Categories: NewsTechnology

Why Chatbots for CRM Matter for Your Business

Whether you order a pizza, taxi, or ask for a consultation at a bank via instant messenger, you will probably deal with a chatbot at some point in a day or week, though you may even not notice.

CRM itself is a powerful sales and marketing tool for many business processes automation, but a chatbot can push your business an additional step forward.

Uber, Lyft, PizzaHut, Sephora, the WallStreet Journal, and many more brands have already built chatbots into their software to increase sales, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction.

How can chatbots enhance the productivity of your interaction with CRM? Let’s take a closer look at this question through the angle of CRM challenges that sales managers deal with most often.

 

  1. Valuable Data Loss

 

Salespeople no longer sit in their offices in front of desktop computers. They have all necessary data on their smartphones and can convert leads and close deals on the go. However, such mobility has engendered the problem of data loss.

Image by Pixabay

Reasons:

  • Small screens on mobile devices are uncomfortable for entering data.
  • Sales reps can forget to add something if they fill in CRM once returning to the office at the end of the day.

How can chatbots help?

Because of the small screen sizes of mobile devices and a shortage of time, it may not always be easy to enter information into the CRM. You have to log in, switch among tabs to fill in all the necessary data, zoom in and out on the screen to enter into the fields, remember to save your work, etc. It may take a lot of time and effort and, besides, some CRM workflows are really not explicit and require additional thinking, especially if the system is large and bloated. Instead of these mundane tasks, you would rather pitch one more prospect.

Integration of a chatbot into your CRM can help to solve this issue. The greatest benefit of using a chatbot for CRM is that you have only a single message field to type in as you would do in your messenger. Chatbots can continuously go through the necessary workflows, asking you questions and recording your answers in the appropriate system areas seamlessly.

How it works, in practice:

The chatbot is integrated with your CRM and messenger to synchronize information between them. There can also be other enterprise systems connected to this chain (email services, social media, ERP, HRMS, CMS, WMS, etc.).

Let’s imagine that you have just had a call with your Lead and need to make some notes about this conversation. For this purpose, all you need to do is open your messenger (Telegram, Kik, WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, or other) and initiate a dialogue with a bot agent.

Passing through the predefined inquiry workflow, you interactively add all valuable information about the meeting.  

Image by Justbots

In one single dialogue, you can create a new Lead, Contact, Case, Opportunity, Follow-Up Task, and other entities, without the necessity of logging into the CRM. All data is recorded to the CRM via API, automatically filling in the right fields.

For example,

Chatbot Question User Input CRM Record
“Add new Lead?” “John Doe” A new Lead is created
“Any new Opportunity?” “Premium Car Insurance” A new Opportunity is created
“What are the Results of the meeting?” “Need to send our quotes” A Note is added
“Any follow-ups?” “next Monday at 9” A Follow-Up Task is created
“Please provide a Subject for this follow-up” “Check in with John” A Description of the Task is added

 

and so on…

 

Here is Justbots example of how it may look in your CRM after a dialogue:

  1. Missing Opportunities

Salespeople spend just one-third of their day actually talking to prospects. They spend 21% of their day writing emails, 17% entering data, another 17% prospecting and researching leads, 12% going to internal meetings, and 12% scheduling calls.

Image by Pixabay

Presentations, pitches, negotiations, meetings, calls, emails, chats, progress tracking, closing, data analysis and more. This is just part of the list that makes up a sales manager’s daily routine. Nevertheless, none of these tasks can be ignored.

“…more than 75 percent of the 2,000 deals I’ve landed over the years have come from sending follow-up emails.” – says Jason Zook, Founder, IWearYourShirt.com

Having a large number of deals and myriad of tasks on each of them, it is easy to get lost and miss an important event. That’s why setting reminders for follow-up emails, meetings, calls, and deadlines is very important for every salesperson.

Reasons:

  • Difficult to manage data coming from many sources like emails, calls, social media, and messengers, so sales managers can forget meetings and miss deadlines.
  • Difficult to track changes on the deal’s progress.

How can chatbots help?

A CRM chatbot will organize all tasks and follow-up on all scheduled activities, so that you can manage your time even more effectively.

How it works, in practice:

Follow-ups and compliance with deadlines are meaningful for successful deal closings. Chatbots can hint at what steps to do next: they’ll remind you that Mr.Doe is waiting for your call on Friday at 9am, or that you should send a contract to Mrs. Jones to close that deal before Monday, etc.

Besides the reminder function, you will also be notified of the latest updates on your Leads, Prospects, Campaigns, and more. Chatbots can analyze such meaningful aspects like potential revenue or deal closing deadlines to advise which deals one should focus on first.

  1. Poor Understanding of a Customer

Image by Pixabay

Sales managers need a real-time, 360-degree view of their customers so that, when preparing for a meeting or call, they know all about the client. They will win the client’s trust more easily and close the deal faster if they are able to impress him/her with an understanding of their client’s pain points and interests.

Customer retention is one of the most important KPIs for any company and it directly comes from how well you know your clients. Timely reminders of contract prolongation, personalized offers, or just saying “Happy Birthday!” can make your clients happier.

Unfortunately, this may be quite a challenge to find out and organize scattered pieces of data to get the full picture of the client and his needs.

