Nowadays, customers are demanding more and more authentic relationship with companies. From startups to large corporate, marketers are looking for tools to establish connections with their target audience to a personal level. To this end, chatbots might seem like an odd choice, but they can turn into a powerful resource for your business strategy. Here are 4 ways in which this artificial intelligence technology can help your company stays ahead of the competition.
The rise of the chatbots
Despite what we often think, chatbots have a long history. The first automated replying system dates back to the 1960’s. Named as project ELIZA, it was an early Natural Language Processing computer program at the MIT. Eliza simulated conversation by using a ‘pattern matching’ and substitution methodology that gave users an illusion of understanding on the part of the program, but had no built-in framework for contextualising events.
Technology has moved forward since ELIZA, and today chatbots are significantly more advanced. They can decode a user’s input, as well as interrogate a database of possible results and serve up the best match.
What can chatbots do?
Thanks to the versatility of this technology, every company, even charities or social enterprises on a budget, could now consider including chatbots in their business strategy. Apple’s Siri, or Amazon Alexa are just two examples of what chatbots can do. They can adapt to every need of your company.
Global discount supermarket Lidl, for instance, has created a chatbot that advises you on the perfect wine to match your grocery shopping considering your budget. Our own SEB (the Social Enterprises Bot) instead helps users discover social enterprises by name or location, and keeps them informed of any social events or initiatives.
Chatbot = strategy boost
In addition to keeping up with the latest trends in tech, bringing bots into your marketing or customer support strategy can benefit your business on many different levels.
1) Offer your users a personalised experience
Personalised experience is a hot topic in business. Consumers want to feel special for the company. According to Forbes, personalisation leads to impulse purchases, increased revenue, fewer returns and loyalty.
Chatbots are the right tool to deliver a tailored experience when it comes to interactions between consumers and companies. The flexibility of this technology can now make conversations user-friendly and more personalised. Imagine a chat between your bot and a potential customers. It would be able to call them by name and, as the conversation flows, it would learn more and more details about them. Accordingly, the bot’s responses and user experience would become very specific to that customer, making her feel unique to your company.
A great user experience will help you grow appreciation towards your brand, and data collected from these interactions can become a powerful resource to better understand your market and create more effective business strategies. However, consumers expectations will also grow, so you will need to maintain a high quality standard.
2) Make your brand more “human”
Consumers are not dumb, they know when they are not talking to a real person, and bots are surely not be the first tool that comes to mind when thinking about humanising a brand.
The trick however, is not to try and replace humans, but to adopt anthropomorphism.
Generally speaking, anthropomorphism can be defined as the attribution of human characteristics to inanimate objects like toys, cars and chatbots.
So, avoid portraying your bots as real people, but rather give them personality traits that reflect your company’s values and image. Some chatbots can be sassy, others can be blunt. Some are pseudo-arrogant, others are extremely funny. Even though users will know that they are not dealing with a real person, those human touches, combined with functionality, can enhance consumers experience and make your company stand out.
3) Increase engagement
When chatbots deliver great services, consumers will gravitate towards them. They will refer to them to solve different tasks, and they will come back if your bots prove their worth. Hence, the engagement with your brand will increase.
However, remember that chatbots are an extension and integral part of your brand. Consumers will tend to identify their interactions with your chatbots as an experience they had directly with your company, with all its pros and cons.
4) Be always available
Even though you might consider building a chatbot an expensive investment, it is like having the almost-perfect employee on your team. Bots don’t need a break, or holidays, they cannot get sick and can work 24/7, 365 days a year. Your chatbots will only require regular updates and maintenance to be aligned with changes in technology, and to learn how to solve the evolving needs of your clients. According to Business Insider, US companies will save up to 23$ million thanks to this technology.
Chatbots are one of the best tools for marketers to leverage technology and drive better conversations, better customer experience and better engagement. By building bots with a clear purpose, you can differentiate your company from other competitors and thrive in the market.
(Marco Strillozzi, founder of Strillobyte)
Do you have an ideafor a chatbot that can make a difference in your business strategy?
Get in touch and our team at Strillobyte will guide and support you through an exciting journey!