What is a chatbot?
Simply put, they are computer programs designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet. They can leverage voice, text, or a mix of both. In voice based options (like Alexa), the response to a question will be returned verbally. If the interaction happens in a chat window online, the bot will return an answer which can include words, graphics, or a combination.
The important thing to understand is that bots pair an answer and a question. It’s necessary for them to understand a searcher’s intent. There are a variety of technical components that comprise how the chatbots do what they do, but the process is important for marketers to understand for one big reason. Most of the work that needs to be done to prepare for chatbot experiences aligns with the work done by content strategists to improve client service at law firms, enhance their search engine rank, and ensure content quality.
If your law firm is considering integrating chatbots into your existing web experience, there are a couple elements you need to consider in order to be successful.
Is your law firm ready for chatbots?
Initially, you need to be confident in your decision and avoid a sloppy implementation. Many firms take a “wait and see” approach to chatbot implementation. This wastes valuable time down the road if you decide to incorporate chatbots for business development. As soon as you know you’ll be using chatbots, you’ll want to ensure you’re aligning with content creators so that chatbots have the most information available. When you decide to implement, do so thoughtfully and taking the proper steps. Failing to account for your firm’s entire ecosystem or how to scale will lead to problems down the road.
Content is key
Once you’ve made the initial decision, the next thing you should focus on is your content plan. A rich content calendar is the backbone of your chatbot strategy. If you’ve focused on structurally rich content, then you are better positioned to take advantage of chatbots.
As part of a comprehensive content plan, you’ve likely already created client journey maps. You can leverage this information to complete task analyses, which will naturally pair questions and answers. One easy way to do this is to check your search logs and document what people are looking for, as well as talking to your lawyers and business development team and finding out what questions clients or prospects ask over and over. It’s key at this stage to decide where a handoff will be necessary – where your content leaves a gap and the bot should turn the user over to a real person.
The main way an intelligent content strategy pays off is by using (or reusing, as the case may be) chunks of content that you currently have in your content management system. These content chunks can be fed directly to chatbots to answer many different questions. The more content you have, and the more robust the information within that content, the easier it will be for chatbots to mine for responses within a text box.
When your brand adopts chatbot technology, putting in the work to structure content properly up front leads to less investment down the road. Thankfully, if you spend the time structuring and categorizing your content today, you’ll be better positioned to adopt chatbots and improve client service at your law firm later on.
There’s a lot more to think about when it comes to chatbots for business development. If you need help choosing a partner or developing a better content strategy, reach out to us. We can help you position your firm to take advantage of today’s technology to secure tomorrow’s clients.