We touched on chatbots in our blog on AI, but they deserve a post of their own here! 

These intricate little interfaces are taking over the online world, and for good reason.  They take the impersonal feel of the online realm and transform it into a personal one.  Commonly, these polite little corner pop-ups are becoming the first point of contact for consumers, especially for those who are time-poor or get butterflies in their stomachs at the thought of picking up the phone to call and ask a question, giving them a 24/7 personal helper for your business. 

You may be wondering if there is a place for them in the optometry field, and although this is a valid question, we truly believe with their flexible nature that there is a place for them almost anywhere!

What is a chatbot?

Simply put they are an online receptionist, programmed to interact in a conversational manner, chatbots will liaise with your consumers on your behalf.  They act to answer consumer questions in record time and to direct consumers through your webpage with ease to find exactly what they are looking for.  Chatbots never sleep or need a day off, they don’t even need a lunch break!  So outside of business hours, they are there and available to assist your consumers with any questions or concerns they may have on your behalf.

How do they work?

Like all artificial intelligence-based tools, they work off an algorithm.  Rapidly sifting through inputted data by the consumer to locate keywords and provide an answer to them accordingly, presenting this answer of course in a human-like response in the chat box.  That sounds quite complex, and in a way it is, however in practice for instance a consumer may ask the bot ‘Do you stock daily wear contact lenses?’ it will then pick up on the phrase contact lenses and provide an answer according to what you have informed the bot you have when you set it up and the information you have on your website. 

What's the benefits?

Chatbots work to transform your webpage visitors into in-store visitors.  Their helpful nature and personable tone will guide website visitors seamlessly through your services, and products all whilst encouraging them to book an appointment with you.  Before you know it the hard work is done for you, and you have a new patient in your practice.  Further to this, much like online booking portals, a Chatbot is likely to lower your phone call rate in store, freeing up your staff to focus more solely on customers who are physically in your store giving them a more quality experience.

If you are curious about how chatbots appear at the consumer end when it comes to the retail – pop over to The Iconic website and you will see one live in action in the bottom right hand corner! Whilst you are there, engage with it to see how it performs, this will help you to understand not only how they work but also give you some ideas about how a chatbot could add to your own webpage. 

The Meta platform Facebook also has a chatbot function that you can adopt on your business Facebook page to guide potential clients through booking with you. If you are going to explore this path with Facebook, as it uses the Messenger feature of the platform, we recommend making it very clear to your consumers that they are talking to a bot and not to you in person as it can appear that way in Messenger.

As always, we’re here to help, simply reach out to us at support@eyebenefit.com.au with any marketing query or concern you may have. 

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