Chatbots: How One Small Business Owner Uses AI to Grow

I’m a tech guy, so I was excited when chatbots became more popular. But even I was surprised to find that chatbox use is growing so fast. According to one report, the U.S. chatbot market was $2.6 billion in 2019 and is predicted to reach $9.4 billion by 2024. 

You might be thinking that only large businesses use chatbots. For a time, that was true. Today, however, thousands upon thousands of small businesses use them. Many companies now provide chatbot services for a monthly fee, and sometimes even for free.

Chatbots, Explained

Chatbots are software programs that are designed to interact with humans. They do this through voice or text conversation. You’ve probably experienced chatbots if you’ve used Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, and through individual websites and apps.

Common uses for chatbots include customer service and support, and lead generation.

For a really in-depth explanation of chatbots, check out this post on Sprout Social.

How One Small Business Owner Uses a Chatbot

Matt Moore is the President/Owner of Athens, GA-based EZ Dent, an automotive paintless dent repair business.

chatbots Matt Moore, President/Owner of Athens, GA-based EZ Dent,

Matt Moore, President/Owner of Athens, GA-based EZ Dent,

Matt is working on growing and scaling his business and is a fan of technology. Last year, he purchased and implemented Hubspot, a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM). Included in his monthly fee was the option to use Hubspot’s chatbot function. 

He had been considering using a chatbot for some time, and he found the Hubspot chatbot easy to use and set up. Matt put himself in the shoes of a customer and created a “conversation tree,” where he created questions, answers, and follow up questions.

Matt’s goals for using the chatbot were clear. He wanted to implement a way to capture leads, and he also wanted a better return on his marketing investment.

“When a potential customer comes to my website, I’ve already put in sweat equity or money (through ads) to get them to visit. If they browse and leave, I’m not getting any return on my investment. By using a chatbot, I get contact information so that I can reach out to them to close the sale, or market to them at a later time,” he says.

The chatbot begins working a few seconds after someone visits the EZ Dent website. After a few seconds, a pop-up window shows up in the bottom right of the screen, offering help. After clicking on the help window, visitors learn they can get estimates and even set up an appointment (many of these requests are after hours). Before that can happen, the chatbot asks for contact information, details on the vehicle, and what type of damage it has.  

chatbots

 This provides Matt with several benefits:

  • Qualified leads at a lower cost (less time that employees need to spend talking with potential customers)
  • Higher-quality after-hours leads. Previously Matt used a form that needed to be filled out; if it wasn’t filled out fully, he got no information. Using the chatbot, even if someone only fills out part of it, he can usually get an email address to continue to try to close the sale.
  • Email addresses for future marketing efforts. For example, Matt’s company offers additional services such as window tinting. He can market that and other services to his base of customers.  

Digital Tools That Help Small Businesses

Chatbots are a great example of how technology can help your business.  

If you want to learn more ways technology can help your business, a great resource is the Adopt Digital Tools Guide from Alice, a free platform to help you start and grow your business. In this guide, you’ll get an overview of digital tool options, as well as ways to use these tools to manage your finances, acquire new customers, manage human resources, and handle billing.

Moving Forward

You don’t have to be a “techie” to get jazzed about chatbots. This technology is now easy to use and affordable. Why not get started today? When you see how much they help your business, you’ll be chatting about them to everyone you know!

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