Bradley Scruggs is the cofounder and CMO at ZyraTalk, the leaders in bringing AI into the home service industry to increase conversions, increase booked jobs, and increase revenue. He is also the cofounder and CMO at Great Pros, a company that allows home owners to connect with reliable home service professionals.
In this interview, Bradley Scruggs talks to us about his role as CMO at ZyraTalk and how their omnichannel conversational platform has driven customer interaction. He also talks about the differences between automated chatbots and live chat and how his company leverages technologies to get results within the home services industry. Further, how companies should look at deploying conversational tools and the critical question of whether chatbots will ever replace humans.
DANNI WHITE: Tell us a little about yourself and ZyraTalk.
BRADLEY SCRUGGS: I’m one of the founders and the Chief Marketing Officer at ZyraTalk. I’ve been involved in lead generation and digital marketing for a number of years. We started ZyraTalk about 2 years ago and now work with thousands of professional service companies across the nation. Our largest verticals are in home services, legal, medical and dental.
We have a proprietary omnichannel conversational platform that allows companies to enable additional channels of communication for their customers. We believe that customers should be able to interact with a company how they want and where they want. SMBs can’t survive by just putting a phone number in the top right corner of their website anymore. Our flagship product is our AI powered chatbot that goes on a company’s website, but we also take the conversation onto different platforms like SMS and Facebook Messenger.
DW: How does ZyraTalk implement AI into its processes for customers?
BS: Our conversation flows use AI and natural language processing (NLP) to analyze the intent of the customer. Examples of intents are the type of job they need completed (water heater installation, roof repair, furnace replacement, etc), questions asking about pricing or scheduling, questions about employment, office hours, asking if they’re chatting with a bot, etc. We have have hundreds of intents built out and specific conversation flows built out for numerous industries. Our AI is constantly getting smarter as we analyze thousands of conversations each week and make our platform smarter through a process called supervised machine learning.
DW: In what ways do automated chatbots differ from live chat?
BS: Automated chatbots are much better than live chat. I say this is based on data that we have seen. We actually offer live chat and even a hybrid solution where a human can monitor automated conversations and jump in if they need to. A KPI that we are proud of is our chat completion rates.
With automation, we have achieved chat completion rates between 85-95% on a consistent basis. We’ve seen data from companies who use live chat with numbers as low as 20-30% chat completion rates. This is mostly attributed to long hold times. Our platform responds within 3 seconds. Live chat responds in 30+ seconds. Sometimes it even takes minutes for a response. Pretty crazy right?
DW: Is one more beneficial than the other?
BS: Automation is much more beneficial. We have companies ask to use the live chat because they want to chat with their customers. Once they realize how much work goes into it, 99% of companies go towards to automation and quickly realize how powerful the results are.
DW: The home services industry is very customer focused. How have you leveraged these technologies to get results?
BS: You’re absolutely right. Home services is our biggest vertical so we’ve been able to get feedback from hundreds of our clients. Our client feedback drives the development of our product. ZyraTalk generates huge returns for home service companies. We actually ran a case study with one of our larger clients where we compared their online revenue in the first 8 months of 2018 (without ZyraTalk) compared to the first 8 months of 2019 (with ZyraTalk). They saw a 33.2% increase in online revenue while the business grew by 8.1% as a whole. They were able to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars by incorporating ZyraTalk into their operations. Pretty awesome stuff.
DW: How can businesses better understand the importance of chatbots for business?
BS: It’s all about educating the client. Most SMBs don’t realize that data shows customers want to interact with companies in different ways other than just calling. We consider ourselves more than just a chatbot company. Enabling additional channels of communication through our omnichannel platform adds a ton of value to the company.
DW: Can you share some successful use cases of conversational marketing at its best?
BS: We have a ton of case studies of clients who see success from ZyraTalk. Conversational marketing continues to grow and there are a ton of successful use cases. We see the biggest companies in the world like Facebook, Google, and Amazon who are investing into conversational marketing to improve internal processes and processes for their customers.
DW: Should more companies begin to look at designing and deploying conversational tools to differentiate themselves from the competition?
BS: Absolutely. Data shows that more and more companies are investing in automation and conversational tools. It is certainly a differentiator and will soon become a necessity for all companies. In a recent study, Gartner predicts that 85% of conversations between businesses and consumers with be automated by 2020. Yes, next year! There’s also data that shows consumers don’t mind chatting with a bot. Some people may still have a negative stigma about “bots”, but that is quickly going away.
DW: Will chatbots ever fully replace humans?
BS: I don’t think chatbots will replace humans anytime soon. They more so assist human’s in day to day operations.
DW: How does the collecting of data and insights play into companies understanding their audiences better?
BS: Great question. Through our conversations we’re collecting unstructured text data. Forward thinking companies use this unstructured text data to do things like improve their Google Ads campaigns by adding long tail keywords, create Facebook retarget and lookalike audiences with the conversational data, etc. The unstructured text data gives great insight on what their customers are asking and how they can better assist them.