Reasons:

  • Data may be scattered across different sources (like client’s profile, social media, chats, emails).
  • Not enough time for thorough research before each meeting.

 

How can chatbots help?

The reasons to adopt chatbots for CRM are that they can be integrated with social media, email, messenger, inner enterprise databases and apps like ERP and CRM via API. As a result, this incorporation allows it to retrieve necessary data from multiple sources: user profiles, activities on websites, purchase history, transaction history, asked questions, preferences, complaints, etc. All this data, gathered by chatbots, allows the company to get a 360° view of a customer, identify trends and analyze the gaps that a human would not be able to see.

 

How it works, in practice:

Firstly, this can be used for improving the services, taking decisions for changing the marketing campaign, becoming more responsive to customer sentiments and, as a result, staying more competitive with others.

 

Secondly, armed with this knowledge, the sales rep can propose more precise matching of the product or service to the client’s needs, winning his/her trust and closing the deal faster.

 

  1. Time-Consuming Routine Activities

Image by Pixabay

Call-centers are overloaded with incoming calls and requests, most of which repeat from client to client. Answering questions about services, giving recommendations, directing people to the appropriate content, receiving orders, and many other activities can be automated, instead of hiring more employees or sacrificing conversions.

Reasons:

  • Managers spend a lot of time for answering repetitive questions.
  • People hate waiting for answers to their calls or chat requests and go to those who will serve them first.

How can chatbots help?

Connecting your website chatbot to the CRM, you can automatically gather all necessary client information such as name, age, payment data that will be recorded without additional manual efforts. This allows for a significant savings in time when it comes to entering data into the CRM manually.

How it works, in practice:

Use chatbots for business to take away a part of the routine tasks of your employees by automating some processes with chatbots.

For example, RozeExpress, an online flower shop, did just that. By installing Telegram integrated with a chatbot to all company couriers’ smartphones, they reduced delivery management overhead. The courier types in the bot chat information about delivery, bot logs the info in the CRM, changes the status of the order in the system and sends SMS messages to the client. Such a scheme allows savings of up to 40 min of customer service operator work daily.

Chatbots brought a great relief to conversational commerce. Many banks and financial companies use chatbots to answer clients general questions. As an example, Mastercard uses a Facebook Messenger bot to help their clients get information on their account transactions (e.g., “How much did I spend on restaurants in November?”). A user does not need to login into banking apps and navigate through the screens to see necessary information before logging out. This allows for an improved user experience.

What Is the Price of Chatbot for CRM Development?

Depending on the complexity of your projects, time frames, and budget, you can create a chatbot either with the help of a bot builder or go for a custom-tailored solution from scratch. If we talk about a chatbot for CRM, you should focus on custom development, as here we deal with robust business logic, security, user permissions, and unique functionalities.

In general, it is considered that building a chatbot is easier and cheaper than creating a mobile application. The reasons are:

  • No sophisticated UI design is needed, as chatbot uses a messenger UI. All functionalities are combined in a single interface and when, if anything, is changed or added, it doesn’t require app updating.
  • Messengers are free, flexible for changes, well-optimized, and chatbot-friendly.
  • No need to code for multiple mobile platforms.
  • There are ready bot platforms that let developers build, host, test, and deploy chatbots.

Factors that may influence development price and time:

  1. The scope of the project. The more robust interactions, the more time and higher price of development. Ask yourself the following question to understand the necessities:
    1. What is your bot supposed to do? Depending on business logic, it can go through the predefined conversational algorithm of questioning to collect data, take up the burden of answering FAQs, analyze data from multiple sources, or complete more sophisticated tasks.
    2. Are you going to collect payments through a chatbot?
    3. Does it need to integrate with third-parties and other enterprise systems?
    4. Should it recognize text only, or voice and gestures as well?
    5. What level of human speech understanding and AI does it need?
  1. Security. Depending on the industry and tasks that you want to automate with a chatbot, different levels of system protection and user permission rules can be used. For example, if your CRM deals with Finance, Healthcare or other sensitive information spheres, the security of the data transfer should be the highest priority, and, therefore, chatbot development can be more expansive.
  2. Bot infrastructure. Your bot may live either on a bot platform or your own custom infrastructure that allows taking overall control. On the one hand, creating a bot on the chatbot platform is easier, as all development tools and frameworks are provided, but, as a rule, such platforms are open source and this puts security in question. Another pair of shoes is a proprietary infrastructure where all rights for data and code belong to you and there are more guarantees of compliance with security measures.
  3. Adding AI to your bot. This may lift your system to a higher level if a bot can learn human language from every interaction and provide more complex and intelligent analytics. But, this is more complicated and time-consuming from the development point of view.

How to Apply This to Your Business

As stated in the Business Insider report, 80% of businesses plan to incorporate chatbots into their systems by 2020.

Integrating a chatbot with your CRM and other enterprise systems allows for automation of many routine tasks like:

  • answering customer questions
  • setting reminders for deadlines and important events
  • scheduling meetings among multiple participants
  • filling data into the CRM without the necessity to log in
  • analyzing omnichannel information
  • creating a 360-degree customer view

And many more functions that will allow you to increase the efficiency of your business.

Guest

The writer of this post is a guest. Opinions in the article are solely of the writer and do not reflect The Merkle's view.

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