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Why Chatbots for CRM Matter for Your Business

Whether you order a pizza, taxi, or ask for a consultation at a bank via instant messenger, you will probably deal with a chatbot at some point in a day or week, though you may even not notice.

CRM itself is a powerful sales and marketing tool for many business processes automation, but a chatbot can push your business an additional step forward.

Uber, Lyft, PizzaHut, Sephora, the WallStreet Journal, and many more brands have already built chatbots into their software to increase sales, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction.

How can chatbots enhance the productivity of your interaction with CRM? Let’s take a closer look at this question through the angle of CRM challenges that sales managers deal with most often.

 

  1. Valuable Data Loss

 

Salespeople no longer sit in their offices in front of desktop computers. They have all necessary data on their smartphones and can convert leads and close deals on the go. However, such mobility has engendered the problem of data loss.

Image by Pixabay

Reasons:

  • Small screens on mobile devices are uncomfortable for entering data.
  • Sales reps can forget to add something if they fill in CRM once returning to the office at the end of the day.

How can chatbots help?

Because of the small screen sizes of mobile devices and a shortage of time, it may not always be easy to enter information into the CRM. You have to log in, switch among tabs to fill in all the necessary data, zoom in and out on the screen to enter into the fields, remember to save your work, etc. It may take a lot of time and effort and, besides, some CRM workflows are really not explicit and require additional thinking, especially if the system is large and bloated. Instead of these mundane tasks, you would rather pitch one more prospect.

Integration of a chatbot into your CRM can help to solve this issue. The greatest benefit of using a chatbot for CRM is that you have only a single message field to type in as you would do in your messenger. Chatbots can continuously go through the necessary workflows, asking you questions and recording your answers in the appropriate system areas seamlessly.

How it works, in practice:

The chatbot is integrated with your CRM and messenger to synchronize information between them. There can also be other enterprise systems connected to this chain (email services, social media, ERP, HRMS, CMS, WMS, etc.).

Let’s imagine that you have just had a call with your Lead and need to make some notes about this conversation. For this purpose, all you need to do is open your messenger (Telegram, Kik, WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, or other) and initiate a dialogue with a bot agent.

Passing through the predefined inquiry workflow, you interactively add all valuable information about the meeting.  

Image by Justbots

In one single dialogue, you can create a new Lead, Contact, Case, Opportunity, Follow-Up Task, and other entities, without the necessity of logging into the CRM. All data is recorded to the CRM via API, automatically filling in the right fields.

For example,

Chatbot Question User Input CRM Record
“Add new Lead?” “John Doe” A new Lead is created
“Any new Opportunity?” “Premium Car Insurance” A new Opportunity is created
“What are the Results of the meeting?” “Need to send our quotes” A Note is added
“Any follow-ups?” “next Monday at 9” A Follow-Up Task is created
“Please provide a Subject for this follow-up” “Check in with John” A Description of the Task is added

 

and so on…

 

Here is Justbots example of how it may look in your CRM after a dialogue:

  1. Missing Opportunities

Salespeople spend just one-third of their day actually talking to prospects. They spend 21% of their day writing emails, 17% entering data, another 17% prospecting and researching leads, 12% going to internal meetings, and 12% scheduling calls.

Image by Pixabay

Presentations, pitches, negotiations, meetings, calls, emails, chats, progress tracking, closing, data analysis and more. This is just part of the list that makes up a sales manager’s daily routine. Nevertheless, none of these tasks can be ignored.

“…more than 75 percent of the 2,000 deals I’ve landed over the years have come from sending follow-up emails.” – says Jason Zook, Founder, IWearYourShirt.com

Having a large number of deals and myriad of tasks on each of them, it is easy to get lost and miss an important event. That’s why setting reminders for follow-up emails, meetings, calls, and deadlines is very important for every salesperson.

Reasons:

  • Difficult to manage data coming from many sources like emails, calls, social media, and messengers, so sales managers can forget meetings and miss deadlines.
  • Difficult to track changes on the deal’s progress.

How can chatbots help?

A CRM chatbot will organize all tasks and follow-up on all scheduled activities, so that you can manage your time even more effectively.

How it works, in practice:

Follow-ups and compliance with deadlines are meaningful for successful deal closings. Chatbots can hint at what steps to do next: they’ll remind you that Mr.Doe is waiting for your call on Friday at 9am, or that you should send a contract to Mrs. Jones to close that deal before Monday, etc.

