Chatbots are known as great tools for support staff, but a new trend is emerging — bots are becoming increasingly popular for sales departments. In the 2022 Chatbot Trends Report, Intercom surveyed businesses owners and found that their bots are now primarily used for sales services.
Why are chatbots becoming so popular in sales? They’re a quick, intuitive way to get answers to common sales questions.
FAQ chatbots create a smooth sales experience by providing leads and prospects with self-service options — giving agents more time and space to focus on closing deals with the most promising leads.
Imagine this scenario: you’re interested in a new software, but you need to know if it integrates with everyday tech stacks.
You browse the company website, but you can’t seem to find an answer. There is no FAQ knowledge base, and after several frustrating minutes, you’re stuck. Your only option is to call the company directly, and the receptionist suggests setting up an appointment with a sales rep who can tell you more about the software.
This call is a step you’re not ready for — after all, you don’t even know whether the software will integrate with your current setup. Enter your next headache.
Many of us are familiar with this frustration.
According to the Drift 2021 State of Conversational Sales research, 41% of sellers reported that their buyers are most frustrated by being asked to schedule a meeting before they’re ready.
AI-based FAQ chatbots shine in this situation. Rather than have leads search through extensive knowledge bases themselves, these chatbots quickly gather suggested FAQ results based on the intent of the lead’s question.
FAQ chatbots are a low-friction way to introduce leads to your offerings without tying up your sales team or coming across as pushy. Use these chatbots to reduce time-consuming calls with visitors who aren’t quite ready to chat with reps, and, in turn, you’ll reduce overall response times and help agents focus on nurturing the right leads.
FAQ chatbots can deliver complete, helpful answers to leads based on pre-defined rules or natural language processing.
All bots are “trained” to answer questions. Rule-based bots reference a list of rules implemented upfront, and NLP bots gather and interpret information from chats, which means they learn over time.
Natural language processing (NLP) is a style of artificial intelligence that helps computers interpret human languages, so bots using this technology can give especially comprehensive answers.
NLP chatbots — commonly called “AI chatbots” — like Cohere — allow visitors to ask questions in their own words, and the bot delivers suggestions based on question intent. While NLP chatbots take longer to train and implement than rule-based bots, their ability to improve and learn over time means they’ll get continually better at providing helpful answers.
Cohere offers NLP chatbots that go a step further. Just point them to your FAQ and you are ready to get started immediately, no lengthy implementation times.
Rule-based chatbots are also known as “decision tree” chatbots. Unlike NLP chatbots, they cannot understand user intent and do not learn over time. These bots can hold simple conversations based on if/then logic, meaning they cannot answer questions outside of sales reps’ pre-defined rules. These bots are typically quick to implement since their design is straightforward.
Both bot types can respond to basic questions from leads, but the NLP chatbot can handle a broader range of inquiries, thanks to its artificial intelligence.
Once leads are prepared to talk to sales staff, they can use the FAQ chatbot to connect directly to an agent.
Alternatively, if leads cannot find answers to their questions with the FAQ chatbot, they can let the chatbot know they need help and connect to a live agent. Some FAQ chatbots will also automatically hand off leads to an agent after a specified number of unsuccessful messages.
Leads can rest easy knowing they won’t have to repeat their questions. Once the FAQ bot connects to an agent, the chatbot text is viewable to the sales rep, so they have immediate context for their conversation.
Sometimes live chat messaging is sufficient to answer questions, but occasionally leads will need hands-on, visual guidance — like a product demo or step-by-step tutorials. With the lead’s permission, reps can use a cobrowsing tool — like Cohere — to access a lead’s browser and guide them through product features, sign-ups, and more.
Reps can continue chatting with the lead or call them to answer any questions as they cobrowse. This multi-channel sales communication empowers reps to highlight the value of their product and leave a positive impression on potential customers.
Reps can avoid getting stuck with repetitive, time-consuming tasks by relying on chatbot automation to answer leads’ early-stage, common questions. Instead, they can spend more time following up with qualified leads who are ready to buy.
Reps can also invest more time and energy in activities that a bot can’t do — like brainstorming lead generation ideas, exploring buyer pain points, hosting product demos, and researching competitors.
When sales reps can focus on high-level sales functions, they can improve sales volume and close deals faster.
FAQ chatbots can provide helpful responses that pique leads’ interest in your brand and move them closer to making a purchase. But all too often, the chatbot experience is clunky. Rule-based chatbots are common, and their limited capabilities and inability to understand intent can make it frustrating for leads to find the correct answers. It simply feels like you’re talking to a robot.
FAQ chat systems using NLP deliver helpful answers with a human touch.
By offering customization tools and NLP technology that gets smarter over time, Cohere can provide a smooth, conversational FAQ chat experience that delivers the right answers the first time.