Do chatbots work? If so, how do they work? How do I create a chatbot? WHAT IS A CHATBOT?!! These are a few questions that the average person might be asking about chatbots in this ever changing, autonomous world. All of these questions will be answered today.

First, we need to start with what a chatbot is at its core. A chatbot is simply put, an automatic way to respond to someone’s input. You might recall those fun bots you could message in the 90s that would respond to you and try to hold a conversation that always turned into something crazy. Programs like Siri and “Hey Google” would also be grouped under chatbots, although they are a much more advanced technology that the average business could not feasibly build or implement.

Chatbots work by taking someones input and finding the proper output or answer. Great chatbots make this process natural and seamless for the user. The reason a lot of chatbots do not work correctly is for a lot of the same reasons that a website does not convert well. Chatbots, like websites, are all about the layout and content within them. Without an intuitive layout or great content, they can be worthless.

Chatbots exist for many different uses, however, the main use are to automate frequently asked questions such as “where are you located” “what are your hours” “what is your Wi-Fi password” and many other timeless questions. On top of that, chatbots essentially take the information you have on your website and convert it into a social form through messaging apps in bite sized pieces of information that are easy for the user to digest.

Chatbots are a valuable tool to be able to take the information from a business or website, put it to use in a social and engaging way, and then lead the prospect back to the website or business. They can be used to automate drip campaigns to specific audience segments, to engage and reengage with potential customers about current news or events related to your product or service, or simply give them something fun and entertaining to consume during their down time.

In order to work correctly, the content and strategy put into a chatbot needs to be EPIC! Whether a business has a programmer that can write the code for their own bot or they use one of the many programs already out there (some good/some bad, that’s for a later article), they need to make sure the content is interesting and engaging and the flow of the chatbot is intuitive and gets the user exactly where they want to be. The person creating the chatbot needs to understand how the audience for that particular chatbot thinks and interacts and be able to adjust to their language.

Chatbots, just like websites, are not one size fits all. It takes time, strategy, planning, and great content. Just like with a website, good enough just doesn’t cut it.

For a more in-depth discussion of chatbots check out Episode#4 of the Big Podcast for Small Business

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