Nathan Mihelich is director of membership and marketing at the Illinois Retired Teachers Association.
Delivering timely and effective member service is a must-do for associations. To help with that, one tool to consider adding to your website is AI chatbot technology.
In an increasingly competitive and technology-driven world, associations must adapt to meet the diverse needs of their members. One innovative solution is the integration of AI chatbot technology.
By embracing AI chatbots, associations can significantly enhance member support, streamline communication, and increase engagement, setting themselves apart from competitors and fostering a strong sense of community.
AI chatbots can provide quick and accurate responses to common member inquiries, such as benefits, event information, and resource access. This can improve the member experience, making them feel valued and supported. Because of personalization, the AI chatbots know your members’ names and status so when written correctly they can express appreciation for your members.
One of the most appealing features of chatbots is their ability to help 24/7, ensuring members always have access to the information they need, regardless of time zones or regular business hours. This level of support is especially valuable for associations with members across the globe or those who require assistance outside of traditional working hours.
By handling routine tasks and frequently asked questions, AI chatbots can help associations allocate staff resources more efficiently. For instance, teams can focus on more strategic initiatives, high-priority projects, and member engagement activities.
Another advantage of AI chatbots is their ability to deliver personalized content and updates based on member interests and preferences. This tailored approach leads to increased satisfaction, loyalty, and a stronger sense of community within your association.
By leveraging AI technology, chatbots can engage with members on a deeper level, fostering long-lasting relationships and encouraging active participation. Chatbots get smarter with every conversation and member questions are answered immediately with less demand on staff.
Moreover, AI chatbots collect valuable insights about member preferences and concerns through conversation data analysis. This information allows associations to make data-driven decisions that will help enhance services and offerings and improve the member experience.
Chatbots can also handle multiple conversations simultaneously and easily scale to accommodate increased demand. This allows associations to maintain a high level of member support without a significant investment in additional staff or resources. As your association grows, an AI chatbot can seamlessly adjust to the expanding needs of your membership.
In addition, adopting AI chatbot technology can show your association’s commitment to innovation and providing customer service to members.
Although building an AI chatbot for your website involves several steps, here’s a high-level overview to help you get started:
Choose an AI platform. Decide which AI platform or service you want to use for your chatbot. Popular options include Google Dialogflow, Microsoft Bot Framework, IBM Watson, Rasa, Wit.ai, and Amazon Lex.
Create an account and set up your chatbot. Sign up for the platform you’ve chosen and create a new chatbot project. The platform will typically provide a user interface and tools for designing, training, and deploying your chatbot.
Define the chatbot’s purpose and functionalities. Before you start building your chatbot, define its purpose and the tasks it should perform. This will help you create a focused and effective chatbot.
Design conversation flows. Design the conversation flows that your chatbot will follow. This includes defining intents (user goals), entities (keywords), and context (information about the conversation). These will help the chatbot understand user inputs and provide appropriate responses.
Train your chatbot. To improve your chatbot’s understanding of user inputs, you’ll need to train it. This involves providing sample phrases and sentences for each intent, so the chatbot can learn to recognize them.
Integrate with your website. Once your chatbot is ready, you’ll need to integrate it with your website. You can do this with a web-based chat widget or by adding custom code to your site. Most AI platforms provide pre-built widgets or software development kits that make this step easy.
Test and improve. Test your chatbot thoroughly to identify and fix any issues. Iterate on the design and training as needed to improve its performance.
Monitor and maintain. Keep monitoring your chatbot’s performance after deployment. Regularly update its training data and make any necessary adjustments to ensure it continues to meet user needs.
Integrating AI chatbots into your association’s member services is a strategic move with numerous benefits for both your organization and members. By offering member support, personalized experiences, and efficient resource allocation, chatbots can help your association thrive in today’s competitive landscape.