What are Chatbots

This article will introduce you to the powerful marketing characteristics of a Chatbot.

We will also explain the difference between a chatbot and a chat box. Finally, we will quickly describe the programming involved and some of the powerful marketing ability of a chatbot for small business.

Chatbots - How can I help?

Chatbots: Background

A chatbot is simply a computer program that simulates human conversations. It allows interaction between a website visitor and the installed program via messages on a business website. A chatbot does not need to be monitored by an employee. They work independently 24/7, 365 days a year.

We refer to chatbots here as a computer program. We do that only to emphasize that they must be built. They are built according to a small business owner’s specification.


What is the difference between a Chatbot and a Chat Box?

You may be familiar with chat boxes on some websites that use actual employees or customer service representatives to answer questions specific to their business. These are not chatbots! They provide a service, but they usually do not operate 24/7. In fact, some include a feature that will turn off the chat box when the offices are closed.

In general, their purpose is to actively interact with potential customers and answer specific questions on the spot. They are manpower intensive. By comparison, a chatbot can be programmed to get specific results that meet the business’s need. Plus, they can save a small business on manpower costs. Furthermore, they do not get sick, take vacation, or argue with their boss or supervisor.


How is a Chatbot programmed?

First of all, we do not recommend that a small business attempt to do the programming in house. It is much too complicated. It involves an investment in software, training, and time. Small business owners typically focus on getting leads for their various services, then converting these leads into customers. Once converted into customers, then work diligently on retaining these customers.


A chatbot provides valuable website visitor interaction, does not need to be monitored by an employee, and works independently 24/7, 365 days a year.


It is far more effective to hire a digital marketing agency that has already made the investment in software, training and has the manpower to do the job for you. Here is an example of what the software and programming is designed to accomplish.

chatbots are programmable

In this example, we are using a Plumbing-HVAC business. In the Intro, we simply try to develop know, like and trust with the potential customer; introduce ourselves and get their name.

We then focus on three services: heating and air conditioning, plumbing and installation. We then ask if they need a new system or repair of an existing system.

This chatbot is designed to collect an email address and a phone number. If they need a new system, this business now has a great lead to immediately follow-up on.

Getting an email and a phone number is very important. Email marketing is a very effective way to build trust with your customers. For example, if they are interested in a HVAC system or its various components, we segment this potential customer into an HVAC list.

A chatbot for your business


In summary, while this article only begins to scratch the surface on chatbots, our readers now have a basic understanding of the powerful marketing potential of these software programs.

Chatbots are programmable. In our example above, we showed how they are effectively programmed to collect a name, phone number and email address.

People want to be guided and directed on what to do to get their needs met.

An email marketing program is essential to serving your customer’s needs.

Furthermore, because chatbots are programmable, they can be changed or updated to collect other valuable features.  For example, they can be programmed to set appointments or callbacks from your business.

They are significantly less expensive than hiring an employee or two to manage a chat box. It is time for you to take your business to the next level. Hire a chatbot today!

To view some great samples of popular chatbots, please visit our Portfolio Page!

2 Comments

  1. Dan

    Rick… This looks like a great idea for my website. I believe a chatbot is just the thing I need right now for customer service and follow up.

    Reply
    • Rick Samara

      I agree Dan. Let’s schedule Zoom meeting. We can discuss features that you might want to include.

      Reply

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