What Are Chatbots and Does Your WordPress Site Needs Them?
It’s 2019 and robots are not the only ones taking over peoples’ jobs. Chatbots have seen a steady growth in recent years, and are slowly starting to replace the support department in some organizations. Although, many would argue that a chatbot cannot replace real human support.
In general, a chatbot is a simple widget that you add to your site. And the said widget will provide automated answers to any users who might have unique queries. Most companies are using chatbots to provide a subpar ‘live chat’ experience.
A chatbot can be programmed in a way that it answers both basic questions, but also gives back intelligent suggestions. This is thanks to Artificial Intelligence that many chatbot companies are injecting their software with.
Why have Chatbots become so trendy?
So, is it simply a passing fad that more websites adopt these chatbot features, or is there more to this? For one, I don’t think the rise in popularity has anything to do with replacing actual human support.
As it stands, chatbots provide simple and effective support features that are available to customers 24/7. On top of that, they’re extremely simple to add to a website.
Most chatbot providers give you a widget that you add to your site. After the first configuration round, you can pretty much forget about it.
Here’s how companies are using chatbot software to provide better user experience:
- Customer satisfaction.
A satisfied customer is a happy customer. And to ensure complete satisfaction, you have to be persistent in providing a service that counts. Your customers might have questions or they might get stuck during the onboarding process. You can further improve their user experience by providing quick access to a real-time chatbot. This works especially well if you know the questions your customers will ask beforehand.
- Cost factor.
As time goes by, you might notice that your chatbot is actually doing quite a bit of work! And the type of work that you would otherwise need to delegate to another person. As a result, you’re saving a ton of financial expenses in your annual budget report. A large proportion of customer queries tend to be simple-minded anyway.
- Business data.
A chatbot widget is the ultimate means to harness customer feedback. In other words, business-relevant insights. The more support requests you can process, the more accurate is going to be your data about potential improvements. Which questions and/or which options get picked the most? Are people asking the same questions? And if so, can you eliminate the bottleneck that’s causing the same issue for everyone?
If you get an advanced solution — expect to be able to automate some of your support and business-related tasks. E.g. Sending notifications, marking certain support tickets, and storing data.
And most of the said factors come back to the topics of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The more developments happen in both of these areas, the more availability there is going to be for providing consistent support to your customers.
Who will benefit from Chatbots the most?
I think, for the most part, any kind of a service-based business can benefit enormously from chatbots. Do you run a SaaS product with a ton of features? Chances are, your visitors will quickly get lost in finding the information they need.
So, you can configure your onboarding process in a way that gives your customers the help they need. Spotify, Whole Foods, and Sephora are some of the big-names using chatbots on their websites.
And don’t get it mistaken, either. Chatbots can be used outside of customer support, too. At least, the fundamental support.
Many business owners are using chatting tools and software to manage travel related tasks, and also to provide eCommerce quality of life improvements.
You can configure your chatbot to monitor how much time a user has spent on a product page. If it goes above a specific threshold, you can unfold the widget to encourage discussion. Who knows, perhaps the customer needs a little encouragement to close the sale!
Most of the time, you’ll be locked to specific features as specified by your chatbot software provider. So, looking for as many unique solutions is the way to go.
We’ll showcase some great choices momentarily, but before we do, let’s answer the following question.
Does your WordPress site need a Chatbot?
This isn’t a trick question. And the answer depends entirely on you and your needs. Are you a WordPress blogger and don’t do much else than publish posts? In that case, you probably don’t need a chatbot added to your site.
Are you a WordPress user but also maintain a business? Do you provide services and/or a straight-up product? Do you use WordPress as your primary CMS? In this case, you might have to consider your options.
I think most people get excited about new technologies, but whether you need it in your day to day life is an entirely different question.
And that’s kind of it, really.
Depending on your needs and the size of your business, you’ll need to assess individually whether this kind of software is going to benefit your digital endeavors or not.
WordPress Plugins for Adding a Chatbot to Your Site
Alright. So, we got all the questions out of the way. Let’s take a look at some WordPress plugins that provide chatbot capabilities. Shall we?
Facebook’s Messenger app is a pretty universal IM solution, and most people have it installed on their phones. But, did you know that it’s also a very popular choice for providing live chat solutions? Many businesses use Messenger for their chatbots and live chat because customers can take their conversation with them.
And also, you can your Messenger contact list as a subscribers list of sorts. This gives you leverage to send out special offers, reminders, and other notifications.
