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How to Get Started with Chatbots for SME Owners

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been taking a look at Chatbots, the digital onscreen assistants that pop up on many websites you visit to ask if you need help.  We’ve also brought our readers some information on why chatbots are becoming such a popular option on some of the busiest e-commerce website, due in no small measure to the business benefits they bring.

As a small business owner, you may think that developing a chatbot for your online retail website will cost a small fortune – nothing could be further from the truth. 

When the Internet first became popular, we soon saw the appearance of platforms that enabled websites to be built by non-developers, such as WordPress and Wix.  The same thing is happening with chatbots – there are providers that enable you to build your own chatbot without having the learn to code or learn any new skills at all.  These providers usually offer both a free and a premium service, ensuring that there are no financial barriers to entry when it comes to the world of chatbots.

Using a platform to build your chatbot offers several advantages:

  • You don’t need any programming knowledge of coding skills.
  • A platform will support numerous types of businesses and CMS platforms
  • It will integrate with all the major payment systems
  • It can take orders direct from Facebook comments and Messenger
  • It will recognise variations of the keywords being used
  • It enables you to promote deals and offers to your customers on demand
  • It integrates seamlessly with both Facebook comments and Messenger – these are the places where most people hang out and communicate online.

This is good news for small business owners – it means you can build your own chatbot (or delegate the task to an employee) and start offering your website visitors an enhanced user experience in which they can gain information 24/7 from your chatbot.

When choosing a chatbot tool service, look for a provider that offers the following features:

  • cloud-based script design
  • deployment to your app, website or social media
  • analytical tools that you can use to test how effective your chatbot is in order to make adjustments that ensure success.

Chatbots really are the future of online commerce and progress in AI (artificial intelligence) means that they will get smarter by the day, improving the way in which they communicate with us and help to bring growth to the companies that harness their power. 

By adopting the use of a chatbot now, your current customers will become familiar with them right from the start.  Your chatbot will also provide a round-the-clock support service to back up your existing support channels.

Now is the time to invest in spending some time creating a quality chatbot that will engage with your online audience, promote engagement and increase sales. 

Next week, we’ll be taking a look at best practice to follow when creating your chatbot – be sure to tune in by following us on Facebook or Twitter.