We Think We Need a Bot: Here's Why You Might, Too

Fair warning: This is a “before the experiment” article. Which means there are many things we hope to learn—and many more things we’ll learn that we didn’t know we should. As with most experiments, this one started with a bunch of questions and ended with a potential hypothesis. The questions centered around how we could make a B2B software website feel more human. We work very hard to make sure qualified customers visit us at Spredfast.com, but we weren’t sure if we were doing our best to meet their needs once they got there, especially if they were interested. In a perfect world, it would be remarkably easy to take the next step once you’re interested in our product. We want you to want our products desperately, so it’s in our best interest to eliminate the barriers that could keep you from pursuing your initial interest with ease. After stepping away from our computers for a second, we weren’t sure if we were offering the strongest digital experience possible.

As with most websites that don’t offer e-commerce capabilities, sharing your interest in our product with someone who works at Spredfast is a key priority. The experience of doing so might have included:

  1. 1) Seeing an ad for Spredfast.
  2. 2) Clicking on the ad.
  3. 3) Landing on the website and reading the landing page.
  4. 4) Navigating to another page (and maybe another page after that).
  5. 5) Interest piqued!
  6. 6) Click to a demo or contact us page.
  7. 7) Fill out a form with seven fields.
  8. 8) Hit submit and wait.
  9. 9) Get an email from someone in a (hopefully) timely manner.
  10. 10) Go back and forth via email on availability for a meeting.
  11. 11) Wait for the meeting.
  12. 12) Attend meeting where you talk about the interest you had all the way back in step 5.

There are so many steps between 5 and 12, and many of them don’t do much to offer a great user experience! No one enjoys filling out forms and the “find time on my calendar that fits with time on your calendar” conversation is not a fan favorite. We wanted to form a test to see if we could (1) shorten the amount of time between piqued interest and sharing said interest and (2) make the experience of setting a meeting more user-friendly.

Here is what our current demo page looks like.

Our hypothesis was to experiment with a chatbot. Attempting to make a website more human by providing better access to said humans through a tool that’s most well-known for not being a human is an ironic hypothesis, but we think it might be our answer. Currently, if you’re on a page on our website and your interest is piqued, you have to leave that page and spend time filling out a form to act on it. With a sophisticated bot tool, we might be able to meet you where you are and let you act on your interest without having to leave the page. Not only that, but our bot tool might eliminate the need for a form. By integrating with our sales tools, we believe we can introduce you to the right person and let you schedule time on their calendar directly within the chat. The era of the “find time on my calendar that fits with time on your calendar” email thread could finally be over. Overall, our hypothesis was centered around finding a solution that would combine steps 6 through 11 into one program that shortens the distance between you and Spredfast humans. We hope that a bot can play the middleman to connect you to us more effectively.

 

Here is a (rough draft) demo from our partners of what a chatbot experience might look like.

 

Yes, there are obstacles. In a perfect world, we’d have humans manning these chats ready to provide the answers to any question you might have. For a 90-day test, it was too much to ask our sales reps to quickly train on this new tool and add yet another piece of software to the many they’re already keeping an eye on every day. Having humans available to chat would absolutely make our website more human, but large organizations come with large processes. We’re hoping to overcome the obstacle by showing the success of the bot before we add another tool to the tech stack of our sales team.

Incorporating bots on your webpage can help streamline your new business process. Though it might limit your interactions, it can lead to more meaningful conversations.

 

We’re also very specific in the customers we want to spend time meeting. With as much website traffic as we get every month, it would be impossible to take every meeting if we couldn’t filter out individuals who might not be a good customer fit. This solution was a little easier. We found a bot partner that’s allowing us to serve chats only to accounts we want to talk to. Yes, it will limit the number of chats and meetings we host, but it should lead to more meaningful conversations.

Our bot experiment will kick off in the very near future. Keep an eye out for the “after the experiment” article, but, more importantly, keep an eye out for a bot on the Spredfast website. Testing is incredibly valuable to a team of marketers, especially when you’re testing with the user experience in mind. We’ll see how this experiment works over the next 90 days, but follow along on our Smart Social Blog to read about what we learned.

 

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Matt McAllister is the Director of Revenue Marketing at Spredfast. A former ad agency cofounder, he’s a marketing lifer who’s transitioned from design and copywriting to digital and analytics.