Youve automated your email marketing, why not automate your one on one customer conversations? Chatbots are the next logical step for many brands that are looking to offer a more personalised service to customers, but do they really live up to their hype?
While the idea of chatbots may be relatively new, automated customer service technology is not. Automated voice recognition systems have been around for years and most customers experiences of them are far from positive. Nobody likes to repeat themselves five times before being on hold for half an hour and/or hung up on.
Fortunately chatbots offer a much more enjoyable experience for customers, and they can take the strain off marketers at the same time.
The rise in the popularity of chatbots has partly stemmed from a shift by consumers towards using social media platforms like Facebook Messenger to interact with brands. Instead of writing an email or making a phone call, many people want to be able to ask questions and get information directly from their mobile or tablet, either through a messaging app or by using an instant messaging function on the brands website.
What exactly is a chatbot?
A chatbot is programmed to interact with humans online. Many chatbots use a form of artificial intelligence to interact more organically with customers. Apples Siri is one example of a well-known chatbot and many other organisations have developed similar services including Microsoft and Amazon.
What are the benefits of using chatbots for your business?
Chatbots like Siri help humans with organisation and planning, as well as carrying out functional tasks while a user is doing something else (like driving). They are engaging because they make life easier for the customer and they also help a brand seem more human.
As well as helping with organisational and functional tasks, chatbots can also help consumers make purchasing decisions. Theyre already being used in many apps like Uber and Amazon to help customers at the physical point of purchase and they have the potential to influence customers and inspire them to buy more.
One of the main benefits of using chatbots for marketing is that they let customers have an individualised, tailored experience without the cost of hiring a huge team of customer service staff to deliver it. Compared to humans, chatbots are low cost, and they work 24/7.
Another great benefit of using chatbots is the ability to track purchasing patterns by consumers and gain a huge amount of insight into the different factors that motivate people to make a purchase.
Should you use chatbots for your business?
Chatbots are not only for the likes of Amazon and Apple. Many smaller businesses are using chatbots to save staffing costs and engage their customers on a variety of different platforms.
With the rise of messaging apps among consumers, chatbots provide a way for businesses of all shapes and sizes to interact and have a presence where their audience is. While they might be in their infancy now, in the future were likely to see chatbots become mainstream for businesses of all different shapes and sizes.