4. Chatbot Channels

Even if you plan every detail of your Story, you can’t forget where your chatbot will work. Therefore, before creating your chatbot prototype, you should decide which customer communication channels you want to launch. Follow our lesson and learn the differences between popular chatbot communication channels.
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Video transcript

Video transcript

How to choose a communication channel for your chatbot

Welcome back to ChatBot Academy.

In the previous lessons, you learned what chatbots are and how they work. We also talked about their benefits for businesses and the ways to develop an excellent chatbot idea. 

Now, it’s time to learn where you can launch your chatbot. We’ll talk about chatbot communication channels and point out the differences between them.

Stay with me. 

If you started this course, I guess you might want to use a chatbot to automate some of your business processes.

However, there’s always a question about where you should add your chatbot to achieve the best results. If you’re unsure, this lesson may help you answer that question. 

But before we get going, let’s define what a customer communication channel is.

What is a customer communication channel?

A customer communication channel is a medium by which you can exchange messages with your customers. For instance, email, social media apps, LiveChat, SMS, and phone are all communication channels.

How do you select the right channel for your chatbot?

Before you start building your chatbot, you need to check which of your channels let you add a chatbot to it. 

Each channel also differs from one another and offers selected chatbot features. That’s why, it would be helpful to define the problems you want to solve and the essential features that can help to address these problems.

Doing so will help you determine whether there is any channel that doesn’t meet your requirements.  

It would also help if you thought about your customers’ communication preferences as it’s always better to add a chatbot to channels popular among your customers 

Data shows that consumers have become less patient and don't want to make the extra effort to contact you.  If they know a seamless way to reach out to you, they will use it and ignore the other channels. 

It’s worth mentioning that different age groups and nationalities also use different channels. Checking out your customers’ demographics can then help you select the proper channels for your chatbot. 

Types of chatbot communication channels 

Ok, we already know what to look for while selecting your chatbot channel. 

Now, we'll briefly describe some popular communication channels you can use,  including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or website. 

Of course, there are many channels you can add a chatbot to; however, we’ll focus on selected ones for this lesson. 

Facebook Messenger

Let’s start with Facebook Messenger. I’m sure I don’t have to introduce it as it’s one of the most popular messaging apps for instant messaging, sharing photos, or group chats. 

Messenger enjoys popularity among different age groups starting from Generation X, born after the 60s, to Generation Z, which is the youngest group of users. The app is also top-rated in the US, Canada, and Australia.

Adding a chatbot to Messenger is relatively easy as many platforms allow you to create Messenger bots without coding.

Messenger also lets you use chatbots for various purposes - you can use them to answer common support questions, provide personalized product recommendations, or book appointments.

Another useful feature that’s allowed for Messenger chatbots is broadcasting. 

Broadcasting allows you to send proactive messages to users who are on your Messenger list.  You can use this feature, for instance, to inform users about business updates or promo offers. 

If you consider supporting various groups of customers in different countries, Messenger might be a good choice for you. 

WhatsApp

The next one on our list is WhatsApp. The year-on-year data shows that it’s the most popular messaging app to exchange text, audio, or video messages.

WhatsApp has over 2 billion users, and it’s pretty popular among younger consumers, including Millennials or Generation Z. It’s also used in India, Brazil, and the US, but its usage also differs from country to country. 

Adding a chatbot to your WhatsApp Business Account could help you then connect with younger consumers or those living in the aforementioned countries. 

However, not everybody can build a chatbot on WhatsApp. Access to its API, which lets you code a WhatsApp chatbot, is given to selected companies based on their business profile.

So, if you, for instance, sell alcohol or supplements, you might not be able to build a chatbot on WhatsApp. Also, you can’t use a chatbot to perform pushy promotional activities on WhatsApp.

That’s why, if you’re considering adding a chatbot to your WhatsApp account, you need to first become acquainted with the WhatsApp chatbot development process and make sure you can apply for it.

Website 

Another premier channel we cannot omit is your website, which is a digital representation of your business.

Keeping customers engaged on it can help you improve many business metrics inducing conversions, and with chatbots, you can do that with less effort. 

LiveChat 

So, if you want to add a chatbot to your website, you can, for example, integrate it with a live chat app.

Live chat is chat software that allows you to connect with your website visitors in real time. Customers can use it to ask questions using their desktop and mobile devices. 

You can also use live chat to connect with customers proactively. By sending personalized greetings, you can attract your customers’ attention and offer help. 

Using live chat is easy and convenient. The customer doesn’t need to have a social media account or be logged in to any messaging app to use it. 

Therefore, offering live chat on your website is a good way to connect with those groups of customers who don’t want to make the effort to write an email, fill out a form or log in anywhere to reach out to you. 

Data shows that one-third of customers are more likely to buy from you if you offer a live chat feature. 

And because more and more live chat solutions provide integrations with chatbot platforms, adding a chatbot to live chat is one of the easiest ways to automate your customer communication.

When added to live chat, a chatbot can answer repetitive questions from your support team or qualify leads for your sales reps. And if a customer problem goes beyond the chatbot scope, it can pass the chat over to the human agent. 

The chatbot can also take the night shift and support customers when your team is off.

Using live chat and chatbot together is a good choice if you want to build personal relationships with your customers but reduce the number of monotonous tasks you need to do.

ChatBot Chat Widget 

On the other hand, you might like to use a chatbot on your website, but you might also not have the resources or time to offer a human chat option. 

In such a case, you can use a chatbot chat widget. 

The chatbot widget is a chat window that you can add to a website and that allows your customers to chat with your chatbot whenever they need it.

The chatbot widget functions as a live chat option; however, it doesn’t offer a human handover. 

So, suppose the customer’s problem requires human attention. In that case, a chatbot can suggest alternative contact methods, or, for instance, it can create a ticket for your support team to resolve the customer problem later. 

If you’d like to add a chatbot chat widget to your website, you can learn how to do that by watching our Academy tutorials. They’re available at the bottom of the lessons, and they can help you develop your bot-building skills.

Ok, let’s wrap up what we learned today: 

  • A customer communication channel is a medium by which you can exchange messages with your customers. 

  • The popularity of specific communication channels varies from country to country and depends on the consumers’ demographics. 

  • You can add chatbots to many communication channels, such as Facebook Messenger, LiveChat, or WhatsApp, but you should remember that each channel has distinct features and limitations. 

That’s all for this lesson. See you next time!

Lesson resources

Further reading

Presentation

Practice activity 4.1

How to use the ChatBot platform 

Take the first steps toward becoming a chatbot designer and explore ChatBot, the no-code platform that you’ll use to build a bot throughout the course.

To use ChatBot, you need to sign up for a 14-day trial. 

Create your account 

What you’ll learn in this video tutorial:

  • The ChatBot Visual Builder basics.

  • What is a chatbot Story?

  • How to test your Story by using a Testing tool.

  • The ways to add a chatbot to different communication channels.

In the next lesson

5. Welcome Message

Find out how to create an eye-catching chatbot welcome message and boost the number of your chats.

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