Ultimate Chatbot Guide: Create chatbots to assist your customers 24/7

Reading time: 24 minutes11.05.2022
Ultimate Chatbot Guide: Create chatbots to assist your customers 24/7

Conversational marketing makes human communication a top priority in business. But do your agents have to be responsible for every single interaction with your audience? Absolutely not!

Hi! It’s Dashly here, and this is the ultimate guide to chatbots in 2022. This article is a must if you want to know:

  • what a chatbot is and how it works;
  • how a chatbot can support your business processes;
  • the best chatbot solutions.

In this article, we brought together everything you need to learn about chatbots to use them successfully. But it’s only the first part of our ultimate guide to chatbots! If you want to become a pro and launch successful chatbot campaigns, check out our other articles:

You’re here 👉 Ultimate Guide to Chatbots in 2022

Part 2 What is a chatbot

Part 3 Chatbot benefits for your business

Part 4 Chatbots future trends and experts’ opinion on them

Part 5 7 tips on how to configure chatbots on your website

Part 6 10-step guide on how to create a chatbot in 15 minutes

Part 7 10 chatbots that will facilitate the work of your marketing, sales, and support teams

Part 8 10 chatbots to level up your customer service

We have an exciting way to go. Let’s start!

What is a chat bot, and how does it work

A chatbot is a software that simulates human-like messaging with customers in a chat. It can be used on websites, apps, messengers, etc. Picture it as a receptionist in a hotel. It greets newcomers and helps them get settled.

You can set up a chat bot to deal with FAQs, lead qualification, and a number of other basic tasks. Imagine how much time you can save by automating these processes.

There are two types of chatbots:

  1. Rule-based chatbots operate based on preconfigured scenarios. These chatbots have a set of questions and answers that help learn more about the customer’s problem.
    Rule-based chatbots don’t understand the context of the conversation. So, if a customer uses words not included in the chatbot’s script, it will route the conversation to an agent. This type of chat bot is easy to set up, and they’re quite cheap compared to their counterparts. These two factors make them so popular.
  2. AI chatbots have more freedom in their communication. Just like rule-based chatbots, they need some preconfigured questions and answers to start. But further interaction is based on machine learning — an AI chat bot adjusts to customer’s messaging. Besides, it learns from the previous conversation. So you don’t need to update it manually all the time.

What is a bot, and what can it do to help my business? Find answers to these questions in our article.

how do chat bots work

What are the benefits of chatbots?

With your business growing, it’s hard to keep things under control, isn’t it? Long waiting for an agent to resolve the customer’s issue. Emails with special offers, lying unread in spam. More and more visitors, leaving your website unqualified. All these issues can be resolved with a chatbot.

Increase customer experience level by reducing Response Time. It can be hard to provide instant support with limited human resources. So, set up a chat bot to deal with customer’s FAQ fast.

As a result, your agents have more time for dealing with really hot or difficult requests.

Boost sales by dealing with all the questions in advance. Set up a chat bot to answer questions about pricing. Trust it with a bit of advertising too! Let your chat bot tell visitors about your advantages over competitors.

Well-set chat bot can bring you +31% sales growth. It can decrease the hesitation before the purchase by dealing with customers’ major worries and questions.

Improve lead generation by leaving email capture to a chatbot. Have you heard about banner blindness? Chatbots can help you avoid it.

Chatbots handle almost 70% of conversations from start to finish. It means they can engage the audience. And they do it pretty well! Thus, chatbots might be way more successful in lead capturing than lead forms.

Chat bot trends in 2022

Marketing automation stimulates chatbot implementation in various industries. It already handles simple queries very well. But in the future, chatbots will learn to identify customer tone and intent.

With the help of sentiment analysis, chatbots will be able to tell apart positive and negative messages and even understand sarcasm.

But these are trends of the more distant future.

As for 2022, experts predict chatbots segmentation and even individualization based on extensive customer data. In short, one conversation with a chatbot will never be like the other, because one customer is never like the other.

Despite the rapid development of chatbots future trends, experts don’t believe they will replace human agents completely. They’re more likely to complement each other to provide a better customer experience.

Another growing trend is “focus on conversation”! Right now, you can’t predict what words your customers will use, so you can’t prepare your chatbot for everything. But you have a massive base of actual user conversations that is constantly growing.

So experts assume further chatbot development will be based on its experience with customers. Don’t hesitate to learn from your audience!

