While chatbots are often discussed in terms of customer support, chatbots are great for building customer and brand loyalty. Brands and marketers are always looking for the best ways to forge deep connections with their fans. Social media allowed us to cultivate real relationships and conversations with customers. But the saturated space makes it difficult to remain visible within feeds that brands had little control over. Thankfully, a new channel emerged just in time: messaging apps. Brands need to turn their attention to these platforms right now if they hope to remain relevant.

Why? Because users are flocking to messaging platforms, giving them more attention than social media. This means messaging is incredibly important for reaching new customers and building brand loyalty. But how could a band possibly communicate with all their fans in real time? By employing a trusty chatbot.

Chatbots are an indispensable tool for e-commerce and marketing. Because chatbots are focused on providing personalized experiences, they’re perfect for forging relationships with customers. They also increase brand loyalty and equity, by investing in the latest technologies on the most popular social channel of the time: messaging. This way, your brand becomes more attractive and approachable to digital natives. And that’s an important, because the highly coveted millennial market loves chatbots.

Using Chatbots to Boost Brand Loyalty

Many businesses use email follow-ups at the time of purchase in the hopes that they will attract repeat business. Unfortunately, email is all too easy for customers to ignore. If the signup process isn’t transparent, they might even annoy customers enough to avoid doing business in the future. Chatbots outperform email in terms of both open rates (88%) and CTRs (56%), making them the obvious tool for following up and building brand loyalty.

But a chatbot won’t automatically ensure repeat business with your customers. You’ll need to employ some clever strategies to cultivate brand loyalty with consumers. Thankfully chatbots are easy to quickly implement and iterate for optimal results. Let’s dive into some tried and true strategies that you can use to form deep connections with your customers.

boosting brand loyatly

Provide a Better Customer Experience

Most of the strategies here will deal with communication after a customer makes a purchase or connects with the brand. But it’s worth mentioning that delivering a better experience results in increased customer satisfaction. Chatbots can increase customer experience by helping brands become more proactive in B2C communication.

For example, you might link a chatbot’s Messenger account to a Facebook ad campaign. Which would encourage users to reach out with questions, problems or any other engagement you seek. You can also set up omni-channel solutions to make your chatbot available on multiple platforms and services, making it even easier to reach customers and demographics across your online community. Adding a chatbot to your website (which is easy with Facebook Messenger) is another way to encourage communication with new and returning customers.

Chatbots can—and should—proactively notify users of problems with their orders or services. Not only does this provide heightened customer service, it also provides a practical reason for users to opt-in to notifications from your bot. For example, an airline chatbot could immediately alert customers of flight delays, saving them a headache.

Offer a Chat-Based Rewards System

One of the classic strategies for encouraging customer/brand loyalty is creating a loyalty system. Think about the brand loyalty cards you might have received from small brick-and-mortar businesses. While this system might seem old and analogue, it’s a natural fit for chatbots. In fact, many Japanese businesses moved their brand loyalty cards to popular messaging platform “Line” to much success. Plenty of businesses have digitized their rewards system within their apps, Starbucks Rewards can be given as an example, chatbots may be preferable to consumers because they don’t require customers to download and install an app. This way, they can access their points balance within their favorite messaging apps.

One chatbot that’s doing a great job keeping business flowing is Marriott Rewards. The bot exists on a handful of platforms, making it easy for customers to access. The chatbot lets users link their Marriott Rewards, Ritz Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest accounts together, then book or change a reservation all via conversation. By linking rewards and booking, customers can seamlessly access and use their reward points in one easy-to-use interface.

Follow-Up After a Purchase

When you go out to dinner, chances are your waiter or waitress will check in to ask how the food is after you’ve had a chance to try it. This proactive request for feedback shows that the business genuinely cares about customer satisfaction and that it’s willing to make things right when a problem arises. Customers appreciate knowing that their opinions are valued and that their voices will be heard.