The plugin can be configured for several different use cases. All website visitors will be asked to input their Facebook credentials in order to use the live chat feature. This ensures that the people who do use the widget are actually real people.
In terms of features, the list is fairly solid. And all reviews so far have been 5-stars only. You can change the default language, and you can apply custom styling for the widget. Also, you can configure custom greetings and delay when the popup appears in the viewport.
Further, you can disable the widget to be shown on specific pages or posts, but also categories and other types of taxonomies. Last but not least, the WP-Chatbot plugin is fully compatible with WooCommerce.
With 4,000 users — Collect.Chat is quickly gaining traction in the WordPress community. The plugin aims to provide a seamless means to integrate a live chatbot experience inside your WordPress site.
Don’t wait for customers to reach out to you manually, and engage them before they leave your site. You can configure Collect.Chat to appear within the users’ viewport based on different types of criteria.
You can even collect email addresses and add people to your funnel or subscriber lists automatically. Also, Collect.Chat will store and create reports of all historic interaction data. As a result, you can generate monthly or yearly overviews for things that people need help with the most.
It’s surprisingly simple to configure the plugin. And I was pleasantly surprised by the number of customization options provided in this plugin. You can manage widget position, button style, color schemes, and choose a custom avatar to display for the robot.
Likewise, you’re able to configure all other external and internal resources that the chatbot provides to the user.
IBM Watson allows conducting rigorous and faster researches and helps enterprises discover new opportunities using advanced AI and machine learning. It allows extracting meaningful and important information by analyzing diverse data sources faster and more accurately. Enterprises can preempt and anticipate disruptions by constantly monitoring system/equipment conditions. This allows organizations to identify issues before they turn into disasters and cost more in the long-run.
This plugin will give you the entire power structure of IBM Watson to help you deliver better customer experiences. Shortly after setting up, the Watson system will have learned enough about your business to start answering questions.
Watson can understand things like navigation structure, frequently asked questions, and also supports custom input. Further, IBM’s Watson is capable of connecting people with real support technicians, so as long as you provide the necessary contact information.
The plugin itself is based on the Watson Assistant framework. And it is hosted within IBM’s very own Cloud infrastructure.
This does mean that you need to signup for IBM Cloud, but fortunately, you can get a free Lite account which doesn’t require any payment details upfront. IBM offers many unique solutions and premium tools to help you achieve pristine chatbot experiences.
At the moment, with this plugin, you can do things like personalized responses. The plugin will fetch real customer information so that it can ‘talk back’ using real information. Also, you can feed Watson with rich media, such as photos, custom response intervals, and outgoing links.
It’s some pretty powerful stuff. And not to mention, completely free!
Gobot is a conversation-based marketing solution which helps business owners to acquire new leads faster. You can qualify, categorize, and onboard new leads effortlessly. Also, you can schedule meeting times, or connect leads with real support people — all without needing to be there in person. Gobot’s state of the art chatbot technology is revolutionizing the marketing industry.
In many ways, the Gobot robot is like your friendly support companion. It can take care of quite a lot of questions and tasks. But, when is pressed for an in-depth response — it can directly connect the customer to a live customer representative.
Also, when Gobot does make a connection to a live rep — it will provide the given rep with a concise list of resources that were discussed beforehand. As a result, you get a clear overview, and resources, for what the customer needs help with.
Gobot allows you to create a highly targeted message based on the specific page or traffic referral source your visitor followed to arrive at your site. This allows you to segment your email list and group your subscribers based on their interest and interaction with your website.
This isn’t your average chatting robot, and as such, should be paid close attention to. Best of all, it’s completely free, including all the ‘premium’ features. According to the Gobot website, they’re still in active development and looking for ways to monetize the product in the feature.
So, it’s clear that chatbots are here to stay. It’s also clear that they can provide immense value if used within the right context. And context is exactly what you need to use if you’re still trying to decide whether you need this new tech or not.
I think any business that is dealing with more than 100+ active customers needs to experiment with using these real-time support technologies. You never know how many leads you’re going to miss until you start monitoring your entire traffic.
And the best part is that you can get a decent solution literally without paying a cent. Quite a few projects on GitHub are also offering free chatbot solutions. So, there’s always the open-source community to turn to if WordPress plugins get limited in their free feature functionality.
Anyway, what do you think about chatbots? Do you think your business can benefit from them? Let us know in the comment section below!