Chatbots use cases

Chatbot is a multifunctional tool that will be helpful for your support, marketing, and sales teams. Now let’s delve into its use for each of them.

Customer support

The bigger your business grows, the busier your support team gets! Chatbot can help handle an overwhelming number of customers queries.

First, you can delegate basic tasks to a chatbot. Without human involvement, it can:

  • help visitors with website navigation;
  • deal with FAQs;
  • share articles from your knowledge base, so customers could find answers themselves.

Chatbot can reduce your response time significantly. Your customers won’t have to wait long anymore, as chatbot replies within seconds. Besides, it can deal with queries 24/7, even when your team is asleep.

One more cool feature of a chatbot is conversation routing. When a website visitor writes to a chat, chatbot finds out details about the issue. If it’s easy to solve, it won’t even get to people!

If the problem is more complex, a chatbot will assign the conversation to a qualified agent.

We have an article on the best customer service chatbots, check it out!

Marketing

Chatbot can also level up your marketing teamwork. Set it up to capture leads, and you’ll collect new contacts in your database even during non-working hours. Chatbots proved to be more effective in it than lead forms we all got used to.

With a chatbot, you’ll increase overall customers experience on the website. Set it up to greet new visitors, and recommend relevant products to those who used your service before.

To help you set up a chatbot for lead generation, Dashly prepared a playbook for product marketers. You can get it here 👇

chat bots scenarios

Sales

Chatbot will save your sales team time by answering repetitive questions about your product. This way, your agents will have more time to focus on more complex tasks.

Save your sales reps hours of “homework” when they explore each user in detail to provide the best service. Chatbot can do the pre-qualification on its own. It will:

  • find out prospects’ needs and what they look for;
  • gather contact data;
  • send the data to the right agents.

Chatbot can boost the efficiency of all your teams and bring your customers experience to another level! Just divide tasks between your human agents and chatbots wisely.

To help you with setup, Dashly created ready-to-use campaigns to facilitate your teams’ work.

chatbots for marketing
chatbot for marketing
how do chatbots work
chatbots for sales
chatbots for sales and marketing
how to create a chatbot

How different types of businesses can use chatbots

With a wide range of tasks, it can perform, a chatbot comes in handy for different kinds of businesses. First, let’s overview how it can help in eCommerce.

Chatbots for eCommerce

  • Since a chatbot can perform simple tasks, you can set it up to greet new website visitors in a chat.
  • It can also send special offers or ask whether a customer needs help.
  • A chatbot can serve as a virtual assistant too. A customer can turn to it to specify delivery details. This will save your agents’ time and alleviate their workload.
  • Besides, you can set it up to capture leads. A chatbot can offer a discount or a free delivery in exchange for an email or another contact. After that, you use this contact for further nurturing and convert more visitors into buyers.

It’s not all! Dashly team created a map of 13 chatbot campaigns that can help your eCommerce business.

Chatbots for SaaS

In SaaS companies, chatbots are more useful for the support team.

  • Just like in eCommerce, it provides proactive communication with customers and helps them if they need any help on your website.
  • You can also set up an onboarding campaign. Chatbot sends a couple of messages to a customer, showing them the main solutions and how to configure them. This way, a customer will know all basic data without extra actions.
  • A chatbot can collect feedback for you. It gives you an opportunity to enhance new solutions and the customer experience in general. The majority of customers prefer to give their ratings or comments in a chat, rather than click a link to a survey.
how do chat bots work
Two threads with different user reactions

Chatbot can also book demos for customers, capture and qualify leads, and then segment them. We made 16 chatbot campaigns to boost your SaaS team’s development.

Chatbots for EdTech

  • Chatbot capture and qualify leads 24/7 without your agents’ involvement. Visitors’ segmentation allows a chatbot to personalize its messaging with visitors.
  • Collect customers feedback to enhance your work in the future.
  • Close more deals by collecting additional customers data and providing your sales team with it.
  • Facilitate your support team work by dealing with FAQs and other basic tasks.
  • Provide a personal approach and pick the best matching features for each segment of your audience.
how do chat bots work
Customer service chatbot scenario for an inactive student that visited a website

If you’ve never used a chatbot before, Dashly prepared 8 ready-made chatbot campaigns for online schools.

How to create a chatbot

There are two main ways to configure a chatbot. You can create it from scratch or use a service with a convenient builder. Let’s consider both options.

