Things to consider when building a HubSpot chatbot

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1 min read

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is simply a computer programme designed to simulate a conversation. With HubSpot, we can use chatbots on websites to enhance a user's experience; providing them more value and assistance in their journey.

 

Is a chatbot right for my business strategy?

HubSpot’s chatbots have a wide range of uses. They can fit into many different business strategies, and most importantly, save you time. HubSpots chatbots can be applied across a range of areas including:

  • Customer service issues.
  • Lead generation.
  • Surface marketing.
  • Capturing leads.
  • Book meetings.
  • Create tickets.
  • Simple business tasks.

When customers are seeking support, it's really important that they can access it quickly, and at a time which suits them. This is where HubSpot’s chatbots excel as they can provide 24/7 support to multiple people simultaneously.

When deciding whether a chatbot is a meaningful investment for your business, there are some factors that are worth considering to ensure you are maximising value and benefit.

 

The cost of a HubSpot chatbot...

Here’s a breakdown of the costs, according to HubSpot's pricing page.

Free

Limited to ticket creation, lead qualification, and meeting booking bots, with no custom branching logic.

Free to use but has HubSpot branding on the bottom

Starter

Limited to ticket creation, lead qualification, and meeting booking bots, with no custom branching logic.

Starter Hub subscription from £38/month

Professional

Includes ticket creation, lead qualification, meeting booking bots, custom branching logic, and advanced targeting.

Pro Hub subscription from £297/month

Enterprise

Includes ticket creation, support, lead qualification, and meeting booking bots, plus custom branching logic and advanced targeting.

Enterprise Hub subscription from £990/month

 

Is human bandwidth a constraint?

HubSpot’s chatbots remove the human component from your side of a conversation, while still delivering results to the user asking questions. If staff time is very limited, or having a live chat isn’t feasible, HubSpot may have the solution. 

 

Do I need to collect data?

Why waste your time collecting simple data and ticking boxes? HubSpot excels at gathering important information from users with chatbots such as name, email, phone number, address and more. This means you don’t need to task a human with this job; allowing your staff to be more effective in other more pressing areas of your business.

 

Is the cost of a mistake low?

Chatbots - much like humans - can make mistakes. If you allow open responses, HubSpot’s chatbots cannot determine the correct reaction 100% of the time and make mistakes. When using closed answers, a user may have a different query than you anticipated with your preset answers; this means that your bot won’t be able to provide the value your user is looking for. If the cost of mistakes is too high for your business, HubSpot chatbots may not be suitable.

 

Are there repetitive processes or requests customers need?

This is another area where HubSpot is perfectly suited, and can save your team lots of time. Do your customers ask very similar questions, or does your team operate the same processes which could be automated? If so, a chatbot is a great solution for helping users with FAQs and completing simple repetitive processes.

Top tip

If a chatbot can't cover all of your needs, it is possible to use HubSpot to start a conversation with a bot then proceed to connect to a real human or live chat when the situation calls for it. Sometimes combining bots and humans is the most effective process. 

 

Building a chatbot

When building a chatbot on HubSpot, it is always best to plan. Map out a summary of what you’d like your bot to do, as well as any specific targeting and goals. Making use of a flow chart is always worthwhile, too. This way you can show how you’d like users to travel through your chatbot - making it easier to visualise the process and the branches of the conversation when you build your bot in HubSpot. 

 

Best practices

Don't pretend to be human

Pretending to be human misleads your users. HubSpot advised to make it very clear in your messaging that your chatbot is simply that - a robot designed to help. In fact, in certain areas, it's actually illegal to disguise your chatbot as a human so be sure to research your local laws.

 

Create an error message

As we have already mentioned, things can go wrong, and chatbots can get confused or branches can break. HubSpot gives the option to create a simple error message for an occasion like this that will help the user understand what is happening, and provide a more transparent experience.

 

Add value before you extract information

Your chatbots’ primary focus should be to help a user and provide THEM value.

Start conversations by clearly outlining how you can help them with their query. HubSpot will generate the best results when you only ever ask for information, or for the user to complete an action, when you are certain you can help. 

 

Economise branches

Don't make it feel like a chore for your users to talk to your chatbot. Reduce the chit-chat gossip and get to the actions that count quickly. By streamlining your chatbot in HubSpot, it’ll also make creating it faster, and make troubleshooting simpler, too. 

