Chatbots for better customer interaction

The point of a website is to provide information and interact with visitors. Traditionally, we as designers and marketers, have relied on buttons, banners, and offers to get site visitors to interact with the site. In the past, these have been acceptable forms of CTAs (Calls to action), but today's consumers want more immediacy. Simply put, we want answers, and we want them NOW! We don't want to wait for an email of form submission to be answered. But we can't make a phone call (even if we wanted to) at 1am either.

The problem is, as business owners, especially of small businesses, we can't afford to have a 24/7 phone center to talk with insomniacs or different time zone visitors.

The answer is a chatbot. They are cheap, they never sleep, and they never demand a pay rise. However, they also have some limitations too.

Chatbots (like rust) never sleep

A chatbot sits silently on your website waiting for a visitor to interact with it. Chat is a critical part of modern websites and one that has, till recently, been the purview of bigger sites. However, with the advent of chatbots, chat is now on the radar of any website. Now you, too, can have interactive chat on your site without the cost of a 24/7 phone center.

A well-designed chatbot means happy visitors

Of course, there's a "but". A chatbot isn't, and will never be, a human, that can fully think for itself. At least, not for many years to come. Ever received one of those robocalls, that starts off like a real-sounding call, only to figure out it IS a robocall? Annoying isn't it? We really dislike them, in a large part because you feel duped.

But wait....

Chatbots are getting smarter every year. Now visitors have the ability to "opt out" of the robo-chat! Yes, with the click of a button, the visitor can transfer themselves to a waiting real human! So for people like me who don't like those pesky (but useful) bots, we can demand a real human with the click of a button! Of course, that means that someone from your staff needs to be at a computer with your own personal chat portal open (that's all part of what you get with this service), so those 1am chatters will still get a "No one is available at this time" message, but, during business hours, they can immediately start talking to you!

How to design a "friendly" chatbot

At CitrusKiwi, we recommend being very upfront about what the visitor is interacting with. Don't try and fake them into thinking they're talking with a real human. It will only annoy them when, inevitably, they realize that they're interacting with a bot. So, we tell all our customers, "Be honest!". You'll see on our bot, that we immediately alert visitors that they're talking with a chatbot, not a real human. "Hi! I'm CitrusKiwi's Virtual Assistant." our bot starts off, immediately telling them "I'm not human". Then their expectations are set.

Another thing to consider is how a visitor will interact with your website (not just the bot). This is an area that requires monitoring and adjustment as the days go by. Ongoing interactions need to be tracked so that questions and answers can be adjusted to fit what we see lacking (or working) in our design. We need to be thinking as a consumer, not a designer. This lack of thought is all too often seen in badly designed software. Ever thought, "Why the heck did they do that?" That's what happens when designers design as designers rather than consumers.

Chatbot stats at your fingertips

With your personal chatbot portal, you'll see real-time stats on how your bot is performing. You'll see the number of interactions, what they did, what they clicked, and outcomes (such as filling in a form, transferring to a human CSR, and going to a page for info).

Get a chatbot working for you now!

With this new technology, a chat system is within the grasp of every business owner. For a small monthly subscription, CitrusKiwi can build and maintain your chatbot. Starting at $39 per month, you can use the power of today's technology to give your site visitors an enhanced user experience, and gently guide them towards their desired destination.

Or let them transfer themselves to one of your helpful staff!