Let AI-powered chatbots do the work
Back in the day, chatbots were expensive to build and horrific to set up.
You had to create prompts for users to click on, and then write responses to every option available. A simple conversation could have dozens of pathways… all of which you’d have to anticipate. And if users took a different route, you’re out of luck. 🤷
Last week I had a fascinating conversation with Hosam Hassan, Director of Strategy for CX Transformation at PartnerHero, about how AI-powered chatbots have changed the game.
In today’s world, you can give the modern chatbot your website’s existing knowledge base, blog, and FAQs. They can also read all the support conversations you’ve had in the past. So when people ask the chatbot a question, it looks at all the data you’ve provided and responds with the best answer.
Chatbots can even generate revenue while you’re away (more details below).
At the beginning of my interview with Hosam, I thought: “chatbots are cool for more established companies. But do early-stage startups really need one?”.
By the end of the interview, I was convinced: EVERY startup needs a chatbot.
Here’s what I learned.
The problem with existing knowledge bases
You know that support page with answers to users’ commonly asked questions? That’s a company’s knowledge base. It’s supposed to empower users to help themselves instead of drowning the founders with simple questions.
But here’s the thing: most companies set it up once and never update it again. So the information is often stale. So users end up emailing support anyway. Now your agents are answering the same basic questions over and over, which is boring (leading to employee turnover) and a waste of time (aka a waste of your money).
An AI chatbot gives your users a better customer experience by always getting them up-to-date info. And it gives your team a better employee experience because your customer service reps spend more time working on complex issues vs. repetitive tasks.
What startups should consider building a chatbot?
I originally assumed chatbots were exclusively for big companies. But actually, they can be a huge benefit to smaller startups… especially when you don’t yet have the budget to bring on a support team.
In Hosam’s words:
“You might not have the cash to hire a support team and answer questions. So we’ve found founders resigned to do customer support. Having a chatbot with the top 20 questions that your customers ask would be the first line of defense that’ll help your users and give time back to the founders.”
Use cases for AI Chatbots
E-commerce companies can automate questions like:
- Where’s my order?
- When will X item be back in stock?
- I’d like to process a refund.
B2B SaaS companies can automate account-related activities, like:
- How do I sign up?
- How do I switch my membership?
- I forgot my password.
A chatbot can start a conversation and then pass it on to an agent. For example, if you’re troubleshooting a bug, the chatbot can ask for the version of the software they’re using, their operating system, their browser, etc. Then the chatbot can escalate the ticket based on priority, categorize the request, and assign it to the proper team.
This saves the agent a ton of time on the more repetitive tasks, so they can dive straight into the core issue. It also helps the user get their issue resolved faster.
Surprise! AI chatbots aren’t just for customer service. They can also generate revenue for you. Here are some examples.
- Offering well-timed promo codes, like at abandoned carts: “Wait! Don’t leave. Here’s a promo code for free shipping.”
- Upselling users, “We noticed you're on X plan. Did you know we released Y feature on the Z plan? If you want to try it out, here’s a 20% discount you can use for the first three months.”
- Pinging someone on your team to hop into live chat if a lead is especially hot, “Hey! This is Tam jumping in (I’m a real human). Happy to chat with you here to answer any questions that you have. Or I’m available to jump on a 5-min Zoom call with you.”
How to build an AI-powered chatbot
There are plenty of options out there to help you build an AI chatbot. Most are quite expensive, and you’ll still need to put in a lot of work.
Some platforms charge $20,000 upfront with a $0.50 fee per transaction and a 12-month commitment. You’ll also need to consult a chatbot builder, an AI trainer, and a prompt engineer. If you’re like most people, you have no idea what these roles are or how you should hire for them.
Luckily, PartnerHero can create a custom chatbot for your team with no platform fees or annual commitments. They only charge $2 per resolution. Or if you’ve already built a chatbot somewhere, PartnerHero can help manage it for a monthly fee. This includes conversation design, integration optimization, unlimited bot requests, custom bot reporting, and proactive bot monitoring.
Basically they can handle everything for you at a fraction of the cost. Check out PartnerHero and let them know that we sent ya.