How to Increase Your Chatbot Engagement

Chatbots are powerful tools, and here's how you can use them more effectively.

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By Syed Balkhi

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According to Chatbots Magazine, 67 percent of US millennials said they are likely to purchase products and services from brands using a chatbot. But, what happens if you have a chatbot on your site that nobody is using?

If you want to see the full benefits of having a chatbot on your website, you need to get your audience comfortable talking to robots. Seems difficult doesn't it? Well, it's actually not that crazy of a task at all. There are a number of simple ways to get your users to start a conversation with that little box in the corner of your site.

Here's how to increase your chatbot engagement.

Promote digital assistants instead of "chatbots."

Chatbots can seem very limited, like basic bots with canned responses. Because of this, users might not bother interacting with your chatbot at all; if they assume that your chatbot can only answer basic FAQs and sometimes not answer them well, what's the point? So, if you want to increase your chatbot engagement, you need to promote your chatbot as a digital assistant instead.

A digital assistant doesn't just answer simple questions like a chatbot. Instead, it improves the entire customer experience. A digital assistant is able to help users with the onboarding process, provide actionable advice, and make helpful recommendations. This type of chatbot experience might seem complicated and costly to provide but it's really not thanks to AI (artificial intelligence). There are a number of AI-powered chatbots on the market that are able to interpret complex language, understand the context of a conversation, predict user behavior and reply to users in a natural way. When users know that they can do more with your chatbot, they'll be more likely to use it.

Add a "human face" to your chatbot.

Many users prefer speaking to a real human. In fact, according to a survey reported by eMarketer, more than eight in 10 US respondents said that even as technology improves, they will want to interact with a real person. To combat this sentiment, you can make your chatbot a little more "human-like."

Putting a face to your chatbot can make the user feel like they're talking to a real person, even if it's not a real human face. For instance, take a look at this example from HSBC. They created a human-like chatbot avatar for their virtual assistant.

You can even name your chatbot a human name, like Julie for example, and create a chatbot personality that matches your brand in order to help users better connect to your company and feel more comfortable chatting with a robot.

Related: How AI is Changing the Face of Customer Service

Offer personalized experiences.

Personalized experiences make consumers feel valued and important, making them more likely to return to your website again and again. According to RetailDive, 63 percent of consumers are interested in personalized recommendations and experiences. So, you should be providing personalized experiences with your chatbot.

Chatbot conversations should start off by greeting the customers by name. You can make it even more personal by referring to their location by saying something like "Hey Gary, hope you're having a great day in Houston." But, greeting users by name isn't enough.

Take personalization even further by using historical user data such as their order history to provide them with superior customer service. For instance, think about a pizza delivery business. A pizza delivery chatbot could look at what the user orders most frequently, remember that frequent order, and offer to automatically order it for the user again. Aside from a quick repeat order, you can use user data to give more personalized product recommendations as well as offer advice based on the user's past customer support issues.

Utilize push notifications.

While many users will notice your chatbot in the corner of your website, other website visitors will completely miss it -- unless you utilize push notifications. A quick hello or welcome message along with a sound effect, a new message icon or a popup chatbot window, will grab the attention of your website visitors and make them aware of your chatbot.

Take a look at this example from WP Engine's website. Their chatbot alerts website visitors with a sound effect, a new message icon and they even including a typing indicator when the chatbot is writing a message -- it's like getting an instant message from a friend.

A simple prompt is all some users need to encourage them to start interacting with your chatbot.

You can also use your chatbot to deliver company news and product updates. Using your chatbot to deliver relevant news to users is a great way to get them used to your chatbot as a way of communicating with your company.

Over to you.

A chatbot is only helpful if people use it, so use these tips to encourage your website visitors to interact with your chatbot. Once users become aware of your chatbot and all it has to offer, your chatbot will become your most popular communication channel.

Syed Balkhi

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

Entrepreneur, Growth Hacker and Marketer

Syed Balkhi is an entrepreneur and the co-founder of WPBeginnerOptinMonster and WPForms

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