As a business person in the digital space, you must have heard the “Rise of chatbot”. Since the ‘bot boom’ occurred in 2016, Chatbot marketing has been the leader of AI and human interactions. It has slowly and steadily become one of the most popular tools used by marketers and businesses.
In fact, if you’re still pondering whether or not to incorporate bots in your business operations, you’re on the wrong side of things. The destiny of modern-day commerce is bot-related, The rise of chatbot has already started!
What are chatbots?
Chatbots are AI programs designed to improve communications with customers. Businesses make use of voice applications, chat windows, and messaging to engage their customers with chatbots.
There are two major kinds of chatbots; AI chatbots and flow chatbots. AI chatbots are self-trained and create their communication sequence based on the information they receive after customer interactions. Flow chatbots on the other hand are tree-based models that guide customers through a predetermined path created by a developer.
A lot of online customer service platforms have been making use of chatbots for a while now to help manage common customer service queries, FAQs, and the number of phone calls they receive.
The Rise of Chatbot
In 2018, Google was in the news thanks to the newest feature of its virtual assistant. At their I/O Developers Conference that year, Google CEO, Sundar Pichai showed how the Artificial Intelligence assistant could make phone calls to set up reservations and appointments.
This feat was impressive, but what was more incredible was the way the virtual assistant could copy human speech patterns, making it almost impossible to differentiate it from a ‘real’ human phone call. This innovation showed us a glimpse into the future of AI and bots, and how we are bound to have AI assisting with our everyday tasks(and at times, without us even knowing).
Even though Google’s bot brought about a new era, the rise of chatbot has long been ongoing. For a couple of years now, a technology that simulates human response has been successfully used through different channels.
How can bots be used?
Using a chatbot in your business is easy. A chatbot is designed to set up everything for you unless you want to write the bot yourself. It’s as simple as stating what the chatbot is expected to do, selecting where to use it (text, app, or website), and customizing what it says in varying situations.
To build a chatbot, you’d need to follow the steps below:
- Install a chat plugin like Tidio.
- Design custom chatbot options and answers to the most common questions relating to what you do.
- Monitor the bot’s interactions with customers, and modify how the bot should react based on your findings.
Before you set up your chatbot, you have to understand that chatbots are channels that exist on their own, and not just a subsidiary of digital marketing. To improve your business’ return on investment from your chatbot, you have to design a strategy comprehensive enough to address the why and how of the technology.
You need to know why your prospective and real customers would want to use your chatbot, and how to design a chatbot persona that blends with that of your customers.
How are brands using bot technology to improve marketing?
Big companies like eBay, Spotify, and Starbucks use chatbots to enhance their customer services. Bank of America has one of the most innovative bots called ‘Erica’, created to help users make smarter money decisions. Erica makes use of predictive messaging, algorithms, and AI to help users transfer funds, save money, check their balances, and make payments. That is surely the rise of chatbot.
Travel firm SnapTravel has a bot that helps its customers to find the best B & B or hotels near them. The bot does this through SMS, based on the customers’ preferences and budget, making use of a perfect blend of human and artificial intelligence to look up Priceline, Expedia, and other sites for the perfect deals.
Sephora has a chatbot that enables the company’s customers to share images when they want color-matched products, book appointments, and find store locations.
Evernote uses chatbots with a ‘one-pager’ that highlights all its key service touchpoints. Evernote also uses its chatbot to encourage their best service type, while encouraging customers to contact their Twitter support team, as well as make use of their email support and community forums.
Even sports teams use bots for timely content delivery and breaking news. Arsenal Football Club for instance has a chatbot that sends out live scores of the team to users that cannot tune in.
How does the rise of chatbot marketing compare to other traditional marketing strategies?
Chatbot marketing makes use of a personalized, two-way method of communication that identifies and commemorates the interests of customers, offering them the information or solutions they seek.
This type of conversational marketing helps businesses identify the type of products or services their users are interested in, what they like or dislike, strengthening the brand-customer relationship in the process. Since the conversations are automated, they get more personalized because chatbots use former interactions to identify customer interests.
With traditional marketing, however, the communication is one-way, as businesses only call prospects, request form fill-ups, or send emails. When this happens, it is only the marketer doing the talking while collecting very little information. This is not a very effective method of marketing.
Statistics show that around 80% of marketers and 56.5% of business professionals say that in the subsequent years, they will be spending more on chatbot marketing than on traditional marketing, and it is easy to see why.
Below are some of the major ways in which chatbot marketing defeats its traditional counterpart:
– Leads capturing:
With chatbot marketing, leads are captured by the bot that works 24/7. This is unlike traditional marketing where the presence of a human figure is very important to capture leads.
– Immediate feedback:
Chatbots can be used to collect feedback from customers through options like feedback boxes, polls, emails, or online surveys. Traditional marketing strategies do not allow this swift gathering of feedback, keeping businesses in the dark as to what their customers think in the process.
Feedbacks are important for marketing, whether they are positive or negative. They help every business improve their operations by correcting the wrong things and improving immediately.
– Instant responses:
Traditional customer support teams are always very busy, and since customers always need to ask questions, backlogs are bound to happen. Customers are known to equate their value to a business to the effectiveness of its customer service. They view poor customer service as an insult to their personalities.
Chatbot marketing solves this problem because bots are automated to always respond (and fast). The moment a customer asks about something, the bots provide immediate answers, engaging customers until human knowledge is necessary.
Thanks to chatbots, personal touches are added to make customers feel understood and appreciated. This is because they are identified by their personal interactions and addressed based on this info.
Instead of creating generalized marketing campaigns from huge data, businesses can streamline personal data, and communicate with them on a more intimate level.
– Connecting for sales
Chatbots assigns leads to conversational salesmen that can now proceed to convert prospects into clients. With the help of these bots, information on current and prospective customers are tracked and collected. This task can be difficult done manually, but since bots process data faster, it becomes easier.
Voicebots; the Modern Chatbots?
With the rise of chatbot, so are the voice bots. Voice bots are AI-powered software that has steadily become one of the best ways of communicating in today’s smart technology world. They enable callers to use their voice for the navigation of IVR systems through the means of natural languages.
With voice bots, callers do not have to enter corresponding numbers on their keypads after listening to menus. All they have to do is speak to the IVR with a live operator.
According to a recent survey, this technology-based generation is constantly on the lookout for a voice assistant on an application or website because it helps them make recurring purchases, allows them to do things without using their hands, allows them to multitask, and is ‘super convenient’.
The rise of chatbot
Even though chatbots are not going to completely replace human customer service representatives, Gartner’ recent survey showed that by the start of 2021, almost 85% of businesses will have bots serving as their customer service centers.
In today’s world, customers want quick, dependable customer service at every point in time. Thanks to enhanced customer service capabilities, chatbots are meeting the needs of these demanding customers.
Not only has customer service been transformed by these bots, but the way in which businesses have adopted them is a classic illustration of how Artificial Intelligence can change an industry without fuss.
As a business owner, if you have not started using chatbots for your operations, you run the risk of being left behind since the rise of chatbot have already been started.