Chatbots are becoming the new must in every company with online presence, either to solve user doubts or to get leads or customers. Forms, on the other hand, have been with us already for some years, and their main use has been to gather leads, even though they can be used to get customers as well.
Both options have their pros and cons. In this post, we compare chatbots and forms when the goal is to get a new lead, a new customer or provide some support.
Capturing new leads
When the objective is to get a new lead, the whole process should be simple and fast. The lead should arrive at a landing page whose content should explain the service or product, and then a simple form should be displayed, in order for the lead to enter their phone number and/or email address.
In this case, we believe a form is a faster and simpler solution. Nevertheless, if this is the option you choose, you should consider validating the gathered information too. Form builders like Arengu allow data validation in a simple and automated way.
A chatbot could be a good option here if we want to classify the lead in different sectors, depending on which part of the product or service they are interested in. But watch out - if there are only a couple of groups where the lead could fit, it might be easier to simply include a selector in the form.
If the product or service is simple enough, go for a form, otherwise a chatbot might be a better option. Also, if the leads are for big-tickets, a chatbot with human intervention is recommended.
Acquiring new customers
If the main goal is acquiring new customers, this scenario is more complex than the previous one. Some of these goals may include acquiring a new customer through a payment, getting a sign up, executing a subscription, and so on and so forth. So the key point here is defining the kind of customer we are looking for and the complexity of the process of becoming a customer.
For example: depending on the choices of the client, different options may be presented, a chatbot probably being the best option. But be careful, those possible paths will have to be programmed and the chatbot might end up being hard to maintain. Try to minimize as much as possible all the options.
A chatbot is a truly interesting option here, in case a support team is available. With a support team, complications can be detected, so a real agent can jump in and can help the user become a customer. Of course, this is only possible if they are big-ticket customers.
When is a form considered good enough here? For example, when selling a specific product or subscription, a form where just the email and payment information are requested is enough. Also, the time needed to complete a form is usually much less than the one needed to complete a chatbot.
Offering live support
As in the previous case, here it is really important to define how complex the product or service is. Initially, it can be a good choice to have a chatbot, since this will allow the company to gather questions from users that then can be used to create a FAQ section inside the webpage.
If there is a broad number of questions the chatbot should be kept since a section with too many FAQs will probably worry the potential customer.
Support chatbots are also used to get new leads, since in many cases they will require an email or phone number in order to start the chatbot. But be aware that this might cause a bad user experience if all they want is to solve a small doubt.
As it can be seen, the option of the chatbot over the form really depends on the complexity of the product or service that it is being offered. If it is a complex product, a chatbot might be the best option, but then, it would be recommended to have real agents paying attention to its performance in case they need to interact with a customer or lead themselves.
Also, if the product is expensive, it is always good to have a chatbot with real agents, since they can be the key to convince a new customer. But if the product is simple and it is well explained, the form is the best option, as it is fast and simple, and usually cheaper than a chatbot.
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