February 14, 2019 By SmartBiz Team

If you’re online and a conversation bubble pops up asking if you need help, that’s a chatbot. A recent study concluded that 25% of customer service operations will use chatbots or virtual customer assistants by 2020.

For small business owners interested in streamlining marketing or customer service, using chatbots can be a great solution. Here are the basics.

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What is a Chatbot?

In short, a chatbot is a piece of software that can hold conversations with humans by responding to certain words or phrases with preset dialogue.

One example is the e-commerce eBay chatbot, one of the most advanced, built for Google Assistant. Here’s an example of an exchange with a potential customer:


How Can a Small Business Use a Chatbot?

You might think Chatbots are just for big retailers. But they can be very helpful for a small business. Here are just a few ways they can help your operation run more efficiently and generate leads.

Customer Support

An easy way to use a chatbot is for customer relations. Chatbots are available 24/7 and don’t get fatigued. Chatbots can answer questions, place orders, provide invoices and more. This lets you free-up employee time for other business-building projects.

A chat can be more efficient than a phone call, saving time and money. A recent study showed that chatbots can free up agents for more challenging work by answering up to 80% of routine questions

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Increase Engagement

One example of how engagement is increasing via chatbots is to look at the Facebook Messenger chatbot. With 1.2 billion monthly users, brands are using Facebook Messenger to interact with customers directed to the chat plugin from the brand page, from ads or from sponsored messages. When a potential customer visits your website, a chat greeting can help them feel more in touch with your brand and provide answers much quicker than via a phone call or email.

Streamline Sales

Aside from answering questions, chatbots can take your customer through the entire ordering process. 1-800 Flowers is known for doing sales right via chatbot.


Influence Purchase Decisions

If you had time to talk to every customer, you’d probably have a solid script to guide customers towards the right purchase at the right time. Chatbots can be used this way by asking consumers about their preferences and providing personalized advice. Your chatbot can act as a personal assistant to each customer.

Take Payments

You can now create a chatbot that integrates with major payment platforms, offering a streamlined shopping experience.

More Chatbot Information

Are you ready to take steps to implement a chatbot for your business? Here’s a comprehensive article to help you choose the best chatbot platform for your specific needs: 10 Best Chatbots of 2019

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