“Improve ROI through lead generation.”
“Gain better profit stability via positive leads.”
These are the typical catchphrases used by many chatbot providers to promote their brands. Indeed, it has been proven time and again that even relatively simple chatbots usually have an immediate positive effect on “customer filtration.” This is true whether it is mainly for gathering user data or just letting the chatbot run the business.
But, what exactly is are chatbots for lead generation? Does such a term even make sense if chatbots as a concept already include the idea of customer guidance? And what are the specific mechanics of lead generation improvement?
In this article, we shall briefly answer all of these questions by directly diving into the concept of lead generation itself.
What is Lead Generation, Really?
“A person interested in the product and service you sell is called a lead.”
So a lead, in this sense, does not even have to be a person. So long as something or someone potentially desires/needs your business or activity operation, it fits the bill. For example, another business entity leaving contact details or technical data.
Therefore, lead generation can be loosely described as any activity or program that would provide a list of potential customers or any information that may be helpful in determining their viability. In the realm of chatbots, this translates to every user interaction that results in obtaining information that might help hone in on that user’s service/product references.
Going further to the next step, positive lead generation is the process of automated interaction that results in a successful transaction.
How Chatbots Improve Lead Generation
Now that we have set our idea of lead generation, let’s go over some of the basic inner workings of how chatbots improve it:
- Make it more likely that a customer/client is going to purchase/use something. This is the primary argument we have mentioned earlier. Chatbots are drastically different from static menus in that they offer interaction and natural language processing, two things that greatly help sway customers’ consideration in favor of buying something in the end. At least, compared to a boring list of blank spaces to fill up.
- Smoothen your business processes by making them more intuitive. If it’s a business process, natural language processing makes it possible for requesting commands to become more familiar. This may not shorten the overall steps required (for example, when requesting one’s purchase history), but it does it make it easier to do from an operational standpoint.
- When conveniently designed, it establishes loyalty through sheer reliability. Returning customers are among the best sources of analytics for any chatbot system for a business. But before it gets to that point, chatbot usage has to outweigh traditional browsing with consistently good results. A good example of this is universal account accessibility at each step of the interactive purchase process.
- Answers queries instantly, making it more likely for number 1 and 2 to occur. Another commonly touted convenient feature of any traditional chatbot, it’s pretty much self-explanatory. This simply means that “chatting” with a conversational AI does not require long response times, and can even be done during times of the day when customer services are usually not available.
- Gives personalized flair to service usage, makes users feel prioritized adequately. If a user’s attention span and patience are steadily running out, it would always be best to hand them over to human agent before it’s too late. If dealt with smartly and seamlessly, the customer would become less likely to end the conversation in frustration (eventually leading to a positive lead).
- Gives you room to confirm your true customer base. Over time, your chatbot platform will accumulate enough user data to finally ascertain which ones really matter for your business. You can then actively plan for more related actions, such as providing targeted (but not annoying) advertisements that suggest other products and services that these recurring users would most likely also use.
Chatbot for Lead Generation Building Basics
Technical workflow optimization tricks aside, here are a few pointers for building a chatbot for lead generation:
- Make a snazzy welcome message/chatbot introduction. It may not sound much, but a creative welcome message can go a long way in at least piquing the curiosity of your potential lead. In fact, if your business allows it, you can try writing up a few sassy variations, in the same spirit as one quite infamous fast-food PR agent.
- Make sure that they answer with their (intended) name. Another seemingly mundane and ordinary step. You can either cleverly phrase the question to force a single response, manipulate workflow so that part of the needed info is always extracted, or just straight up identify whether or not the response was supposed to be a name or not (then redo the query).
- Request information in the appropriate progressive order. For example, requesting for the user’s name and email are usually put at the very beginning. This is to create a lead list, even if the user decides to leave the chatbot halfway through.
- Keep their answers to qualifying queries concise and separate. The simplest way to do this is by offering multiple-choice responses. Keep the options open, plentiful, and sufficiently varied, and you can essentially eliminate the need for active engagement.
- Set up fallback options. Design your chatbot to manually determine if a human agent is required by direct categorization. Keep the suggestions quick, though, or you’ll risk losing the attention of the user.
- Set up analytics features (if your chatbot provider has any). Put a feedback query suggestion if the interaction eventually ends in a successful transaction. It doesn’t have to be a comprehensive quiz. Sometimes a numbered rating and a few descriptions are enough to determine the necessary improvements.
Other Things Worth Remembering
In relation to the mechanics of lead generation in chatbots, here are a few more information tidbits that should prove useful in designing your workflow:
- Chatbot widget icons can use short phrases. For example, putting “Ask a Question?” instead of just adding a simple, circular widget icon.
- Limit natural language responses in the first few chat lines by giving open signs that the chatbot session is NOT a live chat.
- Be sufficiently careful when implementing triggered messages that might annoy users.
- Try to include other conversational threads to “fish” for more information.
- Make the chatbot sound as polite as possible (it doesn’t need to be actually formal). Otherwise, make it characteristically sassy or give it a conversational quirk.
- Multi-lingual (multi-cultural) options are a significant plus if they can be feasibly provided.
- Opening a survey before the chat is initiated (the moment the homepage is opened, for example) is a good way to generate user information but comes with a higher risk of user annoyance.
Remember, Clarification is Key
Lastly, it is important to remember that, at the end of the day, lead generation is simply a part of a set of features that are meant to determine the identity of your customer base. This is the foundational information for potential improvement tweaks, which can either optimize interactions (most of out least) or make targeted (triggered?) suggestions far more accurate.
In fact, knowing the very heart of your customers could even lead to changes in the actual services and products you offer. This would then positively affect the consistency of your business operations ever so slightly, despite not really being related to chatbots at that point.