What Are Chatbots?

Chatbots are programs built to automatically engage with the customers visiting your website or social media pages. These bots are programmed to send out automated replies in response to customer queries.

Types of Chatbots:

  1. Driven by Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence: 

This type of chatbot understands natural language and commands, and uses machine learning to adapt responses in accordance with the context.

2. Keyword based chatbots:

These are driven by a set of predetermined answers that are triggered in response to certain keywords. They rely on a large database of frequently asked questions to produce the best response and therefore may not be correct 100% of the times.

Your customers don’t have to download another app to use these chatbots. They can be accessed via existing chat apps such as Facebook Messenger , Whatsapp or website chat windows  to receive and respond to messages.

Chatbots have been around for quite some time. However with the recent advances in natural language processing and AI, Chatbot technology has grown robust enough to meet the challenges of modern marketing.

According to a drift survey customers use chatbots for a number of purposes such as

  • To get a quick answer to questions
  • To resolve a complaint or problem
  • To get a more detailed answer to a query
  • Finding a human customer service representative

However, Chatbots aren’t just a handy tool for your customers, they’re also great for your business.

Benefits of Chatbots

1. Save Time & Money

Research from Sprout Social shows that the number of social messages requiring a response from a brand increased by 18% from 2015 to 2016.

The millennial customers expects brands to be available 24×7 to answer questions, clear doubts and guide them through the purchase journey. Providing around the clock customer support requires huge investment in terms of time and resources, which may not always be feasible. By automating conversations you could save time and money that can then be allocated to other areas that require your attention.

2. Nurture Customers

Every customer visiting your restaurant’s website or social media pages may not have an intention to buy. He may be just checking on offers or perusing through the menu.

You can program your chatbot to engage with these customers, ask questions to guide them in the right direction, share menus, pricing , or collect their email ids.  Providing quick responses and resolving queries helps you to create a better user experience.

3. Generate Sales

You can use chatbots to connect directly to all your customers sending them personalized offers and recommendation in accordance with their purchase history.

Many popular restaurant chains  are successfully using chatbots to promote offers and discounts, limited time deals or loyalty privileges. They can also be used to allow your customers to make reservations or order ahead.

4. Provide ‘After Hours’ Support

According to data from Drift, most people use chatbots get quick answers to questions. Your customers can get the information they are looking for via these chatbots chatbot even when your business is closed.

5. Generate Leads

You can use Chatbots to nurture prospects and gathers email addresses of prospective customers, which can be used for your future marketing campaigns.

GETTING STARTED WITH CHATBOTS

Taco Bot By Taco bell Made Online Ordering a Breeze

There are a few ways in which you can get a Chatbot for your restaurant

Building your own bot:

Coding  your own chatbot, be it from scratch or using NLP Platforms involves a huge investment in terms of time and a steep learning curve. You would also need  prior knowledge of coding and natural language processing.

Use DIY platforms for building a bot –

There are some platforms which provide you with Drag ‘n’ Drop features to build chatbots without any coding.

Hire An agency:

You can hire an agency to create a fully functional chatbot for you.

Whichever method you choose, there are several other aspects which require your attention before roll out your restaurant’s chatbot.

Preparing to Launch

1. Define Your Goal

Spend time at the onset to define the goals you are looking to achieve from the chatbot. It could range from

  • Engaging your customers
  • Resolving customer service issues
  • Promoting menu items, offers and deals
  • Acquiring new customers

Having clear goals in mind helps you to develop a strategy and build out a unique experience.

Subway’s order ahead bot on Facebook Messenger

2. Choose Platforms to Leverage

Consider the channels you would like to take your programs live on. The answer to this would depend on your goals and also which channel in your opinion could provide you with the maximum leverage

Social Media Channels

  • Facebook Messenger
  • Twitter Direct Message
  • Whatsapp messenger

You can check your Facebook and Twitter insights to get an idea of how many of your audiences visit these platforms regularly. Also, consider how many of your followers are on Facebook Messenger and how they are using the channel. You should also check on the audience demographics on each of these channels. 

Your Website

Check your website analytics to see where you get maximum visitors. What are these visitors doing on your site. What kind of assistance or experience could you offer to these visitors.

All these metrics will help you to decide which platform to leverage and what kind of communication(Via Your Chatbot) would be appropriate on that channel.

3. Build Your Content Strategy

Once you have finalized your goals and the platform you plan to employ, you can start working on the experience you want to offer to your customers.

Think about what questions customers are likely to ask your chatbot.  Think of multiple responses for every question. Build flows for each turn a  conversation could take- think about the kind of information you would like to disseminate through these conversation, such as information about offers or deals, your loyalty program, specials and the like. Figure out how you can take a prospective conversation in the intended direction while fully satisfying customer needs. 

Pizza Hut”s Bot On FB Messenger allows you to order just by sending an emoji

4. Craft Your Bot’s Voice 

Your chatbot is ultimately another extension of your brand. Ensure that its voice and personality is aligned to your brand image. Many restaurant give a name to their bot to humanize the whole experience.

Laying down these basics at the onset facilitates the bot building process and helps you provide better customer experience.

Wingstop launched its Bot both on Facebook and Twitter

BEST PRACTICES

a. Maintain Transparency: Let your customers know they’re chatting with a bot so they do not feel misled at a later stage.

b. Call-To-Action Buttons:Use CTAs to drive users to a specific goal such as leading them to your online ordering page or sharing their experience with friends on social networks.

c. Always Offer a Way to Exit : Give your customers the option to switch over to a human assistant at any time they wish to.

d. Gather Customer Feedback: Don’t forget to ask your customers whether they enjoyed the interaction with your chatbot and the improvements they would like to see.

e. Promote your bot: The success of your chatbot would depend on how well you promote it. Go all out on letting your customers know that you are offering them a exciting new way to interact with your brand.

Like all other marketing initiatives, you would need to monitor and analyze the performance of your chatbot in the long-run and look for ways in which you could improve customer experience on your Bot.