Besides the reminder function, you will also be notified of the latest updates on your Leads, Prospects, Campaigns, and more. Chatbots can analyze such meaningful aspects like potential revenue or deal closing deadlines to advise which deals one should focus on first.

  1. Poor Understanding of a Customer

Image by Pixabay

Sales managers need a real-time, 360-degree view of their customers so that, when preparing for a meeting or call, they know all about the client. They will win the client’s trust more easily and close the deal faster if they are able to impress him/her with an understanding of their client’s pain points and interests.

Customer retention is one of the most important KPIs for any company and it directly comes from how well you know your clients. Timely reminders of contract prolongation, personalized offers, or just saying “Happy Birthday!” can make your clients happier.

Unfortunately, this may be quite a challenge to find out and organize scattered pieces of data to get the full picture of the client and his needs.

Reasons:

  • Data may be scattered across different sources (like client’s profile, social media, chats, emails).
  • Not enough time for thorough research before each meeting.

 

How can chatbots help?

The reasons to adopt chatbots for CRM are that they can be integrated with social media, email, messenger, inner enterprise databases and apps like ERP and CRM via API. As a result, this incorporation allows it to retrieve necessary data from multiple sources: user profiles, activities on websites, purchase history, transaction history, asked questions, preferences, complaints, etc. All this data, gathered by chatbots, allows the company to get a 360° view of a customer, identify trends and analyze the gaps that a human would not be able to see.

 

How it works, in practice:

Firstly, this can be used for improving the services, taking decisions for changing the marketing campaign, becoming more responsive to customer sentiments and, as a result, staying more competitive with others.

 

Secondly, armed with this knowledge, the sales rep can propose more precise matching of the product or service to the client’s needs, winning his/her trust and closing the deal faster.

 

  1. Time-Consuming Routine Activities

Image by Pixabay

Call-centers are overloaded with incoming calls and requests, most of which repeat from client to client. Answering questions about services, giving recommendations, directing people to the appropriate content, receiving orders, and many other activities can be automated, instead of hiring more employees or sacrificing conversions.

Reasons:

  • Managers spend a lot of time for answering repetitive questions.
  • People hate waiting for answers to their calls or chat requests and go to those who will serve them first.

How can chatbots help?

Connecting your website chatbot to the CRM, you can automatically gather all necessary client information such as name, age, payment data that will be recorded without additional manual efforts. This allows for a significant savings in time when it comes to entering data into the CRM manually.

How it works, in practice:

Use chatbots for business to take away a part of the routine tasks of your employees by automating some processes with chatbots.

For example, RozeExpress, an online flower shop, did just that. By installing Telegram integrated with a chatbot to all company couriers’ smartphones, they reduced delivery management overhead. The courier types in the bot chat information about delivery, bot logs the info in the CRM, changes the status of the order in the system and sends SMS messages to the client. Such a scheme allows savings of up to 40 min of customer service operator work daily.

Chatbots brought a great relief to conversational commerce. Many banks and financial companies use chatbots to answer clients general questions. As an example, Mastercard uses a Facebook Messenger bot to help their clients get information on their account transactions (e.g., “How much did I spend on restaurants in November?”). A user does not need to login into banking apps and navigate through the screens to see necessary information before logging out. This allows for an improved user experience.

What Is the Price of Chatbot for CRM Development?

Depending on the complexity of your projects, time frames, and budget, you can create a chatbot either with the help of a bot builder or go for a custom-tailored solution from scratch. If we talk about a chatbot for CRM, you should focus on custom development, as here we deal with robust business logic, security, user permissions, and unique functionalities.

In general, it is considered that building a chatbot is easier and cheaper than creating a mobile application. The reasons are:

  • No sophisticated UI design is needed, as chatbot uses a messenger UI. All functionalities are combined in a single interface and when, if anything, is changed or added, it doesn’t require app updating.
  • Messengers are free, flexible for changes, well-optimized, and chatbot-friendly.
  • No need to code for multiple mobile platforms.
  • There are ready bot platforms that let developers build, host, test, and deploy chatbots.

