing a chatbot into your WordPress website, get in touch with Powered By Coffee.

Helpful website experiences and the customer journey

A successful website anticipates the user’s needs before they are communicated. A helpful customer journey nudges the customer in the right direction, towards their goal and secondly, towards the website’s goal; it does this by providing the right information at the right time.

Before we go any further, let’s formally define what the customer experience and the user journey are, and why they’re imperative to success and growth.

Online user experience:

Aims to represent users’ needs through an intimate understanding of their desires, goals, digital literacy and limitations.  

Customer journey:

Every experience your users have with your brand throughout each stage of the marketing funnel, sometimes from brand discovery to the point of purchase.

Brands can create helpful website experiences and optimised customer journeys with customer journey mapping. During this process, you can address any drawbacks to your website navigation or content gaps. Usually, these issues can be solved by a chatbot integration. 

Hurdles that drive away customers and leads include tedious data capture forms, slow page speed, laborious order and payment processes and unclear, or inaccessible information.

Improving your customer journey means your customers are achieving their goals at the same time as your organisation meeting its objectives.

A chatbot can reduce the steps to success, whether success is a purchase, interactions with ads or downloading free content.

Successful chatbot integrations

To ensure your chatbot integration reaches its full potential, you need to understand how chatbots can help your publishing brand, media agency or e-commerce store. It’s worthwhile setting some targets to give you clarity of what you want to achieve. By defining what your chatbot will accomplish, you’ll be able to decide which type of chatbot to integrate into your site.

Do you want your chatbot to hold flowing conversations that pass it off as human? Or you might be hoping to improve your customer experience through well-defined goal-driven interactions. 

The peril of smart AI chatbots is that when they fail to help the users achieve their task, frustration levels rise. Display a chatbot as a limited computer programme and users are more likely to be satisfied.

Drawbacks

  • Frustration when queries are not understood
  • Over 50% of UK web users would rather talk to an agent claim Forbes
  • Up to 73% of people won’t use a chatbot after a bad experience

Don’t be disheartened, these three case studies show how impactful chatbots can be:

Amtrak

Travel booking portal, Amtrak saved over $1 million in customer service costs, increased bookings by 25 per cent and revenue by 30 per cent – all with the help of virtual assistant  ‘Julie’. 

Julie helps customers looking for train tickets and hotels by searching for tickets and placing orders all through her chat function. Amtrak report that Julie has provided an 800 per cent return on investment for the company.

H&M

Global Swedish fashion powerhouse H&M shows that the future of online clothes shopping is moving towards AI chatbot stylists. Through a series of getting to know you questions, the bot can identify the shopper’s gender, fashion preferences and size.

Using the criteria above, the chatbot presents outfit choices to the user. The user can accept the choices or refine their search. The website then allows users to share their favourites on social media with friends, so the social element of shopping with friends in-store isn’t lost.

Baby Centre 

Baby Centre is a pregnancy and parenting community. It has successfully used a chatbot integrated into Facebook Messaging to drive traffic to its website, suggest products and increase user brand engagement.

Baby Centre chose to add the chatbot to Facebook rather than their website, because their data showed that the open rate for Facebook messages was much higher than their email marketing. 

The result? Baby Centre’s Facebook messages had a staggering 1,400 per cent higher engagement rate than their email marketing

Wait don’t implement a chatbot just yet

Before choosing which type of chatbot you will integrate into your website, think deeply about your goals.

Are you:

  • Looking to drive traffic to your website?
  • Convert existing users and increase sales?
  • Improve brand engagement?

Additional benefits of chatbot integration

Chatbots have more uses than simply information searching and automated customer orders. They can also be used to upsell products. Amtrak’s Julie adds upselling prompts to information requests, for example. When tasked with finding train tickets, Julie will suggest a nearby hotel in the area as an optional extra. This shows chatbots aren’t all about customer perception; they can directly impact a company’s bottom line.

With upselling and the fact that chatbots encourage higher-order rates, companies who use chatbots tend to increase their average order value (AOV). As a result of increased AOV, sales revenue can be boosted too. Moreover, it’s generally accepted that automated emails work wonders for abandoned shopping baskets. Chatbots can work the same magic, whether on a website level or via a messaging service like WhatsApp or Facebook, which we’ve discovered tends to have higher open rates than emails.

Chatbots are great resource savers, meaning at the very least, your organisation may be able to reduce the working hours of your customer service personnel. Chatbots can answer common user queries, which free up your staff to help the customers most likely to convert.

Chatbots guide and convert today’s users who have an attention span of only 8 seconds, down a shocking 4 per cent from 12 per cent in 2000. This dramatic shift has been driven by the rise of smartphones, with the average adult now having an attention span lower than a goldfish, reports Microsoft.

This reduced attention span shows how crucial streamlined customer journeys and helpful websites are in today’s digital landscape. In short, chatbots engage impatient users, reinforcing brand integrity.

The chatbot revolution is here and now

The rise of the chatbots is now; they’re here to revolutionise online customer experiences and the user journey, resulting in rock solid brand integrity. 

With 80 per cent of brands looking to join the rush by next year, it should be high on your marketing and customer service teams’ radar. Chatbots can help to convert the current generation of users – with lowest attention span in recorded history. 

Want to know more about implementing a chatbot on your WordPress website? Talk to the helpful humans at Powered By Coffee.

Jim Kersey
Content Creator
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