Hand-coding your own chatbot requires a team of developers or some other service.

On the one hand, you get full control over your chatbot’s functionality. And you don’t depend on the platform’s limitations.

On the other hand, building a chatbot from scratch is a time-consuming process. Testing and mistakes correction may take a lot of time. So is it worth it? The decision is up to you!

Use a service to set up a chatbot on your website. Platform builders are way easier to figure out, even if you have no experience with such software. Most of them have a simple drag-and-drop builder and offer ready-to-use templates.

That’s what Dashly chatbot builder looks like:

how do chat bots work
Chatbot setup in the Dashly builder. Try how it works 7-days free

You write the messages, then configure response buttons. In addition, you can see a chat from customer’s perspective in the interactive preview.

Of course, you’ll be limited by the service functionality. But using a service is a good way to find out how a chatbot can support your business. Besides, it’s easy and doesn’t take any special skills.

Read our article on how to create a chatbot in 15 minutes!

Best chatbot software

So let’s talk about tools variety in more detail. We picked five services that offer chatbot software. Their functionality varies a bit, and so does their pricing. So, here you’ll find solutions for businesses of different sizes and budgets.

Dashly

Dashly is a conversational marketing platform. It helps increase sales with the same website traffic and improve customer experience. Among a wide range of features, you’ll find a chatbot.

It’s aimed to facilitate the work of your support, marketing, and sales team. Dashly chatbot:

  • Captures and qualifies leads;
  • Deals with FAQs and other basic questions 24/7;
  • Gathers customers feedback;
  • Recommends products;
  • Onboards new visitors, providing basic information about your service.

With Dashly chatbot builder, you can set up a chatbot on your website within 15-20 minutes. The interface is intuitive and easy to use. You won’t need developers’ support or even experience in coding for setup.

Dashly chatbot:

  • offers up to 10 possible response options to each message and behaves depending on the replies;
  • tracks and saves information about visitor’s behavior and answers into lead cards;
  • shares files, links, and knowledge base articles;
  • routes conversations to live chat agents.

In addition to a chatbot, Dashly offers:

Pricing: from $39 per month

Dashly offers three plans with unlimited agents seats. So it suits businesses of any size. The price starts from $39 per month and depends on the number of unique website visitors.

how do you create a chat bot
Learn more about Dashly plans and choose the one that suits your business

Dashly offers a 7-day free trial to test the full service functionality. You can also try Dashly on a limited forever free plan!

Intercom

Intercom helps businesses provide an excellent omnichannel experience for their audience. It’s perfect for enterprises. But Intercom offers limited plans for small businesses too.

Within a big toolset, Intercom customers get a chatbot. It can:

  • engage website visitors in the conversation;
  • qualify leads;
  • share articles from a knowledge base;
  • notify customers on updates;
  • deal with FAQs and other customers’ queries;
  • schedule video calls.

To empower a chatbot, Intercom offers solutions:

– live chat;

– triggered messages;

– email campaigns;

– customer base management;

– conversation routing;

– knowledge base;

– A/B testing;

– message segmentation and personalization;

– push notifications.

Pricing: from $67/user per month to $999

Chatbot is available with an additional module for plans above $99. If you choose a plan with automation features that costs $499 or $999, you get access to custom chatbots for customers engagement.

A chatbot for customers questions and integrations goes only with advanced lead qualification (from $499) and support automation modules (from $249).

Intercom pricing for chat bot

If you’re a startup, Intercom offers you a special plan that starts from $67 per month. But you have to match its startup criteria:

  • certain agent count requirement;
  • investment level;
  • being a new Intercom customer.

Intercom gives its customers 14 days to test the service functionality. But you’ll have to provide your credit card details for it.

Drift

Drift chat bot
Drift digital service

Drift is a digital service that mostly aims to facilitate the work of the sales team. For this, they offer a chatbot. It will support your agents operations aimed to increase visitor engagement and lead qualification. So later you could convert more visitors into buyers.

Drift’s chatbot can:

  • engage website visitors in the conversation by offering them help;
  • qualify leads;
  • deal with FAQs with help of a knowledge base;
  • fill in lead cards with users’ responses;
  • book demos for available time slots.

Remember that you’ll have to train your chatbot with the Drift’s team beforehand.

In addition to a chatbot, you can get:

  • live chat;
  • email campaigns;
  • video calls;
  • automation (including bots).

