4 Ways Conversational Chatbots Engage Customers

January 19, 2023
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4 Ways Conversational Chatbots Engage Customers

When running a business, strong customer engagement defines success. And when users have inquiries about a service or product, it’s important to maintain a steady stream of communication—whether that’s through email, phone call, live chat, or chatbot.

In recent years, conversational chatbots have become a valuable tool for delivering high-quality customer experiences. Especially useful for answering basic questions or providing short updates, these offer a convenient and effective way for companies to automate simple conversations.

However, conversational chatbots can be so much more. Here, we’ll explore creative chatbot use cases and 4 best practices to maximize customer engagement.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is an automated computer program that facilitates digital interactions and provides basic customer service. It’s become a valuable communication channel that allows users to reach a company at their convenience, creating a sense of trust and reliability. This means they no longer have to worry about uncertain wait times or limited business hours—a chatbot will always be available.

Conversational chatbots also rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to develop life-like conversations with people. Using natural, familiar language, conversational chatbots build tangible connections and help meet user needs without requiring additional resources. It’s a win for the customer, and a win for the business.

Why companies use conversational chatbots for SMS marketing

People spend a lot of time on their mobile devices. SMS marketing allows companies to engage with users from the palm of their hand—pushing product recommendations, important reminders, or limited-time discounts. It’s an effective way to reach customers, but can sometimes feel one-sided.

Conversational messaging presents a viable solution in making these interactions more organic. But what is conversational messaging, and how might chatbots play a role in it?

A 2-way street where businesses and consumers have one-on-one conversations, conversational messaging is more casual and friendly in nature. For instance, if someone has a question about a company’s services, they can communicate on conversational messaging platforms like WhatsApp and be spoken with instead of spoken to.

Imagine a customer who doesn’t necessarily need a live chat representative—but wants a quick response that a chatbot can provide. They can send their query via WhatsApp, which would automatically transfer to the chatbot. The chatbot would process the request, then deliver applicable information promptly.

Combining conversational chatbots with SMS marketing makes for a powerful engagement strategy and helps customers feel more connected.

Chatbot use cases

Companies of all sizes and backgrounds can benefit from chatbots. But depending on the needs and goals, the uses can vary. Here are several popular chatbot use cases to consider:

Customer service

Customers may have basic questions about a service, seek shipping and delivery updates, or need detailed pricing information. By relying on existing resources like frequently asked questions, a webpage, or a relevant blog post, conversational chatbots can quickly provide them with the answers they need to move forward.

AI-powered chatbots can help customers with more complex questions and reduce agent workload. Read more about how to use AI in customer service.

Customer surveys

Receiving customer feedback is a powerful way to improve existing services—but it can easily become a tedious and repetitive task for live representatives. Chatbots are automated, allowing you to easily distribute surveys and collect necessary information without wasting time, energy, or resources.

Marketing functions

Conversational chatbots can help nurture and generate leads by initiating direct interactions, pinpointing a problem, and presenting a possible solution. After identifying user needs and capturing interest, the chatbots direct the messages to live sales professionals who promote business offerings with more of a human touch.

Product recommendations

With the rise of ecommerce, customers increasingly value a convenient shopping experience. As a chatbot engages with a user, it can learn their unique shopping preferences and interests. Then, using the data, it can recommend relevant products that the person may actually want, streamlining their purchasing process and crafting a personalized customer journey.

How to use conversational chatbots for engagement

Conversational chatbots are powerful tools for customer engagement and growth. But figuring out how to use them might be a challenge, especially if you’re just getting started. Below are some best practices that can help.

1. Establish a consistent chatbot personality

Simply put, conversational chatbots need unique personalities to maintain authentic connections. If the chatbots interact with a lifeless, disconnected tone, customers will be more likely to disengage from the conversation.

Create a chatbot personality that not only feels and sounds human, but aligns well with your brand voice. Is it witty and casual, knowledgeable and gentle, or direct and confident? What type of digital presence do you want to generate? As you build your chatbot, solidifying its character can be a fun and collaborative process.

See how we built a barista bot in Twilio Studio here:

2. Identify customer needs and ideal chatbot use cases

Depending on your business goals, conversational chatbots can offer a wide range of solutions. Whether for marketing or customer service, it’s crucial to establish what exactly your chatbot is for—and how it can solve a potential problem.

Define its main purpose, as well as its target audience. When considering every aspect of your customers' needs, you may get a clearer picture of the ways your chatbot can help fulfill them.

3. Choose channels for chatbot integration

Conversational chatbots are incredibly versatile and can create unique customer experiences on various platforms. For instance, you may want one integrated directly on your site, so it can initiate conversations with every visitor. Or you might consider using conversational messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

Determine which communication channels you want to use to connect with your customers. Each has its benefits, so choose the one that has the best chance of reaching people.

4. Collect valuable customer insights

To maintain high engagement and satisfaction, your chatbot must constantly improve. When addressing certain issues or adding additional features, it’s critical to make informed, data-driven decisions. Because users will interact with your conversational chatbots regularly, they’ll have the most accurate feedback.

Distribute surveys and encourage users to complete them. The more feedback you receive, the more information you’ll have to make your conversations flow naturally and efficiently. In the end, your users will appreciate your efforts.

Transform your conversational messaging platform with Twilio

To build a powerful and effective chatbot, you need a conversational messaging platform you can trust.

With Twilio MessagingX, you can build meaningful digital relationships and send business messages at scale. Create quality interactions with your customers via an API for one-way, transactional messaging and send alerts, notifications, and marketing messages with ease.

Ready to elevate your business messaging services and maximize customer engagement? Get in touch with Twilio today to learn more about MessagingX.

For detailed steps on building different chatbots, check out our tutorials: