Even if you haven’t yet tried it, doubtless you will have heard of ChatGPT. Many small business owners may assume that something so futuristic and technological has no relevance for their small business… they would be wrong. Let’s demystify and simplify ChatGPT so you can embrace this fantastic new tool to revolutionise customer acquisition, communication and retention.
What is ChatGPT and how does it work?
It is a groundbreaking AI-powered language model and a free source of information, yet so much more - think Google, but in the form of an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, producing answers at dazzling speed. It’s effectively a ‘super chatbot.’ The difference between a Google search and ChatGPT is that with Google you type a question and Google obligingly provides pages of results, but with ChatGPT, it’s a dialogue. ChatGPT will write the article or website post for you. If you do not like the first answer, you can ask it to try again. ChatGPT will not only provide a different response but will learn from the engagement with you! Yes, a machine can learn… let that sink in.
6 Practical ways to use ChatGPT for marketing and tailored customer service.
1. Create content
The most obvious benefit is the speed with which ChatGPT can generate relevant and highly readable content for your website pages, social media posts and even your marketing campaigns. A blog article that would typically take hours of research and writing, can be produced and posted in a tenth of the time. Ensure that you fact-check and tweak the content to suit your audience and your brand. The more you do this, the better ChatGPT’s responses will be in the future.
2. Improve the customer experience
Enhance customer interactions and support by integrating ChatGPT into your website and social media platforms. It can bolster your FAQ (frequently asked questions) responses by providing quick and accurate responses. The information will be correct because you will have fed it the appropriate responses to begin with and then ChatGPT will learn from customer interactions to finetune its answers. This frees up staff to handle more complex issues or to engage personally when this is required. High tech, plus high touch ensures timely, accurate responses to customer queries thereby improving the customer experience. The investment in technology is easily offset by the savings in support staff time.
3. Offer 24/7 availability
ChatGPT doesn't need rest or sleep and labour laws don’t apply. It operates 24/7, ensuring that customers can receive an appropriate response at any time. This round-the-clock availability can be a significant advantage, especially for businesses serving global markets, or just to be available whenever and wherever your customer is.
4. Gain data insights
ChatGPT can analyse data from customer interactions, thereby providing valuable insights into customer behaviour and preferences. This allows you to refine your marketing strategy, product offerings, and customer engagement. This is targeted marketing on a level that was previously unrealistic and too expensive for small businesses.
As your small business grows, so do the touchpoints for customer engagement. Scaling up human support teams is expensive, but scaling ChatGPT is as simple as allocating more server resources.
6. Generate leads
ChatGPT can be taught to engage with visitors to your website and to ask them questions to gather contact information and other relevant details. It can also send personalised messages to potential leads on social media or through email marketing campaigns. This is like having a digital marketing manager in your pocket.
Tips to use ChatGPT effectively
Have a clear business and marketing strategy in place before implementing ChatGPT. This allows you to define its role and to ensure a seamless integration of AI into your operations. What tasks or processes do you want ChatGPT to assist with? Whether it's customer support, lead generation, or data analysis, having a clear purpose will guide your implementation. Decide which tasks it will handle and when human intervention is necessary.
Provide training data
To improve ChatGPT's accuracy and relevance, provide it with ample training data – its answers will only be as good as the prompts you give it. Give industry-specific terminology and customer preferences as well as red flags or phrases to avoid.
Regularly monitor and update
Keep an eye on customer interactions and use feedback to refine the AI's responses. Regularly update the training data to reflect changing customer needs and trends and track the effectiveness of lead generation.
Implement robust data security measures to safeguard customer information handled by ChatGPT. Where necessary, encrypt data, restrict access and ensure compliance with relevant POPIA.
Train your team
While ChatGPT can handle many tasks, it's important to train your team to work alongside AI, not to fear it. Ensure they know how to use it, its limitations, when to step in, how to handle complex issues and, most importantly, how to maintain a personal touch in customer interactions. Handle resistance to change with sensitivity… fear of the unknown should be met with understanding and education.
Educate your customers
Inform your customers that you are using ChatGPT to improve service levels and ask for their feedback on what works/ what doesn’t. Transparency builds trust and sets realistic expectations.
Measure and analyse ROI
Track the impact of ChatGPT on your business metrics. Measure return on investment (ROI) by assessing cost savings, improved customer satisfaction, increased sales, or reduced response times.
Avoid the common mistakes and pitfalls
Think before you ink!
ChatGPT is simply a tool and given that it is currently free-to-use, it has limitations. If you ask it, it will humbly tell you that it may generate incorrect information or biased content and that it has a limited knowledge of the world and events after 2021 (when it was first released). Therefore, caution and common sense must be exercised before simply copying and pasting the answers.
Bring in the human touch
While ChatGPT can provide quick and accurate responses, it lacks the empathy and humour that people can offer. In emotionally charged situations or complex issues, customers may prefer speaking to a real person. Striking the right balance between AI and human interaction is essential to customer retention.
Don’t underestimate the technological learning and time commitment you and your team may need. Implementing ChatGPT in your small business does not require a Ph.D. in computer science, but it does require some technical know-how. Training ChatGPT and customising it to suit your specific needs can be time-consuming and may require the assistance of AI experts or developers.
Monitor for misunderstandings and errors
ChatGPT is not infallible and may misinterpret customer queries or provide incorrect responses. Constant monitoring and ongoing refinement is essential to avoid the wrong kind of publicity, especially in the early days of implementation.
With careful planning and ongoing refinement, ChatGPT can become a valuable asset that enhances customer satisfaction, reduces costs and drives business growth, but it is only as good as the training we give it.
Tell us how ChatGPT has improved your workflow in the comments below.