Main illustration: Olenka Malarecka
In many ways, how we do business today is a model of efficiency and convenience – people come to our websites and we sell to them.
That interaction is increasingly being conducted over live chat, and at Intercom, we strive to make those interactions as personal as possible. As this mode of business has evolved, however, there are two unavoidable facts that we sometimes prefer to ignore.
- First, customers and prospects don’t visit your website for a chat, they come to get something done – they want to buy something, or solve a problem, or get an answer. They want, in short, to complete some action, and yet all too often they spend their time providing information about themselves and their situation without getting a satisfactory resolution.
- Second, sales teams spend a lot of time doing laborious, repetitive tasks that don’t always result in much value. We chase after potential leads trying to qualify them, we spend a lot of time trying to book meetings and give demos, we spend an awful lot of time simply trying to make a value driven discussion happen at a later date.
Enabling the best interactions
At Intercom, we see making internet business personal as so much more than just bringing our personality into our interactions online. It’s about making sure both sides, customers and sales teams, are able to get the best outcomes from any interaction as fast as possible, so they can spend their time doing things of real value.
Solving chatbots’ last-mile problem
For a few years now, bots have been the promised enabler of better business interactions, but while some came close, none have delivered truly meaningful results without requiring a human’s input at some stage.
Effectively, most bots are just a dressed-up form
The truth is, chatbots have suffered from what I like to call the “last-mile problem” for sales: most bots have been good at collecting information, but not necessarily any good at doing something with it. Effectively, most bots are just a dressed-up form.
Once that information had been gathered, it usually requires a human to ensure the appropriate action is taken, beyond the most basic of outcomes. It requires a human to analyze, to take action, to take it that final step and complete the customer or lead’s desired outcome.
Inevitably, the salesperson is doing this after the prospect has left your website, and after the moment of highest intent has subsided.
With Custom Bots, we have taken a big step towards solving this issue. Rather than just collecting information and leaving real resolution to a human at a later date, these next generation chatbots gather information in a productive, human, conversational way, and then use it to deliver real, actionable outcomes in that moment.
More than ever, a bot can be customer focused and workflow oriented by leveraging the growing library of apps in our Intercom App Store. Every interaction can be concluded with the most appropriate workflow to enable your lead or customer reach their desired outcome, whether that’s booking a meeting, paying a subscription, resetting a password, requesting an invoice, all done immediately when interest and intent is highest.
Redefining the sales cycle
This is more than a step-change in the way businesses interact with customers – this is a new baseline of productivity. Businesses that don’t adopt bots, and that don’t find better ways to use their employees’ time, will be left behind.
Ultimately, the combination of Custom Bots with Messenger apps will not just accelerate the sales cycle but reshape the entire sales process.
- For customers, they’ll get more of what they need, immediately – not merely offering up information, but getting something done.
- And for sales teams, we will be applying our time and resources to areas of the sales cycle that only a human can manage, that only a human can create value within.
This is a new baseline of productivity
We’ve all accepted, for far too long I think, that the sales cycle involves trying to get the attention of a prospect, gathering simple information, performing basic tasks that slowly take you closer to high impact work.
But what if a bot could do that for you? What if you can start with the high-impact work?
From the sales team’s perspective, Custom Bots are supporting you with upper funnel management and allowing reps to apply themselves in more human ways.
Pricing Page Bot
Just as modern machinery transformed agricultural work, chatbots will revolutionize administrative work for sales teams. As salespeople, we want the largest possible return on our time and energy. That return has the potential to be dramatically increased, thanks to the time you get back by leveraging a bot.
You can focus your attention and your effort on doing stuff that’s truly interesting, rewarding and high value.
Do your best work for your customers
Our Messenger is fast becoming a place to get work done. It’s not simply a place to chat. It’s not simply a way to offer up information of fill out a form. Instead, it’s fast becoming a way for customers to understand the problem they have, get meaningful guidance, and then achieve a desired outcome, take a next step, complete a workflow.
Chatbots really are the interface that help make that happen. Quite simply, bots are enabling a better way of working.
Our job at Intercom is not to create interactions for their own sake, but to create what interactions enable – meaningful results and value for both customers and businesses.
Give Custom Bots a try, see how they can drive your company to new growth, and free yourself to do the job that only you can do.