Chatbots are taking the world by storm as a unique, personal way to reach out to potential customers. With many messaging apps developing platforms for chatbots, an increasing number of people today are interacting with them in some form or the other. Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has led to chatbots that sound human, have a sense of humour and can keep users engaged in a conversation. So what does all of this mean for brands? Chatbots allow brands to interact with their customers directly, obtain useful information from them and even guide them towards making a purchase. In short, brands today cannot afford to ignore the chatbot invasion taking place. Here are five ways you can harness the potential of chatbots to maximise the effectiveness of your digital efforts.
1. To answer customer queries
Visitors to your site are impatient. They want information and answers to their questions quickly or they will leave. Every brand wants to answer potential customer’s queries and increase their engagement on the website. However, not every company has the resources to employ a full-time customer service team to do this. Chatbots can swoop in as a low-cost effective solution to answer questions and keep customers informed. Giving your chatbots a name and profile picture are great ways to make the interaction more human and pique the interest of potential customers. But brands aren’t the only ones benefiting from chatbots. A recent survey found that most customers also prefer asking questions over chat instead of over an email or phone calls
Chatbots are shaping up to be one of the defining trends for real estate in 2017. Social Beat has developed a chatbot for Casagrand to personally welcome each visitor to the website and help them navigate the website easier. The chatbot helps make the website more interactive so each visitor can get quick answers to their queries.
If you are looking to set up the live chats for your website, read our blog on the top 10 live chat software for your website.
2. To increase sales of your products and services
One of the most exciting avenues for chatbots to exhibit their true potential is within the realm of sales. More people today are shopping online than they ever were before. As a brand, your website will have more than a few products and you do want your customers to go through them all and make more purchases. So how do you make them see all the products, especially since people might get tired of finding exactly what they are looking for or something they might like? Chatbots come in very useful in this scenario. They can act as a personal shopping assistant. Through a series of personalized questions, the chatbots understand what a customer is looking for, what their taste preferences are and based on this information, it offers a curated selection of products for them to choose from. Customers are willing to talk to these chatbots because they sound friendly and most importantly, ‘human’.
In 2016, when Tommy Hilfiger introduced their new collection, they also did something revolutionary; they introduced chatbots for the first time. The bot welcomed users and asked them questions about their favourite prints, the occasion they were shopping for and so on. Based on their responses, the chatbot displayed pieces from their collection that matched the customer’s preferences. If users liked the outfits, the chatbot would direct them to the website where they could actually shop the look. In this way, Tommy Hilfiger was able to guide their customers’ right from the exploration to the purchasing step.
3. To Understand Your Customers Better
Every brand wants to know exactly what type of content their target audience will find engaging. Most times, brands get this information by asking their customers to fill out surveys. Unfortunately, most consumers aren’t willing to go through the tedious process of filling out a long questionnaire. Chatbots are a simpler way of getting to know your customers better in a more interactive manner. Customers are also more willing to give away personal information when they know they are talking to a bot and not an actual human. Chatbots have the ability to store information that the customer provides, keep a track of their purchasing patterns and even understand any difficulties they’re facing with their shopping experience. This helps you optimize your products better to cater to their specific needs.
Harper Collins launched a chatbot that would interact with users and suggest books for them based on their preferences. Keeping track of their customer’s tastes also helped Harper Collins understand what genres to keep well stocked and what kinds of books their customers are reading.
4. To Increase User Engagement On Your Website
A good chatbot can make a customer stay on your website and keep them entertained for a long time. The one characteristic that sets chatbots apart from other forms of marketing is that they are dynamic. Chatbots adapt according to the person they’re talking to and can keep customers engaged in fun conversations. They can also increase the number of site visits by providing your customers with relevant links and information about your products and services.
Whole Foods created a chatbot that would entertain customers and ultimately lead to more store visits. Customers could send a random selection of food emojis to the chatbot and it would come up with a recipe that utilized all of the emojis they had selected. Whole Foods would then ask their customers if they wanted to make the recipe and would direct them to their nearest Whole Foods outlet to buy the ingredients they needed. Users spent a long time on the chatbot purely because they found it a lot of fun. This left a long-lasting impression upon them and increased their overall engagement with the Whole Foods website.
5. To Personalize User Experience
Nine out of ten customers reported that personalization played a huge role when they decided to buy something. Today, digital marketing has been able to reach out to more people than ever before. However, customers aren’t likely to be attracted to your brand unless they feel that you are speaking to them directly. When you are talking to thousands of customers as a whole, how do you ensure that each of them feels like your marketing strategy is directed specifically at them? Chatbots can go a long way in helping you achieve this. When a registered user opens your site, chatbots welcome them by name, in a very friendly manner. Even though users know they’re not real people, the human tone most chatbots have can still make the experience feel a lot more personal. Chatbots can also keep a track of each customer’s previous search history and purchases, which help them, offer product suggestions that are tailor-made for each user.
Ixibaba is a chatbot developed by the travel website Ixigo to act as a personal travel agent to their customers. Ixibaba answers all of their queries, help them find flights, book hotels and discover restaurants near where they are staying. Ixibaba can also keep track of all the places customers have travelled to, helping it customize suggestions for each user.
Chatbots are quickly emerging as one of the top digital marketing trends of 2017. Which one of these are you going to try for your brand? Let us know by leaving a comment.