Over the last few years there has been a major increase in companies using Chatbots as part of their Marketing. Simply put a Chatbot is a computer program designed to replicate conversations with a human. It can be used to answer questions or automate various tasks by ‘chatting’ with a user – think Instant Messaging like ‘Messenger’ or Virtual Assistants like ‘Siri’, ‘Alexa’, etc.On the techie side of things, advanced Chatbots are powered by Artificial Intelligence (don’t ask me how that works), so it can learn to understand complex request, use personalisation and generally improve interactions over time. This is still an emerging technology so the majority of Chatbots still use a set of preprogrammed rules set up on a ‘bot-building’ platform – think yes/no and if-then statements.
I’m going to ignore Virtual Assistants for the purposes of this blog and look at how Chatbots are impacting the world of Marketing.
Data, lots of lovely Data.
The massive benefit of digital marketing is all the lovely data you can gather and the ease of personalising your message to the consumer accordingly. Consider these engagement stats for mobile messaging (thanks to Pypestream) and then think about the amount of data that becomes available to a Marketer when combined with a Chatbot!
- 2 trillion mobile messages were expected to be sent in 2017. That’s about double the amount of messages sent in 2012.
- The open rate for mobile messages is a near perfect 98 percent, which is exponentially higher than the 22 percent rate emails employ.
- Six of the top apps used globally are messaging apps.
- Retention rate of messaging apps is about double the amount of other types of apps.
Marketers able to use Chatbot data to increase PPC performance and organic reach and deliver marketing automation. And perhaps even more importantly they will be able to send ever more personalised and targeted campaigns to meet consumers’ needs.
Your Chatbot Becomes your Brand Ambassador
Chatbots can just be fun to use. They may serve no obvious purpose at all, other than to offer enjoyment to the user. If they are designed well and developed intelligently they can completely energise the customer experience. A well designed Chatbot can become a brand ambassador. If a Brand gives a Chatbot a sense of humour so much the better, practically when dealing with users who are trying to catch the Chatbot out.
Make sure your Chatbot incorporates your company’s values whilst meeting your customers’ needs.
Instant Online Help & Customer Service
Customers want great customer services whether they are a first time buyer/repeat buyer, buying online or offline or conversing with a real person or with Artificial Intelligence.
Chatbots can engage with a customer online and ask how it can help. Invariably a customer will have a simple question which a Chatbot will be able to answer using their extensive database of most likely to ask questions.
Chatbots can reduce waiting times and of course it’s a 24/7 service, meaning customers will always never be left waiting for a response, no matter the time of day. From a business point of view, you may also be able to reduce the number of customer service employees.
Chatbots don’t have to be limited to inbound enquiries, you can use them after sales or to develop a relationship with your existing customers. By setting up your Chatbot to send follow up messages you can:
- Check customers are happy with their purchases
- Let customers know about new products and/or services that fit their profile
- Wish people a happy birthday and couple it with a ‘birthday present discount code’
- Carry out customer satisfaction surveys
Chatbot popularity will continue to grow as the technology becomes increasingly clever. It is expected that Chatbots will become capable of thousands of interactions that replicate human conversations and will coded to have increasingly intelligent responses to customers queries.
However it’s important to remember that Chatbots shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for meaningful interactions between a company and their customers but they are a great way to engage with your customers and to answer FAQ and provide instant product info & guidance as needed.
Check out TechWorld to see some great examples of UK businesses using chatbots