Price: from $0 to $1500 per month

Drift offers its customers four plans. It has a free plan for small businesses. Premium, Advanced, and Enterprise plans are for medium and large companies. But you’ll find out the price for your business only after a one-to-one chat with an agent.

Drift chat bot pricing

We did some research to learn more about Drift price.

  • With a free plan, you get a live chat, welcome email messages, email signatures, and basic reporting. You also get a number of integrations: Slack, Vidyard, Google Analytics, and calendar. You have a 100 contacts limit and only one agent seat.
  • With the Premium plan, you get a chatbot, live chat, proactive messages, canned responses, revenue reports, etc. Premium costs from $400 to $1,500 per month/agent (thank you, Melissa Pardo-Bunte). If you want more agent seats, you’ll have to pay an extra $80 per month.
  • To get access to role-based access management, A/B testing, and multilingual chatbots for multiple brands, you’ll have to upgrade your plan to Advanced or even Enterprise. They cost $4800 per year.

Drift offers no trial period, but you can test the service on a free plan.

LiveChat+ChatBot

One business developed two full-fledged products — a live chat and a chatbot. But here we’ll focus on ChatBot.

This service is affordable for businesses of any size in any industry. This chatbot can:

  • qualify leads;
  • deal with basic customers queries;
  • answer more complex users’ questions after some training;
  • route conversations to the right agents;
  • share images;
  • send messages to particular segments of your audience;
  • engage your audience in the conversation not only on the website but on Facebook messenger and in socials too.

To empower a chatbot, you can start using LiveChat. With it, you’ll get access to:

  • tickets system;
  • live chat analytics;
  • various integrations with email platforms, Facebook, Slack, CMS systems, etc.

Price: from $19 to $59+ per month

The price for the software will depend on the number of agents in the chat and conversations. ChatBot is like an additional integration of LiveChat. The starting price for LiveChat is $19 per month, but chatbot configuration starts at $50.

LiveChat pricing chat bot
Pricing

You’ll get 14 days to test the chatbot for free.

Gist

Gist chat bot
Gist service

Gist is a service that helps businesses set up omnichannel communication with their audience. It suits any kind of business in various industries. Among its wide range of solutions, you’ll find a chatbot.

Gist’s customer service chatbot will be extremely helpful for your marketing team. It can:

  • qualify leads with a set of questions and answers;
  • schedule calls automatically;
  • recommend articles;
  • route conversations to the right agents.

To improve your customer experience, Gist also offers:

  • live chat;
  • even tracking;
  • lead forms;
  • knowledge base;
  • email marketing automation;
  • API, social media, and CRM integrations;
  • A/B testing.

Pricing: from $0 to $499 per month

Customer service chatbot is included in each Gist’s plan, but there are limits in functionality. The free plan offers simple chatbots, without lead qualification, smart suggestions, and meeting scheduling functions.

With the Professional plan, you’ll get access to a lead qualification chatbot. The Premium plan gives you access to call scheduling and smart suggestions.

Gist pricing chat bot

You can create simple customer service chatbots on a free plan. But you can also have wider functionality on a 14-day free trial period.

The choice of the chat bot service might be tricky. We picked the 7 best tools that offer chatbot software and divided them by tasks they can do for you.

chatbots for marketing sales and support teams

Learn how to choose chatbot software

Hope this guide showed you how useful chatbots can be for business, and now you’re eager to launch the first chatbot yourself! One tricky thing left is the choice of software. There’s no universal service that suits everyone. So here are a few tips to help you decide.

  • Decide which problems you want a chat bot to resolve. Do your potential customers leave your website unqualified? Does your team struggle with the endless flow of queries? These tasks require chatbots with different functionality. So before choosing a service, make sure it has solutions that meet your needs.
  • Check if you can integrate a chat bot into your workspace. For more effective work of a chatbot, a platform you selected should allow integrations with other services you already use. This way, chatbots will be an integral part of your ecosystem. For example, an integration with your CRM system would facilitate the process of data gathering.
  • Make sure chat bot software fits your budget. There are plenty of services that offer chat bot software. Industry leaders offer top software with respective pricing. But you can always look for cheaper alternatives with similar functionality. Maybe you don’t even need all the solutions they offer? Just go back to our first point and think about the issues you need to resolve 😉

Best practices for all type of chatbots

A chat bot can support you greatly, only if you set it up carefully. The conversation is too long and irrelevant? The visitors get bored and close the chat. And it’s the best-case scenario!