Factors that may influence development price and time:

  1. The scope of the project. The more robust interactions, the more time and higher price of development. Ask yourself the following question to understand the necessities:
    1. What is your bot supposed to do? Depending on business logic, it can go through the predefined conversational algorithm of questioning to collect data, take up the burden of answering FAQs, analyze data from multiple sources, or complete more sophisticated tasks.
    2. Are you going to collect payments through a chatbot?
    3. Does it need to integrate with third-parties and other enterprise systems?
    4. Should it recognize text only, or voice and gestures as well?
    5. What level of human speech understanding and AI does it need?
  1. Security. Depending on the industry and tasks that you want to automate with a chatbot, different levels of system protection and user permission rules can be used. For example, if your CRM deals with Finance, Healthcare or other sensitive information spheres, the security of the data transfer should be the highest priority, and, therefore, chatbot development can be more expansive.
  2. Bot infrastructure. Your bot may live either on a bot platform or your own custom infrastructure that allows taking overall control. On the one hand, creating a bot on the chatbot platform is easier, as all development tools and frameworks are provided, but, as a rule, such platforms are open source and this puts security in question. Another pair of shoes is a proprietary infrastructure where all rights for data and code belong to you and there are more guarantees of compliance with security measures.
  3. Adding AI to your bot. This may lift your system to a higher level if a bot can learn human language from every interaction and provide more complex and intelligent analytics. But, this is more complicated and time-consuming from the development point of view.

How to Apply This to Your Business

As stated in the Business Insider report, 80% of businesses plan to incorporate chatbots into their systems by 2020.

Integrating a chatbot with your CRM and other enterprise systems allows for automation of many routine tasks like:

  • answering customer questions
  • setting reminders for deadlines and important events
  • scheduling meetings among multiple participants
  • filling data into the CRM without the necessity to log in
  • analyzing omnichannel information
  • creating a 360-degree customer view

And many more functions that will allow you to increase the efficiency of your business.

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Technical

Dispatch Labs CTO Zane Witherspoon Explains How His Platform Created an Innovative Incubator Model

Dispatch is a platform promising zero transaction fees and a speed of tens of thousands of transactions per second (TPS). Is this platform a theoretical pipedream or worth a look? Find out more in this exclusive Merkle interview with Zane Witherspoon, co-founder and CTO of Dispatch Labs.

The Merkle: Can you tell us briefly about Dispatch Labs and how you got involved?

Zane Witherspoon: Dispatch Labs is a new chain built as a platform for data-driven DApps.

I was organizing the San Francisco Ethereum meetups when I met Matt McGraw and Patrick Wickstrom for the first time. We started talking about an idea of theirs for royalty leakage tracking using blockchain. It was probably the most boring thing you could do with such a new and exciting technology. We kept in touch, and started thinking about music. I’m a musician and Matt and I both have many artist friends, making us very familiar with the problems of artists and distribution costs.

We set out to make a content marketplace built on the blockchain, empowering artists to distribute their own music without middlemen taking a cut [of] their profits and bringing music to consumers for less. When we looked at platforms, we realized no blockchain could handle this quantity of data. That’s when we started working on building an underlying protocol and [it’s] how Dispatch Labs was born. A platform with speeds robust enough to support streaming music also had many other possible uses: AI, IoT, machine learning, streaming video, health records and data transfer, and more.

Both Matt and Patrick saw the bigger picture faster than I did, and as we built the platform, they brought up the idea of a consultancy. Patrick had spent years as a consultant at [PricewaterhouseCoopers] and Matt had helped many startups find major success, and [they] wanted to bring in people we could support as a consultancy and also introduce to our platform. I was so against it at first, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. We ended up forming a governing organization called The Bureau with Constellation Labs, a DAG protocol based on reusable smart contracts.

The Bureau became our innovation hub and governing organization, and our underlying protocols, Dispatch Labs and Constellation became the spokes. The Bureau lets us work with interesting blockchain projects, [supporting] their success as startups. In this structure, the Bureau builds out our connections, Constellation’s DAG works well at data intake, and Dispatch powers data collection and processing.

The Bureau at work inside Dispatch Labs’ San Francisco office

The Merkle: What kinds of partnerships does Dispatch have for getting new users and businesses on its platform? I saw you recently partnered with Utopi, offering a streaming video service.

Witherspoon: While we’re pretty blockchain-agnostic as far as how our Bureau clients develop their projects, many of them are excited to build on Dispatch because of the resources we can provide them and the influence they can have in the development of the protocol.

Nanovision is putting open medical data on the blockchain. This shared data would help to bring faster FDA approval for new prescription drugs. Nanovision also partnered with ARM processors to offer nanochip devices that could store your personal molecular health data on Dispatch.

Bucket seeks to remove coins from the fiat economy. Metal change like coins create a wasteful transportation cycle for companies to cash out at banks, and coin counter machines take a huge cut of consumers’ money for their service. 

The Merkle: You came up with a unique protocol known as Delegated Asynchronous Proof of Stake. How is this different from traditional Proof of Stake, and why was it necessary?

