ROBOTS ROCK: 3 WAYS CHATBOTS CAN HELP YOU IN 2018
Many predict that 2018 will mark the widespread use of chatbots, which will undoubtedly change the face of user experience. So here are just three ways in which chatbots can help your organisation...
1. Chatbots can enhance UX
ASOS and Spotify are prime examples of brands using chatbots to enhance user experience.
The former has simplified the buying process, operating through Facebook to make suggestions for gifts; ASOS's chatbot also provides image links which send the customer directly to the suggested products. With the addition of machine-learning technology, the bot filters options by asking shoppers a selection of questions - then makes recommendations based on their answers.
The latter enables users to discover and share music directly with their friends in 'chats'. The bot, which also benefits from Facebook’s chat extensions, includes search tools, song suggestions, and a sharing functionality for sending 30-second clips to friends that can either be listened to within Messenger, or launched in full on Spotify’s app. In this sense, the chatbot enhances the UX through social connectivity and gamification.
Chatbots can enhance user experience by providing a greater sense of presence and support (with 24-hour, seven-days-a-week availability). They can function as a booking system, a search tool, and a provider; facilitating the procurement and distribution of information or assets.
2. Chatbots can do outbound
Chatbots are not only effective as a customer service tool, but can also be used to engage your customers via outbound marketing methods. This mitigates the need for additional manpower or time when conducting proactive customer engagement.
In fact, by using chatbots to send follow-up messages, you can:
- Obtain customer feedback
- Announce pipeline or new products and/or services
- Send people personalised messages (such as birthday wishes) to boost customer satisfaction
Chatbots can also be programmed to send customers directly to a member of your team, thereby stimulating direct customer engagement.
You can even program chatbots to 'prompt', which encourages customers to explain a common issue - which can then be resolved by the chatbot or a customer service representative.
3. Chatbots = more dynamic surveys
In 2018, you can expect chatbots to start replacing the more traditional survey format; offering a dynamic, conversational way of conducting market research.
In the past, customer surveys have consisted of a rigid series of questions set in a linear format. Chatbots can be a way of actively adapting to customers’ responses, programmed with the goal of obtaining thorough and valuable insights.
With chatbots, the data-collection process can take place organically, within the structures of the conversation.
As chatbot-led surveys mature, brands will be better able to manipulate and refine their survey scripts with the purpose of collecting desired customer data either within the present or at the follow-up stage of the interaction. Ultimately, this can enhance products, customer service, and customer outreach.
Chatbot integration with social media, notably Facebook Messenger, only augments its effectiveness as a market research tool.
A study at Michigan State University, analysing the transformation of the market research industry, showed that Facebook Messenger chatbots have great potential when it comes to attracting mobile respondents and providing an excellent survey user experience on mobile devices.
In fact, the comparative study highlighted that:
"more than three-fourths (76%) of the respondents who completed the same survey via Facebook Messenger chatbot on their smartphones, rated the overall survey experience significantly higher than those who took the web-based survey on a mobile device."
This highlights a heightened consumer receptiveness toward social media-based chatbot surveys as opposed to web-based surveys - implying that organisations who deploy surveys via social media messenger bots will achieve the most success.
Food for Thought
Although the prospect of chatbots might be exciting, it's crucial that you don't neglect other aspects of your marketing strategy.
Chatbots are an effective way to boost initial engagement by providing quick information, simplifying processes and instilling a sense of gamification. However, this form of AI does have its limitations - therefore authentic, human interaction remains critical in the overall sales process due to aspects of personalisation, transparency and trust.
There are some things that chatbots just can't replace.