Chatbots might sound like a potential Black Mirror plot or another sinister part of the robot uprising which will inevitably lead to Blade Runner having to save us all, but they’re going to be big in the digital marketing world…and that’s all that matters, right? In fact, they already are big; Chatbots are the future, they’re already increasingly becoming the present and here’s why everyone’s excited about them. And why you should bow down to our robot overlords of course.
A chatbot is an artificially intelligent program whos primary aim is usually to serve the need of a human user. For example, Siri or Cortana, or a chatbot we especially like here at WATB – Slackbot. They can quickly reply with information the users requires. Here is a very basic example of how Slackbot can help out a user:
The F8 conference in April saw Facebook announce that they’re opening up their messenger app to brands. So through Facebook, brands will be able to have a lovely chat with Facebook’s massive community of users. It’s a clever move; messaging platforms like Facebook already have bucket loads of active users, so grabbing people’s attention is easier. And Chatbots can pull all sorts of data from Facebook about what you ‘like’, what you’ve been searching for and what you’re engaging with.
This will see loads of new, creative ways for brands to market themselves and transform customer service. A really cool chatbot example we’ve come across is a marketing campaign for the new second series of the Channel 4 show, Humans; it’s all tongue in cheek and you can interact with a Chatbot and…well, see for yourself.
People are already comfortable with using virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana and Chatbots are just AI powered bots that sit within messaging apps. The difference being that they’re representing a brand and mimicking human interaction you’d have with someone in customer service, instead of being a virtual assistant that’s triggered by voice search. Virtual assistants offer a more Q&A type format, but Chatbots…chat more freely, basically. There’s also a limit to how many apps people will want to download on their smartphone, so enabling brands to develop Chatbots that sit within popular messaging platforms gets around this problem.
The aim is to make Chatbots more friendly, funny and human. Brands are trying to develop more user-friendly, personalised interfaces. Instead of phoning up and being put on hold by Sean while he frantically finds someone who knows the answer to your question, a Chatbot will devote all of its attention to you and search for a solution. If someone knows the customer service will be easy and instantaneous with Chatbots, they’ll become a prime reason to interact with a brand, reflecting people’s desire for convenience.
This is where creatives and brands can succeed, by trying to make their Chatbots the funniest and most approachable on the market. Feeding a Chatbot with accurate consumer behaviours, intent and history can help it to provide relevant and personalised content. Showing personality fits into the trend for conversational marketing. This can improve customer loyalty and make customer service a fun experience, rather than something tedious and easy to moan about.
Sometimes it can be difficult to create a consistent brand voice across all platforms. With trends coming out of your ears, Chatbots are easily adaptable and responsive. So, if you’re rolling out big marketing campaigns and need to make changes to your bots, this can be done from one place and you can deliver new messages and content across platforms, because the same Chatbot will be sitting in lots of messaging apps. The best chatbots can be interlinked and updated and sitting in lots of messaging apps allows them to be tweaked and personalised easily to improve user experience.
In an earlier example we mentioned how here at WATB we use Slackbot to help us with reminders, drawing basic data from some of our online tools and scheduling. But the future of chatbots for business use is only just beginning. Take Kit, for example. This is a ‘virtual assistant’ which, through a few simple text or facebook chat messages, allows a business owner to delegate tasks from marketing goal setting, creating ads, scheduling ads, social media posts and more. Here is a video about how Kit integrates with Instagram and makes creating and posting Instagram adverts super easy.
There’s massive potential for Chatbots to become part of the digital furniture and a really normal occurrence in someone’s interaction with a brand and their customer journey. Chatbots will be your new BFF, but if they start to talk about world domination then let someone know.
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