Since 2018, chatbots have exploded. They seem to be everywhere, from your bank, to the phone company, to airlines. But some are better than others. And some are downright terrible.
Not every company understands that improving communication with customers over chat is vital. These tools can make it or break it in a relationship with a potential or existing clients.
I am your new user. Not.
I got one in my Facebook Messenger recently. It was someone I didn’t even know. No idea how they got to me, other than by the magic of the Facebook algorithm or a stolen database. It was a company, selling theater tickets. The chatbot addressed me like an old friend:
“Hey Jane! How are ya?!”
What’s more, it referred to someone else, who was supposedly a common friend.
“Just like you talked to our dear friend Dave Hughes last week, I am calling to offer you…”
Wait, who?! I don’t know a Dave Hughes. And then it was one of those classic lines:
“How would you like to be one of the lucky people that get a discount to our next production?”
Right. What? Who are you?! I hung up — as in, I deleted the chat — making a mental note to never buy anything from this company.
This experience really was the epitome of everything we hate about chatbots. They can be annoying, irrelevant and rude in their familiarity when talking to you. I wouldn’t ever think about buying something from such a company.
So let’s talk about how it should be done right.
After all, the reason chatbots exist is to be effective tools for marketing products and services, providing good customer service through chat.
Who is your messengers chat to you?
From the very beginning, from the first sentence and welcome notification, it should be captivating and polite. After all, there are no second chances in making first impressions.
Think of your chatbot as you would a new salesperson. Could you afford to have someone who’s got a dirty suit to approach an important lead in a sales call? What if he didn’t do any homework on the customer? This is every manager’s or business owner’s nightmare.
So it’s vital to fine-tune your message like it is to train your sales people. From choosing the format of communication with a new subscriber or a new follower, down to giving them specific guidelines on what is to be done, how they should talk and even how they should look. After all, building trust with your customer will only work if you ace this test.
Tips for building good communication with customers
Don’t think of your chatbot as set in stone.
Test different texts, see what works. Modify continuously until you make it an effective tool. Like many things we do in business, it’s important to be a perfectionist. It doesn’t mean that you should be obsessed with changing your website or, in this case, you bot - every day. But setting some timelines and trying to perfect it is a good idea.
Maybe it’s a good idea to ask someone on your team to run through the chatbot. Maybe even asking someone outside of your team - they may have a fresh view of the way you are communicating with your audience.
Whatever you do, don’t just leave it unattended. Especially at launching it. You may be tired of it, but it deserves to be finished well.
Consider your audience
You probably know exactly who your target audience is. Their age range, sex, stage in life, the reason for potential interest in your company and product. Make sure that all your communication with them done in a way that doesn’t turn them off. Be respectful and use appropriate tone. If your new user is a woman in her 40-50s, then addressing her as a “hey, chica!” may be the fastest way to lose her.
Everyone is different - target your audience accordingly
Pick the right pics and names for your own bot. They shouldn’t be too racy (unless your business is edgy) or generic (think: unrelated things like cats or flowers). Also, use a name for your bot that fits your brand.
Imagine when your push notification, for example, is received. Is your contact at home or at work? Stay away from greeting messages that include “good morning,” as the reader may see the message at night.
#Chatbot tips: Be respectful and use appropriate tone. 😇 If your new user is a woman in her 40-50s, then addressing her as a “hey, chica!” may be the fastest way to lose her. 🤚
Mind the gap (between you and your new follower)
You cannot underestimate how important appropriate tone is when talking to someone. Use their first name if you have it. People love to hear and see their name!
Come up with a very easy-to-follow path to get all answers that contact might want to get from your chatbot. No runarounds! Make sure there is a clear way to access customer service by phone or at least e-mail. Few things leave a more negative impression of your business than not being able to find the “contact us” button.
Ensure that each time you contact your customer, there is a good reason. Use powerful attention grabbers, but don’t throw words around. People are smart and they see through useless gimmicks right away.
Don’t do this with your messengers communications
Don’t bombard your customers with too many messages or texts that ramble on. If you want to gently remind your contact about your product or service, make sure the text is not identical each time. The same goes for messages on different platforms (some customers may receive a message from you in a mobile app and another social media platform).
Don’t overdo it with emojis, pictures, videos, maps, memes, etc. (especially in Facebook messenger welcome messages).
Don’t get too familiar with the contact, they know it’s not a real person.
Don’t forget to check grammar and spelling.
Have a call to action, a reason why your bot is making this communication.
It’s best if you have the important stuff at the top. Use the pyramid methods that journalists use. The news article (or a segment on TV) will have the main thought (your call to action here) will be at the very top of your communication. Later paragraphs will give more details and explanations. These may include the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY and HOW of your offer.
Make it worth the while for the client to take you up on your offer! It’s best to be concise, to show the value and importance of your communication. Also, be sure to be clear what the customer needs to do. For this, have all links, promo codes, e-mails, % discounts, etc. easy to follow. It goes without saying - be sure they are all working, as it’s very frustrating for a client to have a deadlink.
Make sure you thank your customer for something.
Even if it’s just a thank you note to subscribers that just joined your newsletter. Keep in mind, this is a potential sale in the making!
Good greeting examples and push notifications
Finally, here are a few examples of effective Facebook messenger greeting examples and Facebook welcome message examples:
Here you are using the right tone for addressing your audience (Hey, New Yorker! is perfectly appropriate for advertising a deli in the Big Apple.) The message is short and it hits on the important parts of life in New York - supporting the firefighters and eating. You can’t beat that!
Hi, Linda! Our new podcast is available for your download today and it’s FREE!
Again, short, sweet and to the point. “Hi, Linda!” is neutral. Making an offer for something FREE in the first line is good too.
Dear Brothers and Sisters! Welcome to St. Luke’s Lutheran Church preschool bot. We’ll be regularly updating you on all events in our community as well as weather closings.
This greeting is appropriate for a religious organization. It establishes a close relationship with the audience. But it’s very business-like and tells the new users that it will not bombard them with useless messages.
All of the above seems simple enough, right? Well, maybe not quite. But thoughtful approach to improve communication with customers over chat is a first step into making it an effective tool for your business. Therefore, perfect your pitch! Please keep your communication with the audience positive and fitting for your business. This is the best way to use this instrument to the max.
For the sake of all of us who love chatbot’s phenomenal open and click-through rate!
Don’t get left behind and let your sales fall. Learn more about messenger-based sales and how to use it in your business.
#Chatbot tips: Pick the right pics 🖼 and names for your own bot. They shouldn’t be too racy 😈(unless your business is edgy) or generic (think: unrelated things like cats 😻 or flowers 🌷). Also use a name for your bot that fits your brand. 👋
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