The way that businesses interact with consumers has consistently evolved with developments in technology. What was once ad men in a boardroom sketching out the next television advertisement has evolved into digital design agencies partnering with an organization’s marketing team to create immersive, personalized experiences for customers.
Chatbots are the latest innovations transforming the ways in which consumers interact with brands. For those unfamiliar with chatbots, they are an AI tool that can be integrated directly within messenger applications, digital assistants, and other user technologies for the purpose of providing customer service, driving sales, and marketing branded content.
Considering the top four mobile messaging applications had a combined monthly active user base of over 3 billion people, chatbots can be an extremely effective way to reach audiences across the platforms they are already using. The latest versions of chatbots leverage neural machine learning to create even more intuitive and helpful customer experiences.
People Prefer Customer Service Via Chatbot
This fact and the additional features available in chatbots make them one of the most effective customer service solutions.
First, they are accessible to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays. For organizations, this means they can save money and keep only the essential amount of human reps on staff while also being able to laud their customer service accessibility. For customers, the ability to have their questions or concerns answered anytime, anywhere is a priceless feature:
A chatbot also has the ability to handle a seemingly unlimited amount of customer service requests simultaneously. Whereas a human rep is restricted to 3-4 interactions at any given time, a chatbot can handle thousands. The tasks a chatbot can handle, too, are varied. For example, Mastercard’s chatbot allows customers to track their finances, request statements, and ask questions directly through Facebook Messenger.
Chatbots are a great way to provide excellent customer service without the added complication of human emotion. When a customer encounters a problem, they are not guaranteed to address a customer service rep with a level head and calm demeanor; nor can you rely on human representatives to respond in that manner all the time either. Chatbots, however, are programmed to always be polite, helpful, and positive.
Personalized Marketing Through Chatbots is Key to Brand Loyalty
Chatbots are the tech tool of choice for conversational marketers. With consumers preferring the option to chat with their favorite brands, companies can capitalize on this desire by offering personalized, direct communications. In doing so, they can foster greater brand loyalty with better-targeted content and the feeling of talking with a brand representative.
From being able to browse recipes from a national grocery chain to a news service delivering relevant news content right to users’ mobile devices, organizations have already begun leveraging chatbots to create a united brand identity their customers prefer.
Sephora is an excellent example of one such brand. Their Kik messenger chatbot was aimed towards U.S. teens and was intended to be both engaging and educational (notice that driving revenue was not one of the motivations).
First, the Sephora chatbot greets the user by name, taking a tip straight out of the personalized marketing handbook.
Then, it further personalizes the experience by leading them through a brief quiz of personal preferences and demographic information. At the end of this, the chatbot then provides relevant content, including makeup tips specifically tailored to the customer, tutorial videos, and product recommendations.
Casper is another company leveraging chatbots for a unique and personal conversational marketing experience with customers. Their chatbot, the Insomnobot-3000, is available 24/7 to chat with customers who are having trouble sleeping.
Source: BI Intelligence
With this initiative, not only does Casper present itself as thought leaders in the sleep culture space, but also their chatbot puts the brand in a positive, generous light. As customers chat with the bot at a time when they seek companionship and comfort, they therefore build an attachment to the brand. Like Sephora, this chatbot’s priority isn’t to sell customers a product or drive revenue; instead, it is mostly an engagement and branding tool.
Direct Purchasing Through Chatbots Drives Commerce
A brand’s bottom line is always going to be one of the most important factors they consider when adopting a new marketing strategy. The adoption of chatbots is no different.
Yes, as discussed, chatbots are great for customer service and engagement. However, these other functions all serve a larger purpose to move users through the conversion funnel and encourage purchasing behavior. Whether that’s to re-engage previous customers, upsell current users, or nurture potential customers, a company can leverage chatbots for the benefit of boosting revenue.
One of the most effective ways a chatbot accomplishes the goal of driving commerce is the ability to make purchases from directly within the platform. In a recent study of millennials, two-thirds said they’d be likely to make a purchase from a chatbot. This is in part due to the simplicity of the process of buying a product or service from the platform.
Organizations across industries can leverage the ability to make purchases directly through chatbots. Pizza Hut, for example, launched the concept of “conversational ordering” with their chatbot. All that users need to do is friend the company on social media and start a conversation to then place their order. Then, they can track the order while the chatbot saves their preferences for future use.
Nike’s Stylebot offers a great example of combining customer engagement with driving the purchase. Targeted towards females, the greatest feature of the chatbot lets users upload photos and then customize a sneaker that matches the image’s color palette. The brand personalizes the shopping experience while encouraging users to make a purchase from within the platform.
Chatbots for Customers Continue to Evolve
The effectiveness of chatbots for transforming customer’s digital experiences with brands is only going to continue growing. As developers work to enhance the artificial intelligence technology behind the software, the tasks a chatbot can accomplish will be even more diverse and their impact on user experiences will be even greater.
In the realms of customer service, brand engagement, and sales, chatbots are already proving they are changing the game for how brands and customers interact with each other. Through personalized conversations, both parties are able to enjoy an entirely unique and new way to communicate that yields tangible benefits.
Building a simple chatbot might be a no-brainer, but building a smart chatbot that will not embarrass your customers with “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your request” is quite a challenge. Ciklum R&D can assist you with building an AI driven chatbot architecture specific to your company needs. Contact us and drop a few lines about your goals.