She’s polite to the customers, never late, and takes only one coffee break a day. She’s your newest employee, Susie M. Chatbot, the latest and greatest way to provide better customer service to your members for pennies on the dollar.

The word “friction” is used a lot in marketing circles as something to avoid. Friction, if used incorrectly, can become an impediment that keeps the user from completing their journey. It’s a tall task to eliminate all points of friction because all visitors are different, are looking for different things on your website, and have varying degrees of patience. But there are a few obvious ways in which you can improve the average visitor’s experience.

If you don’t know already, there are easy ways to find the top five, top ten things that your members are looking for immediately upon arriving at your website. If you are a restaurant, they want your location, hours of operation, and a menu to peruse. These wish lists only get more complex for an association but that’s where a chatbot can serve you well.

Not only can a chatbot answer the most obvious questions, but also it can be trained to answer more complex ones as well and do it 24/7 because your members want their answers when they want them, not just 9-5 when Howard B. Human is at his desk.

WHAT EXACTLY IS A CHATBOT?

A chatbot is simply a computer program that simulates a conversation, allowing us humans to interact with these digital devices as if we were communicating with a real person.

These programs can be quite simple and designed to answer very basic questions with a straightforward single-word response or sophisticated assistants that can learn from their interactions and deliver ever-increasing levels of personalization.

You’ve probably met a few of these digital assistants already as you’ve moved around the internet. That time you were shopping for cars and a window popped up with a face and a name that asked you if you needed help locating your next vehicle.

If you reply “Yes,” you’ll likely get a prompt to enter some information about what type of vehicle you are looking for that then the chatbot will send you to the most helpful page.

HOW DO CHATBOTS WORK?

Chatbots are built with artificial intelligence, the ability to process language (natural language processing), and the ability to learn. But as Dwight K. Schrute wisely warned us, we need to keep their power cords to six feet so that they can’t chase us if they suddenly turn evil.

Task-oriented chatbots are single-purpose programs that focus on performing one function like an interactive FAQ (frequently asked questions) page. They can handle routine questions in an interactive way. And while the job they perform is quite simple, just having “someone” pop on a member’s screen and offer to help saves them time, possible frustration, and makes for a better experience.

Data-driven and predictive chatbots are much more sophisticated, interactive, and personalized. These chatbots can actually learn as they go. They apply predictive intelligence and analytics to enable personalization based on user profiles and past behavior.

Digital assistants can learn about a member’s preferences over time, provide recommendations, and even anticipate needs. In addition to monitoring data and intent, they can initiate conversations. Siri and Alexa are examples of these types of chatbots

FOUR WAYS A CHATBOT CAN ASSIST YOUR ASSOCIATION

1. Make Things Easier on Your Members

You probably don’t want to pay a salary and benefits for someone to answer a lot of very simple questions, but even if you did this, you can’t match the speed and attentiveness of a chatbot who can greet and respond to all of the questions simultaneously.

If human interaction is truly required, then Howard B. Human will be there for them and your chatbot actually points them to him as a customer service agent eliminating another potential point of friction. Because only the most complex issues rise to greet Howard, the wait time for the members to speak to a human will be greatly reduced. 

2. Keep Your Members Informed

You want to relay some critical information to everyone who comes to your website, then having a chatbot pop on screen to alert them is a real problem solver.

3. Gather Information from Your Members

With a cloud-based solution designed to gather information from chatbot conversations, your organization can learn some very valuable information. What questions are being asked and with what frequency? Knowing this can help you redesign your website or improve your outreach because you might discover that your members are coming to your website in search of information you thought they had received through other channels.

4. Deliver Content

If your website routinely publishes content, and you want to make sure your readers not only know when there’s new content available, but also receive the content they want to read, get inspired by TechCrunch’s content delivery chatbot.

Your audience is becoming aware of chatbots and the response is mostly positive. What the typical website visitor wants from these helpers is:

  • To get a quick answer to questions.
  • To resolve a complaint or problem.
  • To get a more detailed answer to a query.
  • To help find a human customer service agent.

It’s time to have a chat with your team about this valuable digital assistant and take an easy step toward achieving enhanced service and a better website experience for your members.

With offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, Ca., New Target provides digital strategy, digital marketing, web design, web development, branding, website hosting, and creative services for prominent nonprofits, companies, and government.