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10 ways to think outside the box about chatbots

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It’s dangerous to put chatbots in a box. They can do much more than we think. Although a common use of chatbot technology is customer service, a wider range of uses has emerged as the landscape matures. From enhancing user interfaces to creating a more personalized app experience, chatbots help businesses grow. Here are 10 ways to think outside the box about chatbots and use them beyond traditional customer service:

1. Collecting user information and preferences

Chatbots can ask users about demographics, needs, and product preferences in exchange for discounts and promotions. You can use this valuable information to personalize the product experience, give you a better understanding of which products and services are desirable, and learn how to make your product fit the user’s most important needs.

2. User onboarding

As new users create profiles and enter information while signing up, chatbots help simplify the onboarding process. If, for instance, a user forgets to complete one section of the signup process, the company can send a push notification connected to a chatbot that will guide them through the missed step, and help them with any issues to ensure onboarding is complete.

3. Enhancing navigation

The user interface is a key factor that can make or break someone’s opinion of your brand. Chatbots are able to guide users through your app or website, showing them new features or sending them to specific products and useful information. A bot can suggest products that will complement current or past purchases, which minimizes search time and can potentially increase conversion rates.

4. Improving app store or social media ratings

A chatbot within your website or app can ask users their opinions in real time, as they’re going through the experience. That lets you capture valuable sentiment information in the moment. If positive, the chatbot can prompt the user to share the experience through a rating on the app store or a comment on Yelp. If the user has a poor experience, the chatbot can gather their comments or suggestions on how to improve the user experience and send them straight to the teams who are in control of improving the application. Sending this valuable feedback to the right team — at the right time — can be extremely useful.

5. Surveying users

Many companies wait until after the user has left the app or website to reach out for feedback. Although, in theory, this may seem like an effective way for a business to receive customer reviews, many users will not go back and engage with the company unless they had an extremely positive experience. Chatbots are able to integrate short surveys throughout the user experience, collecting thoughts and feelings in real time in a much more engaging and less intrusive way.

6. Making push notifications more robust

Push notifications are a widely used form of communication between the app and its users, but they often go ignored. By attaching a chatbot to the notification, you turn a notification into a conversation, directing users to multiple pages within the app based on their needs and gathering information and feedback at the same time. Based on that feedback, you can create user segments to better target future notifications.

7. Testing A/B messaging

Often A/B testing includes using complicated software or having to redeploy your site or resubmit to the app store. However, chatbots can make A/B testing easy, as you are able to send different messaging to segments of users on the fly. What may take days with emails and optimization software can be done in minutes with chatbots.

8. Monetizing

Chatbots are able to greatly assist in the monetizing and affiliate marketing processes. If, for instance, you are a content provider, a chatbot can appear after the article or video that asks the user if they enjoyed the news story. If they did, the chatbot can direct them to similar content that is relevant to their interest. Similarly, these chatbots can be used for pushing products as well. By asking users if they were satisfied with a product or service that they purchased on your app or website, chatbots can recommend links to similar products and websites for other companies that are affiliated with your brand. All affiliate marketing can be captured by integrating deep links with your chatbot.

9. Making live chats more efficient

Monitoring live chat has become increasingly difficult, as app users now chat in from various time zones, often inquiring about different topics or concerns. Not only can chatbots handle questions regarding basic product and company information, such as pricing, but they can direct users with more complicated issues to the right department at the right time. This allows each department to act more efficiently and handle concerns that only fall in their jurisdiction.

10. Creating more personalized promotions

Now more than ever, users can see through generic emails and messages, ultimately ignoring them if they are unable to personally relate. Chatbots can be used to monitor individual user activity in order to compile more personalized and meaningful messages that generate higher response rates. By understanding previous products purchased, articles read, and searches conducted by each user, chatbots will allow you to reach out to your consumers with only the most relevant information.

Chatbots are a great way to engage users organically. When created properly, users will feel like they are talking to you, the brand. From guiding users through app navigation to ensuring they will return to your site, chatbot technology can be present in every step of user interaction. As this form of technology continues to advance, the support it offers to both you and your users only becomes more apparent. Still, there are countless more that have yet to be discovered — what unique functions have you found chatbots to be useful for?

Dima Rakovitsky is the CEO and cofounder of ROKO Labs, an app builder.

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