Chatbots vs. Forms: Which Is the Best for Customers?
A 2020 study on the state of conversational marketing conducted by Drift found that 55% of users enjoy getting quick responses to simple questions from a chatbot.
Another study by Juniper Research estimated that, by 2023, consumers and businesses who implement the chatbot would save over 2.5 billion hours while achieving business cost savings of $11 billion annually by the same year .
Regarding conversion rate, chatbots can increase inbound lead generation by 400%.
One question that many business owners and digital marketing specialists will ask is whether conversational forms or bots are better than traditional web forms?
This great question is answered in today’s article. Let’s rock.
🚀 Do Chatbots Convert More Leads Than Web Forms?
According to an analysis conducted by Leadoo, of 400 websites in 25 industries, chatbots increased website conversion rate by 10-100%.
They defined conversions by a user’s action, such as contact request, demo booking, free trial signup, event or webinar registration, newsletter subscription and so on.
This statistic is getting more impressive because out of 100 people who started chatting with a bot, on average, 10-30 users converted into qualified leads or performed other conversion events.
Meanwhile, a reasonable conversion rate for an online form falls between 2% to 5%. Among the web forms, email collection forms are the most effective method for converting users, averaging between 12% to 15%.
We can see that chatbots, if properly implemented, generate more leads.
🐱👤 When Chatbots Beat Traditional Web Forms?
Chatbots and forms perform specific actions to improve customer experience, and each should be implemented to reflect customer needs.
Thus conversational marketing offers an excellent way for customers to ask quick questions, retrieve product- or account-specific information, and get personalized real-time answers.
Something that traditional forms are not able to do.
However, traditional forms are more effective at capturing short snippets of user data, like first name and email address.
For a user, the latter method is more intuitive and faster.
😁 What are the advantages of web forms?
As mentioned above, static forms can be shorter, which justifies their use when you need to collect minimal information, such as the email and name of a blog subscriber.
“The idea of using a chatbot for light conversions in your sales funnel becomes redundant because of the pop-up forms. What I love about pop-up forms is that you can fill them out in seconds.”
His words make sense because a user can submit a form request to download a relevant e-book or product guide in just a few clicks, with minimal effort.
😢 What are the disadvantages of web forms?
Web form features are closely linked to the type of subscription.
Some online form providers exclude the ability to preview or export submissions in a free plan, making them utterly useless to the business.
Also, if you need to create more sophisticated logic that personalizes fields and sends admin notifications based on user input, you’ll need to upgrade the subscription to enable such features.
Chatbots can personalize content based on user input, even in the free plan and the most basic built.
Another disadvantage of web forms is the annoying form field filling, specifically their length. When you need to collect a lot of information from a potential customer, the form can seem endless to the user, leading to an increase in bounce rate.
Some other disadvantages of web forms come from their accessibility.
Only 2.6% of websites are accessible, according to a recent study by WebAim.
Finding accessible contact forms on the websites is as hard as stargazing during the full moon.
So chatbots can provide a range of required accessibility features.
They are programmed to speak, perform actions, input information and engage with specific website content.
👍 What are the pros of a chatbot?
24/7 concierge service
Chatbots have started to gain momentum because of their ability to assist customers 24/7.
When customers browse through a product inventory and have questions about an item, its availability, or specific features, chatbots can answer any questions in a conversational form – in seconds.
Chatbots can be designed to enhance data collection and segmentation.
Chatbots offer real time segmentation based on user input, an impressive feature that static forms lack.
Take the hospitality industry, as an example.
A hotel manager is assigned a task to promote several events at the hotel.
He can design logic in the conversation flows to evaluate visitor response by stay dates, budget, and type of event.
Among the number of suggested options would appear hotel events and special event discount.
Since the bot collects personal data including full name, phone number and email address, it can automatically add to or update the user details in CRM: hotel guests who are interested in events, restaurant or hotel promotions.
Even if the guest ends up attending another event, their personal details will be populated in the segments, improving the quality of future promotions.
Also, being helpful makes the visitor experience more enjoyable, which is something they will consider the next time they book a hotel in a city.
Chatbots are scalable through API, meaning they integrate with and retrieve real-time data from hundreds of channels and sources.
It makes conversational forms extremely effective data collection machines, as they can segment audiences, qualify leads, notify relevant departments, track goals, recommend products, book meetings, and do many other tasks.
Some chatbots, like IBM Watson, can integrate with over 130 platforms.
Conversational AI forms are built using predetermined rules or artificial intelligence (AI).
The bots use machine learning and natural language processing to translate complex language inputs into actionable outputs.
The AI trains itself, optimizing responses to user queries over time and making the entire interaction even more intuitive and engaging.
An optimized user experience will positively affect the form completion rate.
👎 What are the cons of a chatbot?
Some cons of chatbots include the following:
- Implementing a chatbot takes approximately 4-22 weeks, depending on its technical complexity
- Chatbots are not a panacea for converting 100% of users; be mindful of your objectives
- Especially if you run a small business, chatbots might be overkill since you need to update them regularly, ensure they collect accurate data and provide appropriate response
- Chatbots may not be the most cost-effective solution if you’re on a tight budget. Start by optimizing your landing page, web forms and content. Then see if you really need a chatbot
🤖 Can Chatbots Replace Web Forms?
Every digital marketing innovation answers one question: How do we make this new thing improve the customer experience?
Because the point of marketing is to present a new platform for businesses to support and enhance customer experiences, and make them more user-friendly.
So one of the main jobs of conversational marketing is to improve conversion rates, enhance user experience and support internal departments, like customer serivce, by handling new customer inquiries.
The bots mimic human-to-human interaction without compromising conversion rates.
Both chatbots and web forms have flaws, and each is more effective in specific situations.
The final decision whether to use a chatbot vs. a web form in your business scenario has to be based on user needs.
Online users are more accustomed to traditional web forms, and chatbots may provide a non-technical group of consumers with a more annoying user experience because of their novelty.
You need to ensure that either solution meets specific user preferences and that you gather enough data to justify choosing bots over web forms.
👊 Use Of Chatbot In Ecommerce
As mentioned above, chatbots are more interactive than traditional web forms, making them an effective lead generation tool.
Since chatbots can be integrated between marketing channels, like social media platforms and online stores, they provide a more seamless omnichannel experience.
Bots can extract data from product IDs and orders, cross-sell additional services or suggest tips on how to make the best use of a product, based on real-time answers and customer intent.
This functionality greatly improves the customer experience, making chatbots a better option than traditional contact forms.
🧐 Final thoughts. Should Chatbots Replace Web Forms?
Of course, chatbots are a new technology that is just beginning to be actively implemented in enterprises and small businesses.
Only 0.5% of B2B companies implemented chatbots in their marketing channels.
That’s why many companies may face challenges with acclimatizing customers to chatbots.
For example, if you’re in the hospitality industry, where 53% of hotels used chatbots to interact with customers in 2022, and your hotel uses only static contact forms, then it’s time to implement the chatbot.
Always think about your target audience lifecycle stages and how web forms or chatbots can help improve their experience.
👇 4 steps to get started with conversational marketing
- Step 1: Start small with a simple chatbot.
- Step 2: Focus on the user lifecycle stages.
- Step 3: A/B test chatbots on high-traffic landing pages to see if it generates more leads than web forms.
- Step 4: Collect data, analyze and repeat the experiments until satisfied with the results.