In the worst one, visitors get irritated and leave your website.

To help you avoid such situations, the Dashly team prepared a few tips to learn how to launch an effective and helpful chatbot on your website.

Let’s overview them!

Define your goal

Cliché? Sure! But it’s probably the most important advice of all. Before opening the builder, think about what task you want your chat bot to do.

Improve user experience?

Qualify leads?

Great!

Notify customers of product updates?

Amazing!

Make your goal clear.

Let’s take Dashly for example. In the blog, you can find chat bot campaigns for eCommerce and SaaS. So we launched a chatbot that offers a demo to those who downloaded the campaigns map.

chat bot offering book

Book demos. That was the main objective of the chatbot. So we constructed a short and straightforward conversation, not to bore customers and get primary information for the sales team.

Always be relevant

Of course, you can launch a chat bot to engage all website visitors. But the most effective chatbots are the targeted ones. Offer additional products to those customers that just completed the purchase. Lend a hand to those who wander around your pricing page for a while.

In Dashly, the finance service team used a chatbot to collect feedback from new feature beta testers.

chat bots gathers feedback

The more relevant your campaign is, the higher the chances that a user engages in the conversation. Personalized communication is possible even with a chatbot!

Keep conversations short and concise

While trying to stay relevant and precise in the conversation, don’t overload visitors with questions. The fewer steps they have to make, the better. The optimal number of messages will depend on the situation and the level of user’s engagement.

chat bots
Examples of bad and good welcome messages.

If a user got to your website for the first time, it’s nice to have a small talk first. But if you can get rid of unnecessary messages, do it. If a visitor is on the product page for quite a while, cut to the chase and offer help straightaway.

Let chatbots and human agents work together

Well-set chatbots will carry out a lot of different tasks for you. It can support customers with navigation, deal with FAQs, and collect data. These are simple issues that could be solved automatically. But if a more complex issue occurs, set up your chatbots to route conversation to human agents.

This division of responsibilities leads to a more comfortable user experience. Besides, always give website visitors a chance to contact live agents at any step of the conversation.

Believe me, you don’t want to deal with an angry customer who called for human assistance for 30 minutes!

Make your chatbots friendly and humane

Be very careful introducing a visitor to your product. The colder a lead is, the less pressure you should put on them. Chatbots are always online to support your visitors at any step of their customer journey.

Be polite. You can also use images and GIFs, they make communication more informal.

A chat bot is like a character for me. This is not a person, but it should speak the human language. Humanness occurs when you get rid of clichés and officialese.

Hallway tests are very helpful. You find unclear statements and rewrite them.

Polly
Polly
Marketer at Dashly

Humanness is important. However, always be honest and clarify that a user is talking to a robot. Trust and mutual respect are crucial for any business.

These are not all the insights from Dashly experts. Check out another chat bot best practices and take the best out of this tool!

Examples of the Dashly customers’ chatbots

Check out how Dashly chatbots look on customer’s website!

Powered by Dashly. Check it here
Powered by Dashly. Check it here

There are much more chat bot examples.

FAQ on chatbots

What is a chatbot?

Chat bot is like a virtual assistant that helps to enhance your team workflows and user experience. You can set it up to carry out a wide range of tasks. Chatbots can:

— engage website visitors in the conversation;

— handle FAQs;

— capture and qualify leads;

— schedule meetings;

— offer help;

— route conversations to human agents, etc.

Learn more about chatbots and their functionality

How do chatbots work in terms of customer service?

In most cases, users interact with a chatbot via messages. However, there are voice chatbots as well. Usually, chatbots text a user in a chat and engages them in the conversation.

Of course, a visitor can send a message first, then a chat bot starts working with the problem on its own, or route a chat to a human agent.

How to create a chatbot for customers?

There are two main ways to configure a chatbot. You can code it from scratch. But if you don’t have such experience, you’ll need a live chat guide and developers’ help. Or you can use a service for it. Most services offer convenient chat bot builders with an intuitive interface.

Then you come up with different scenarios and launch chatbots on your website.

How much does a chatbot cost?

The price for chat bot software differs from service to service. But in most cases, chatbots go together with other solutions, like live chat, knowledge base, etc.

In Dashly, chatbots are included in three plans, starting from $39/mo. So it can be used by businesses of different size and budget.

You can choose the best plan, or try to build your first chat bot without code for free on the 7-day trial.

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