Powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing, chatbots are servicing a growing client demand for smarter, more instantaneous service.
Some savvy practices are getting ahead of the trend, having already implemented them via their website and social media accounts. We talk to three such advice businesses about the advantages, challenges and what they've learnt along the way:
1. Kristin Jacobsen, Managing Director of Connected Wealth
“The target market I work with – professional millennials – are digital natives. I wanted to connect with them where they are 'virtually' – on social media, on their phone and using messenger.
The benefit of having a chatbot is that you can instantly deliver a message directly to someone's messenger, and they are much more likely to 1) see it, 2) read it and 3) engage with us.
The read rate on my chatbot of over 300 active subscribers is around 80% and link click rates are around 20–30%, whereas my email list has an open rate of 10–20% with a link click rate of about 3–5%.
The main pitfall of using a chatbot is that if the automatic replies and responses aren't setup correctly, they can damage the credibility and authenticity of your connection.
So my advice is to be really clear with those engaging with the chatbot that it’s in fact a chatbot – don't pretend it's a real person. Then, have an option for the person engaging with the chatbot to speak to a real person via a messenger account, call or text.”
2. Glen Hare, Co-founder of Fox & Hare Financial Advice
Chatbot: Hubspot’s chatbot
“We use a chatbot through our CRM, Hubspot. There's no AI component, rather Hubspot integrates with Google Chrome and when a prospect reaches out through our website using the chatbot, we get a real-time automatic notification.
We feel that AI and machine learning is still probably a little bit cold, particularly when dealing with prospective clients, whereas reaching out through our chatbot to a real person literally sitting in the Fox and Hare office makes it more real and personal.
We can then talk with those prospects exactly how we would if we were having a coffee with them.
Interestingly enough, those who have reached out through the chatbot have typically had interactions with us through different mediums. I can't remember what the rule is but I think you need something like eight interactions with a prospect before they do reach out. The chatbot just gives them another avenue.”
3. Adele Martin, Founder of Firefly Wealth and The Savings Squad
“I use the chatbot ManyChat in three ways: on my website, through Facebook groups and Facebook Messenger.
When people come into one of my Facebook groups I send them a message with a link to a chatbot quiz, which will ask things like: are you a first homebuyer? Single or couple? That information then lets me segment my database, and ensures I only ever send them relevant content and invitations.
You can also run competitions or offers from your Facebook page such as, ‘To receive our latest download, like, share or comment on this post’. The prospect's response then automatically triggers a ManyChat Facebook message. Once they're a contact in Facebook Messenger, you can have an ongoing marketing conversation with them there – where they're more likely to read and open your content than if you email them.
To be honest, I haven't had any big issues with my chatbot yet. I love going into my diary each week and seeing new clients booked without me or my admin team having to do anything.
And think about it from your client's point of view – they're busy and time poor, so they want answers, or to book an appointment, at 7pm or on the weekends.
So for advice businesses considering using a chatbot I say: do it. Don't wait until chatbots are perfect.”
Want to keep one step ahead? Sign up for our monthly enewsletter, full of insights and tips to help you in your day-to-day.
Important: This article has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial or taxation situation or needs of any particular individual. Before acting on the information, you should consider its appropriateness to your circumstances and if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice. Any information used in this article is for illustrative purposes only. Connected Wealth, Fox & Hare Financial Advice, Firefly Wealth and The Savings Squad are external entities that are not a member of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Group of Companies (the Group) and the content or any view expressed by Connected Wealth, Fox & Hare Financial Advice, Firefly Wealth and The Savings Squad and its employees does not represent an endorsement, recommendation, guarantee or advice in regard to any matter. CBA, nor members of the Group accept any liability for losses or damage arising from any reliance on external parties.