After a customer has made a purchase with your business or has resolved a customer service claim, a chatbot can follow up and request feedback from the user. This can take the form of a quick survey or open-ended, natural language response. If the customer is dissatisfied, the chatbot might offer a self-service refund system.

No matter how the user responds, offering a reward of some sort for their participation is a great way to demonstrate that you care and encourage a follow-up purchase.

Keep Them Coming Back with Personalized Offers

It’s common for businesses to alert customers to new products, services and deals via email long after they’ve made a purchase. But as discussed above, these emails often go ignored. A chatbot, though, can catch customers’ attention and entice them with highly personalized offers and deals.

Here’s how do to it: start with an enticing first line, which essentially functions like an email subject. For example: “#Blessed! 👐 Check out what I just found!”. Then include a product with images that relate to your customer’s past purchases or demographic. Alternatively, you can cross- or up-sell based on previous purchases. Of course, this strategy is best used with a chatbot that can process payments and allow purchases in-app.

Offering a deal or coupon wallet via customers’ favorite messaging platforms is another great way to encourage repeat purchases. Pair this with a brand loyalty system as discussed above and customers will have a tough time resisting a purchase. Alert users to new deals and coupons, then offer the ability to save them for use when customers are ready to buy. Consider lightning deals and timed offers to add a sense of urgency.

Style-based chatbots do an excellent job of learning user preferences, then offering products that match. These include chatbots from H&M, American Eagle Aerie, Sephora and more. How do these chatbots do such a good job of learning user preferences? By quizzing them on what sort of styles and looks they enjoy best. Consider how your bot can likewise tease user preferences, then deliver offers and deals that match.

Streamline Customer Service Efforts

Customer experience is set to become the new differentiator, even more important than cost or products offered. It’s very important that your customer support services resolve customer issues quickly, easily and accurately. In our point about customer feedback above, we discussed how important it is for users to feel heard and valued.  A smooth customer support process likewise boosts customer satisfaction and instills confidence in the brand. Meanwhile a bad process discourages them from ever doing business with you again.

Your chatbot should welcome the resolution of customer problems and provide fast, accurate self-service when they arise. This feature can be tied to the point above about soliciting feedback and offering solutions when a customer issue is mentioned. Connect the chatbot to your CRM so the user doesn’t have to repeatedly input details. This way your chatbot can authenticate reward status, purchase history and more seamlessly.

Finally, allow for seamless human intervention so even complex problems may be resolved in a timely manner.

Get Insights on What Your Customers Love Most

All the tips above are important to keep in mind when designing and building the perfect chatbot for customer and brand loyalty. But we’re forgetting another crucial part of the development process: iterating the chatbot. Just like with any other customer-focused communication, you’ll need to leverage data to ensure your brand loyalty chatbot is effective and delivers on customer expectations.

One good strategy for measuring success with data is to A/B test chatbot features and communication. With a conversational analytics tool, you can compare engagement and retention rates from before and after implementing a new feature. This helps you gauge how useful that feature really is. You can also compare engagement and open rates among randomized responses to tailor your messaging more effectively. Conversational data also alerts you to what customers care about the most. By tracking the most-used terms and phrases among all your chatbot’s conversations, you gain key insights on common problems, concerns or needs for your customers.

You should also look for common errors and bottlenecks in the conversation flow. Users aren’t very forgiving of a chatbot that runs into errors and conversation loops and will leave at the drop of a hat if they run into problems more than once. Obviously, a chatbot that turns customers away can’t be very helpful for retaining customers. It’s necessary, then, to continually revise your bot’s script as necessary.

What Are You Waiting For? Make Connections Today!

Chatbots are wonderful tools for forging deep, one-to-one relationships with your fans. Whether you’re selling a product or offering a service… Combining the strategies above will help you boost brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. These benefits can extend into other aspects of your digital presence like social media engagement and market research.

Chatbots are gaining popularity, but still in an experimental phase. Take some time with your marketing and customer support teams to see what you can come up with!