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What relevance do Chatbots have to B2B ecommerce?

By
Richard Gallacher
March 2, 2017

Chatbots are still trending massively and many believe they’ll be the No.1 contributor to Gartner’s prediction that 85% of customer interactions won’t be handled by humans by 2020.

But what does this all mean to B2B trading companies?

So, firstly what are Chatbots?

If you don’t know yet, chatbots (or bots as they’re typically known) are micro software programmes which are embedded into messaging platforms (like Twitter, Skype, Snapchat, Facebook). They don’t require users to install anything (like an app) and are typically focussed on automating popular, mundane or low-touch tasks with the aim of making customer interactions and services more efficient.

Can Bots be used by B2B trading companies?

Below are just a few ways chatbots can be used by typical B2B companies like manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers:

  • Answering customer’s questions – probably the easiest way to kick-start your first bot is to use one to automatically answer your customers frequently asked questions. Bots are available 365-24-7 and can consistently deliver real-time advice at scale with less (or even, no) operators. This is especially advantageous if you’re selling across different time-zones or supporting multiple languages.
  • Capturing and escalating complaints – a bot’s ability to instantly detect negative sentiment and provide immediate acknowledgment of customer frustration is highly effective.
  • Lead generation – bots can be used to create and persistently follow-up potential leads in a personalised way, without annoying them.
  • Promotional alerts – bots can instantly notify customers about new products, clearance offers, promotions or discounts.
  • Conversational selling – bots can provide customers with a high level of individual attention at real-time, for example making introductions to subject matter experts, helping to identify suitable products, making personalised recommendations, etc….
  • Status updates – bots can answer questions about orders placed, credit limits or delivery tracking information.
  • Returns – bots can be used to help customers with goods returns.
  • Customer testimonials – with their opportunity to quickly detect positive sentiment, bots can be used to gather and record valuable customer feedback without annoying the customer.

So, do you need a B2B chatbot?

B2B brands can’t ignore chatbots. The lure of such a huge audience coupled with improved purchasing and customer support experiences is too important. Messaging is instinctive to an entire generation, but it’s not just youngsters! The appeal of chatbots is plain to anyone who’s mobile or social media connected – which of course includes millions of business customers.

These are the key reasons why a B2B bot which fully integrates with your company and delivers a brand-new customer experience, or solves a painful problem (regardless how simple or small) should be featuring on your 3 year plans.

Top 5 Tips – Building A Bot

  • Make it personal and friendly – give your bot a positive personality. Using natural language that’s short and sweet is the best way to get your customers attention and keep them hooked. Just make sure your customer knows they’re talking to a bot and don’t try to trick them into thinking it’s a real-person.
  • Set realistic expectations – don’t rush into launching a chatbot because it’s the latest thing. Make sure your bot is credible and clearly communicate its purpose at the outset to avoid any mismatched expectations. If in any doubt keep it simple.
  • Know when to involve a human – there are clearly significant limitations to what bots can do. Customers will therefore appreciate and trust bots which seamlessly transfer the message to a more skilled person when needed.
  • Collect and use the information – bots present a huge opportunity to gain massive insight into the demands of your customers.
  • Listen – encourage feedback and use it to continuously evolve your bot.

 


Find Out More

If you’re a manufacturer, distributor or wholesaler interested in enterprise B2B ecommerce solutions please contact TrueCommerce Netalogue at [email protected] or call +44 845 643 6600.