Chatbots – being closer to your customers in the age of social distance?
Not a novelty in the digital world, chatbots are a tool yet to be discovered for many companies, especially in the hospitality segment. There are few hotel websites that offer this tool that allows direct interaction with costumers, a fact that we believe is largely due to a certain lack of digital maturity that still characterizes this sector.
We are living in a peculiar time in which the rules of confinement, social distance and the impossibility of travelling have accentuated the need to create bonds, communicate and stay close to each other. Many brands looked for ways to stay alive in the memory of their customers, trying to keep up with their needs, taking advantage of the huge development of the digital field in this period: the number of consumers who turned to digital increased considerably, there was a quick and necessary adaptation to a way of life in which everything started to be done through a computer or mobile phone. Who has not seen the effort of adaptation by those who did not even have social networks and now are joining virtual meetings via Skype, zoom, google meet?
This quest to maintain close relationships with their customers, often facing the reduction of work teams in “pandemic times” led many brands to the discover of chatbots. Chatbots are nothing more than a software that allows interaction with customers through pre-defined commands or information, allowing a 24-hour customer service to be provided. If used well, this can mean having a guest-relations service available all the time, which gives website visitors to feel the necessary confidence to carry out with reservations, since they can put all doubts, managing to easily establish communication with the hotel regarding every topic they may need.
There are two types of Chatbots:
1) Based on previously defined rules and artificial intelligence. We are going to focus on the first ones, easier to configure and used by most of the companies.
2) What do you need to know to set up a Chatbot:
It is mandatory to build a flow of information or communication for the chatbot to respond to certain commands. The tool does not learn, nor has the ability to interpret, so the time you will spend configuring should be seen as an investment – as the chatbot, when working properly, will allow your team to dedicate itself to the service that really matters, filtering the issues that need personalized intervention.
But after all, how can a chatbot help my company?In addition to the proximity to the customer allowed by this tool, it is necessary to define the goals of using a chatbot. What do you want to achieve with it:
- Direct reservations?
- Budget consultations for events?
- Reservations at hotel restaurants?
From the definition of your goals, you must define the content strategy to make this tool more effective:
- Define a personality for the chatbot that reflects the personality of your company or your team, of your brand.
- Use language aligned with the profile of your audience, as you already did through other forms of communication.
- Use clear and easy language – without dubious interpretations
- Study your client and the most frequently asked questions, providing the chatbot with answers to these questions, simulating dialogues that allow the analysis of future interactions. When talking about a hotel, we can imagine several conversations that would be on our list of choice.
- Where is the hotel located?
- Do you have a car park?
- What time can I check in?
- Is it possible to make a reservation for the restaurant?
These are just a few examples of what we are most used to responding to repeatedly, and which we can respond to automatically, by using this tool. But since we are talking about communication, it is better to create this flow as naturally as possible. The consumer knows that he is talking to a chatbot, but the interaction should feel as human as possible and provide the right answers to make the consumer’s life easier.
After everything is set up and working properly, you will also be able to monitor all actions and make adjustments according to the analysis. As a consumer, don’t you find it comforting to enter a website and have an “assistant” always available to answer you quickly, without having to look for information?
Remember: the ultimate goal of a chatbot is to allow you to connect with your customers, make their lives easier, give them all the answers they need in a few seconds. And after answering them and ensuring that your brand accompanies them throughout the entire booking process – how about suggesting the link to your Booking Engine in order to welcome them in your hotel?
ABC Sustainable Luxury Hospitality