 

Where will your bot live?

Another thing to consider is where your chatbot will live. HubSpot allows you to make specific bots for select pages to create a customised experience for visitors, or will your chatbot be more generic and be across the whole website/top level pages?

 

Who will see your bot?

As well as targeting your bot to specific pages, HubSpot gives you the ability to choose who sees it. Targeting your bot at specific groups of people can provide benefits for your business, with more personalised conversations and further engaging a target group. By creating qualifying factors in HubSpot, you will have the ability to show people who are at different stages in the buying journey different messaging. 

 

Creating chatbots in HubSpot

At FINALLY, we use HubSpot to build chatbots for our website and for our clients too. These chatbots are rule-based, meaning they function on a set of rules determined by you. These can be simple, complex, or somewhere in between.

This is great for collecting sets of data, however it does mean your bot will not be able to answer any questions outside of the defined rules. To work around this limitation, it is often better to use predefined answers your users can choose from, rather than free responses that may confuse your chatbot and cause issues.

HubSpot chatbots are effectively used for the following actions:

  • Send a simple message.
  • Ask a question.
  • Offer an email subscription.
  • Set contact/company property value.
  • Add to static list (Marketing Hub Starter+).
  • Submit a ticket.
  • Send to a team member.
  • Enroll in a workflow.
  • Trigger a webhook.
  • Run a code snippet.
  • Book a meeting.
  • If/then branches.

Steps to building your bot

  1. Plan your chatbot by laying out targeting and goals as well as a map/flow chart for your chatbot.
  2. In HubSpot navigate to Conversations > Chat Flows > Create a chat flow to begin building your chatbot.
  3. Select the type of premade bot template you want to use, or you can create your own following your map.
  4. Creating a strong welcome message for your chatbot which will encourage more users to open it and engage.
  5. Build out your chatbot following your map and economising branches.
  6. Once you have created your bot, you will need to decide which pages it will live on, and who will see it. You can do this by adding target lists and adding page URLs that you wish to include/exclude.
  7. Testing your chatbot is as important as proofing a blog or landing page before you publish it. An easy way to do this is by using the testing feature in the builder, which allows you to make sure all of your pathways work as you want them to. 
  8. Toggle on your chatbot. Once you are happy, you can turn it on for your users to see and interact with.
  9. As with all things, it’s important to track the performance of your bot and optimise it over time as you notice trends or changes in user behaviour or needs; this will help you to provide a better service over time.

Top Tip

You can also create a “testing list” with only yourself and any team members who can  help, and turn on the bot to make sure you're happy with how it looks and functions on the page.

 

Summary

HubSpot’s chatbots are designed to simulate a conversation and enhance a user's experience; giving them more value and assistance in their journey.

Before you invest in HubsSpot for your chatbots you must decide if it’s right for your business and its goals. Chatbots (and HubSpot) excel in reducing your human workload, collecting data and automating repetitive processes. However, even the best Chatbots can make mistakes, so consider if you want to take that risk.

If you have decided a HubSpot chatbot is right for you, you’ll need a plan of what you want your bot to do. Best practices for your chatbot include: 

  • Making it clear it's not a human to help avoid confusion and any legal issues you might find. 
  • Predicting things might go wrong, and creating an error message so your users know that there will be a slight delay before returning to full functionality. 
  • It is good practice to add value before you start asking for things from your customers. See how you can help, and most importantly IF you can help, there’s no point offering irrelevant solutions. 
  • Simplifying your bot and economising branches will make it much easier to build the program as well as maintain, update, and troubleshoot errors.  This will also give your users a better journey through the process.
  • Making the decision to where your bot will live on your website; each page provides different value, so using specialised chatbots will be more useful to users on a particular page or wondering about a topic.
  • Deciding who will see your bot is also an important consideration. Chatbots can be targeted at specific groups of users; this means you can talk to people differently if they are returning visitors, qualified leads, or the target of a campaign you may be running.

Take care when building your chatbot to keep these best practices in mind to make the best use of your time and budget, as well as provide a better experience for your users. 

For more information on building chatbots, or using HubSpot in your marketing strategy, get in touch with our team here at FINALLY. We can find the right solution for you and your business.

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