Witherspoon: Traditional blockchains have a hard cap [on the number of] transactions per second. This means the number of transactions is always limited by the number of blocks per second and the number of transactions per block. DAGs are one solution, but they are hindered by the shared quantity of data needed to be stored. DAGs like Nano and IOTA require you to keep a copy of the chain, meaning each individual has their own chain and keeps track of everyone else’s transaction.

Our solution was to apply a hybrid decentralized solution like Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS), with a smaller quorum of elected validators, to a DAG structure to prevent bottlenecking like we see on traditional blockchains. We DAG-ized DPoS, removing the TPS bottleneck. In Delegated Asynchronous Proof of Stake (DAPoS), the bottleneck becomes the validators themselves. So as validator algorithms and hardware get better, the TPS of the network can scale up with them.

The Merkle: What kind of security auditing are you doing to make sure the Dispatch platform works as intended?

Witherspoon: One of the markers of [the] immaturity of [the] crypto space is there’s virtually no Quality Assurance (QA) on any crypto project. We have a dedicated QA team in our engineering department focused on testing our product. We hired a team of brothers, Dennis and Dimitri Molchanenko, who invented Redwood HQ, one of the most popular QA frameworks used by the US Department of Defense and others. We’re working on our own QA, and trying to encourage the rest of the crypto community to start thinking about it early on in projects as well. We’re also planning on [having] outside code auditing closer to launch.

The Merkle: What’s the most exciting thing about working on new protocols and projects in crypto right now?

Witherspoon: I get to talk about technology and business a lot, but one of the things I’ve learned as a 21 year old CTO [is that] the tech is one thing, but so much of the time it’s the energy of people that’s the magic behind something. I know my career is young, and I constantly feel amazed and blessed to be on the founding team I am, and that Matt and Patrick have taken me under their wing. I love these guys.

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Technical

Search and Trade Directly with AirSwap: A Merkle Exclusive with Co-Founder Don Mosites

AirSwap launched last week, enabling more than a million dollars in trades on day one. Offering a way for buyers and sellers to find each other and trade directly, AirSwap isn’t like traditional or decentralized exchanges. Find out more about AirSwap in our exclusive interview with co-founder Don Mosites.

The Merkle: Hi Don, thanks for speaking with us. I first reached out to you when I was writing a piece on eBits (DEXs), and you told me that AirSwap isn’t a DEX because it’s more of a discovery service for peer-to-peer trading. How would you describe AirSwap?

Don Mosites: Thanks for having me. Yes, we don’t see AirSwap as a DEX. We believe the concept of “exchange” itself is already decentralized on the blockchain between peers. Our system lets those peers find each other and make trades directly. So technically, we’re more of a marketplace, and our platform is powered by search.

The Merkle: Could you give some background on why AirSwap is set up differently from DEXs and traditional order book setups?

Don Mosites: When my friend and co-founder Michael Oved first connected to the Ethereum community, he began to apply his experience in algorithmic trading and electronic markets to figure out decentralized trading designs. His early research revealed some limitations of decentralized order books.

Order books evolved as fast and predictable systems that prioritize and execute orders. Decentralizing this process creates a difficult coordination problem. Last year, 0x created a protocol for “relayers” to decentralize order books, which still faced race conditions, front running, and having to pay for cancels, which is a non-starter for market makers.

Seeing this, we opted to instead focus on peer-to-peer, in the spirit of the original Bitcoin white paper. With AirSwap, all three components of trade are decentralized: custody, execution, and settlement. We simply provide a peer discovery service called an Indexer, which looks and feels like a bulletin board with a search engine.

The Merkle: What are the advantages of this setup?

Don Mosites: First, AirSwap can scale with the growing token economy as market makers come online and trade more and more assets, and because trades are peer-to-peer, there are no fees on those transactions. As for pricing, given that we’re built for market makers, spreads will be tighter and you’ll see pricing comparable to centralized systems as more makers come online.

The Merkle: There are so many DEXs and centralized exchanges available today, where do you see AirSwap in all this? How do you stack up against competitors like 0x OTC and Radar Relay?

Don Mosites: We bring security, efficiency, and better pricing to decentralized trade. Just opening the platform last week, over $1 million of trades were made through the marketplace, and we had an incredibly positive community response. AirSwap offers more efficient trading and does not suffer the limitations of decentralized order books as mentioned before. Users are always in control of their assets and make trades directly, peer to peer. Because trades are direct between peers, there’s less friction, and pricing will be better than alternatives, even comparable to centralized systems.

