Chatbots can be an incredibly helpful tool... or a great source of customer frustration if not done right. As more businesses are adopting live chat technologies, consumers and website visitors are increasingly expecting an experience that best serves their needs at that moment.
Forrester Research has revealed that chat is gaining traction with more businesses, especially in the retail space. In fact, their Forrester Consumer Technographics study revealed that 42% of US online adults considered it to be important for retailers to provide a live online chat experience on their website. And the B2B industry is also leading a strong charge with live chat usage, especially for sales. According to a 2018 Zoho analysis, 85% of businesses in the B2B sector with live chat on their site are using it for sales.
So given this widespread adoption of live chat on business websites, you’d expect more businesses to be employing live chat in a way that best drives conversions and improves the customer experience.
Sadly, that is not necessarily the case given what we’ve seen in developing the strategies, playbooks, and tactics for numerous businesses that have implemented chat software such as LivePerson, Drift, and other solutions.
Only 14% of US online consumers expect a positive effect by interacting with chatbots, while 8% expressed that they expect a very positive interaction with them according to a Nuance Communications report in 2019. In fact, as we scan hundreds of websites offering live chat we see many businesses doing the same things that result in THE OPPOSITE of the intended objective!
80% OF YOUR WEBSITE VISITORS WILL ABANDON CHAT WHEN ASKED FOR EMAIL
That is right. Lift AI data shows that 80% of your website visitors will abandon the chat session when asked for their email address. This is due to the simple fact that most chatbot strategies and playbooks are programmed to request an email TOO EARLY in the engagement with the website visitor.
As we shared in our July 2021 Executive Report, marketers are setting up their chat programs to demand an email address from a website visitor before establishing any sort of value exchange with that very visitor. This is a high-friction ask, and should be captured far later in the sales cycle.
While the goal may be to build an ever-increasing list of email addresses for marketing engagement, the reality is that most marketers will fail in this goal by programming their chatbot to request an email address far too soon in the visitor engagement. Unfortunately, this approach of asking for an email (too soon) has become standard practice for too many websites and it’s driving the intended conversions down.
So how can marketers capture higher conversion rates and ultimately engage those website visitors to achieve their intended objectives? Here are three steps to address your chat abandonment issues:
1. Use AI to Determine Buyer Intent
Your chat strategy and playbooks will be FAR more effective if you take advantage of today’s technology, specifically buyer intent AI. Since 98% of your website visitors are anonymous, how do you know which anonymous visitors are more likely to buy than others?
This is where buyer-intent AI thrives. This AI uses machine-learning models able to process a near infinite number of data attributes in real-time — referral URLs, pageviews, time spent on page, pages visited — to assess the unique behavior of every visitor and make reliable (over 85% accurate) predictions as to their buying intent. This model is trained using millions of data points including chat interactions and visitor profiles.
Finally, you’ll be able to know the buying intent of every visitor, whether known or anonymous, and create the right chat engagement strategies and tactics that maximizes your conversions rather than depressing them by asking for email upfront.
2. Create the Right Chat Engagement
With this buyer intent AI in place, you can now create the right chat engagement flows. This requires selecting the right chat tool or “conversational marketing” platform such as Drift. Some basic questions you should be asking of any vendor when shortlisting your ideal tools:
- Does it offer robust visitor targeting?
- Can it personalize live chat and chatbots?
- Does it easily integrate with other marketing & sales automation technologies such as a CRM?
- Does it include marketing automation such as conversational AI?
You should consider researching a comparison of features in top chat tools and platforms, plus experiment with free trials to evaluate how they will work for your businesses and available resources.. You should also consider the ability to personalize the chatbots as they will play an important role in engaging website visitors before the hand-off to your sales teams.
3. Tailor the Right Customer Experience
With buyer intent AI and the right chat tool in place, you can be far more effective in delivering the right customer experience to vastly improve those conversion rates and ultimately capture revenue from your website visitors.
Part of this approach includes setting up the playbooks to help guide your visitors down the right path. Chatbots are highly efficient as they’re able to work 24/7 and never ask for a coffee break! Yet, chatbots cannot be expected to be as effective as humans in selling online, even with the latest “natural language processing” in existing chatbot technology.
But, well-designed chatbots can greatly enhance the customer experience and serve your sales team well by providing useful and timely responses within the correct context. Chatbots can be most useful in answering simple questions, nurturing visitors, directing them to informational resources, or escalating visitors to sales agents as needed.
Aligning your chatbot and live sales agent strategy will yield much better conversion results than simply using either one separately. The best way to use these chatbots in your online sales process is to quickly nurture or qualify prospects before handing off to a sales resource. This will also address the common issues seen with many visitors suffering from “bot fatigue” (being fed-up with bots) and the resulting conversion killer when bots demand an email address from the visitor to continue further.
With the right chat tool and the right implementation in place, supported by buyer-intent AI and these steps we’ve outlined, marketers will be well positioned to create that value exchange and greatly improve their website visitor conversions without sabotaging their conversion rates.
To learn more, be sure to check out our Rethink Your Revenue guides:
Part 1: Rethink Your Revenue #1: How to Turn Anonymous Web Visitors Into $$$
Part 2: Rethink Your Revenue #2: How to Convert Anonymous Visitors with Conversational Marketing
Part 3: Rethink Your Revenue #3: Buyer-Intent AI Is Your Sales Superpower
Just like that, you can double, triple, and even quadruple your website conversions without spending more of your team’s resources than you already do.