When it comes to engaging users through personalized interactions, 80 percent of companies anticipate enhancing their customer relations by employing a virtual assistant (1). However, in order to be effective, a chatbot has to do more than simply wait for someone to ask it a question. With a touch of proactiveness and well-structured scenarios, it should be capable of asking users questions, initiating a dialogue and even awaking dormant prospects, providing them with a personalized experience. Let’s take a closer look.
Chatbots, indispensable support for digital communication
Slowly but surely, chatbots are becoming a communication tool that no website can do without. With the capacity to be employed at each level of the conversion funnel, they can be integrated in various pages and activated as soon as the visitor performs a given action. A good-quality virtual assistant also has several tools at its disposal, enabling it to initiate various forms of communication:
- Push notifications in the form of dialogue boxes
- Display of information during a conversion in progress
- Personalized proposals aimed at generating leads
- And more!
Thus, a chatbot can respond to a growing need: offering users the right information at the right time. Or even contacting them proactively when they least expect it!
A chatbot’s proactiveness, significant value added
Few users will initiate a conversation with your virtual assistant on their own. To be effective and motivate engagement, the chatbot has to be proactive.
Imagine a user browsing your website, searching for specific information. Your chatbot activates a push notification and contacts the user, offering a service that corresponds to the inquiry. If the timing is right, the user will be inclined to respond and have a conversation with the virtual assistant, who will clarify the user’s needs and guide the user toward conversion.
In this way, a proactive chatbot assumes the role of a true salesperson, capable of adapting to the user’s expectations. But this won’t happen with a click of the fingers! To be effective, your conversational robot has to be configured by a Chatbot Manager, based on relevant scenarios that are adapted to the actions performed by the users. As a result, it will be able to initiate a dialogue intelligently, at the best possible moment… and embark upon a relationship that’s truly personalized!
Conversely, a notification sent at the wrong moment or with the wrong message might give the user the impression of being swindled or even harassed by the intrusion.
For best results, here are 3 criteria for a successful conversation with a chatbot!
Artificial intelligence and proactive chatbots: friends or foes?
To adapt to its target audience, a chatbot must be equipped with an essential element: customer insight. It has to understand the user’s expectations and intentions in order to initiate a pertinent dialogue that responds to the user’s needs. This is the basis of the “if this, then that” scenarios that govern chatbots. In other words, if the user types a given phrase, the assistant displays a given response.
In this sense, artificial intelligence can play a crucial role. It’s what enables your bot to detect users’ intentions based on the characteristics of their inquiries and respond to them instantly. In the chatbot’s mind, each intention is therefore associated with specific scenarios, known as “decision trees.”
However, bear in mind that it isn’t a matter of transforming your virtual assistant into an autonomous robot. The tools that employ artificial intelligence aren’t actually “intelligent,” at least not in the usual sense. Primarily, AI serves to furnish your bot with the existing links between conversations and intentions so it can respond effectively to different inquiries. That’s what enables the chatbot to put itself in the seller’s shoes!
The advantages of a proactive chatbot, between acquisition and retention
If it’s generic and impersonal, your bot has little chance of getting users’ attention and initiating a true dialogue. Users expect one-on-one treatment. They want to feel unique and special. And personalized, proactive interactions very often achieve that exact result! Specifically, a proactive chatbot helps:
- Optimize the user experience
- Increase traffic on your website
- Enrich your contact base by collecting additional data
- Boost your conversion rates and, consequently, your sales
- Improve your brand image and your customer loyalty
Your chatbot has to exercise proactiveness in order to initiate the right conversation with the right person, through the right channel and at the right moment. As a simple interaction tool, it works with the aid of predefined scenarios, a task that will inevitably involve your project teams. Tomorrow, in the wake of further advances in artificial intelligence, your virtual assistant will become more autonomous. It will be able to adapt to its users both intellectually and emotionally. Continuously improving the user experience!
(1) Alex le Gal, “Infographie – 10 chiffres à connaître sur le marché des chatbots” (in French), Maddyness, June 14, 2017
Source image: Unsplash / Chriobocea