The Merkle: What are some of the security measures you’ve taken to ensure that AirSwap is reliable for users? Are you doing any outside code auditing or other forms of security measures?

Don Mosites: We had two independent auditors look at our smart contracts available on our GitHub. We’re also confident in our security posture because we don’t handle users’ funds or settle trades. That all happens on-chain, between individuals, using smart contracts.

The Merkle: What’s the number one piece of advice you’d offer to new investors in the space?

Don Mosites: Pick up a hardware wallet, because dealing in keystore files and private keys on your own is dangerous. Decentralization means security is in your hands, so you need to be very careful about how you control your assets.

The Merkle: Where do you see blockchain technology heading in the long term? What do you think will be the effects?

Don Mosites: This is a huge question, but where we can have an impact is in the reduction of expensive and fragile trust systems of exchange, replacing them with new ways for people around the world to safely transact without intermediaries.

The Merkle: What motivates the AirSwap team to create projects in this emerging market?

Don Mosites: So much about what we’re doing is powerful in how it makes us feel. As technologists, it’s incredible to put these tools to work and see a positive impact. There’s a real chance to make the world a safer and more efficient place to trade, and we think the power of that is yet to be seen.

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Technical

Hollywood Producer Andrea Iervolino Launches TaTaTu, a Blockchain-Powered Social Entertainment Platform

Since music and film became digitized, both the RPAA and Hollywood have fallen victim to a multitude of platforms that have come into existence, making content freely available and accessible to people across the world, driving down profits and revenue streams.

But, with blockchain technology, there may finally be a means by which to harmonize the digital age with the entertainment space, ensuring that content creators are protected and that brands and companies receive a fair distribution of revenues from production and content distribution.

In the hopes of balancing the equation, Hollywood producer Andrea Iervolino is launching a new blockchain-based platform, TaTaTu, that intertwines social media activity with entertainment viewing. TaTaTu is a global and social entertainment platform through which users receive rewards for watching movies, sports, gaming, and other forms of content, as well as from their friends’ viewing.

Recognized for films like End of Watch, ApocalyptoThe Merchant of Venice, and Machete, Iervolino hopes to bring Hollywood to the blockchain by integrating a 360-degree entertainment platform that ensures secure digital rights records, as well as the fair distribution of advertising revenue between users and content providers.

As the co-founder of AMBI Media Group, a multinational consortium of vertically integrated film development, production, finance and distribution companies, Iervolino’s vision is to develop a nurturing community of dedicated and engaged users who watch and create videos that can then be shared with friends and members of the community.

Harmonizing The Scale

Users

Thanks to blockchain technology, users will finally be rewarded for their social entertainment activity in an open and decentralized way – earning tokens to watch movies and other content for free, and receiving additional tokens from the movies and the content consumed by their friends.

Users can engage with their friends and be rewarded for their social media relationships by receiving digital tokens for views generated by both themselves and their friends. Token holders will also take active part in shaping the future of the platform, with the ability to vote on which content the platform should provide in a fully transparent and decentralized way.

Content Owners

The industry is no stranger to piracy and illegal downloading. Well, finally, content creators no longer have to worry about not being compensated fairly – or at all – for their work, because platforms like TaTaTu will monetize every piece of content based on effective user consumption and real-time views, providing for transparency and real-time financial reporting.

“Social networks and entertainment platforms are making huge profits by gathering data from their users and selling it to other corporations without rewarding their users,” says Iervolino. “There is a need for a platform that provides higher levels of transparency to their users, brands, and rights holders about the revenues generated and monetization of users. Audiences need free, legal and quality content with a simple user experience.”

Most content-based platform business models are centered around the idea that users need to pay for their content, which encourages users to find alternative, more cost-effective routes, ending up in the illegal marketplace (e.g., torrents and the dark web). “Well, no more, because TaTaTu is listening to the marketplace and adapting—giving free access to content and taking it one step further by rewarding users with an automatic monetization system,” says the Hollywood producer.

Brands

Advertisers can target specific audiences by placing their ads on a reliable platform with premium content. Brands get access to very detailed information about their audience. All user profiles are verified, and all the views and engagement metrics are accurate.

Encryption and Transparency

Thanks to its blockchain, TaTaTu can record each transaction in an open and incorruptible distributed ledger, ensuring that users and content providers get rewarded. A digital rights management platform will ensure that all talent, distributors, and studios have an accurate record of their work recorded and secured on the blockchain, reducing the percentage of piracy throughout the industry.

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