Chatbots and AI are increasingly powerful business tools
AI is everywhere!
What is a chatbot? Bots are more intelligent than you might think
When you hear the term bot, you immediately think of something negative. You know those bots on Instagram, who write senseless comments all over the place? Yes; that’s the impression the term bot gives you – something meaningless, senseless, and utterly disturbing.
When it comes to chatbots, however, things are not black and white. There’s a whole area of grey that we must take into consideration.
No; bots are not likely to replace human customer service agents. No matter how advanced artificial intelligence gets, it will never be able to mimic human intelligence in social situations. Still, AI technology is getting more sophisticated than ever, and chatbots are its highlight.
Marketing, in particular, is an area that cannot neglect artificial intelligence. When you’re developing your campaign, you rely on several tools for monitoring your competition, the behavior of your audience, the performance of your content, and many other aspects. So you know that artificial intelligence is more effective than you could ever assume. Then why assume it’s not effective for chatbots?
What makes chatbots important for your marketing campaign?
A survey from 2017 showed that 38% of customers on a global level had a positive perception of chatbots. 51% had neutral attitude towards chatbots, and the percentage of those with negative perception was small.
Out of all people who were surveyed, 67% had an experience with a chatbot for customer support over the past year. What does this tell us? Chatbots are more prevalent than ever, and people from all around the world are getting in touch with them.
This is a trend we can no longer ignore.
The same survey showed that the majority of people still prefer talking to a real customer support agent (59% of the surveyed customers from the USA said that). Still, the fact that we’re no longer dealing with dumb chatbots is important to consider. As these bots get more sophisticated, more people will be getting used to them.
Do you want more proof? Let’s provide it through an example: eBay’s ShopBot. It’s a personal shopping assistant that works through Facebook Messenger and connects the user with the needed products on eBay. The more you chat with this bot, the more information it gets about your needs and shopping habits. It’s intelligent, so it remembers that information and provides suggestions that you’ll really like.
Do you think that an online store as giant as eBay would be investing in a chatbot if its ROI were not guaranteed? Conversational design is not perfect, but it’s certainly getting better by the day. The sooner you hop on board, the more you’ll get noticed among your audience.
How chatbots will change marketing strategies in the near future
A chatbot is more than a programmed tool that sends pre-planned responses to the user’s requests. It’s a program that gets hints from the user’s behavior and delivers personalized answers. Answers that work!
There are several ways how this type of artificial intelligence will transform businesses in near future:
- The customer service approach will not be the same
- Chatbots make customer data analysis more effective
- 24/7 customer service is getting more accessible than ever
- The improvements are constant!
- Chatbots boost the effect of personalized ads
There’s no space for discussion here: artificial intelligence is nowhere near replacing real customer service agents. Most chatbots are not real artificial intelligence, after all. That’s why we’re seeing some bots that do not correspond well to our requests.
Facebook integrated chatbots into Messenger with the noblest intentions, but the results were not as great as expected. In February 2017, the social media platform reported a massive failure of this investment. The program failed to fulfill 70% of the requests its users had.
The Chat Shop is based on human conversation, and there’s a reason for that: AI does not have emotions, so it cannot replace the human approach, no matter how sophisticated it gets.
That being said, we haven't ditched the chatbot project; we just know it needs our award-winning chatbot management and measurement for it to succeed with businesses. Neither did Facebook give up. Instead, it focused on supporting a narrower set of cases, limited by the limitations of automation. The success stories are convincing, to say the least.
Since chatbots are designed to focus on a particular topic, the communication doesn’t feel natural. Still, when it’s focused and you’re getting the answers you need, you don’t really care about the human vibe, do you?
If the live chat function is too busy and the user has to wait for their turn, a chatbot could be very useful for pre-screening questions. It would get basic information for each visitor's request and deliver automated answers whenever possible. If the customer still needs to get in touch with your live chat agent, the agent will receive valuable information from the bot, so they will immediately get to business without asking the same questions all over again.
Chatbots can effectively solve minor issues, so that’s a huge benefit we’re looking forward to.
Most marketers ignore the customer analysis potential that chatbots have. It is possible for you to program a chatbot to track people’s buying behavior, so you can monitor that data in order to improve your business practices to better reflect your consumers.
You can also track the most commonly asked questions, so you can predict better answers and make the bot more sophisticated. The main goal to focus on is to program the chat well, so it will feel as close to a real person as possible.
A well-programmed, well-managed chatbot running on excellent chatbot software will produce valuable analytical reports that will help you work on the user experience.
Chatbots give you valuable analytics
- Chatbot (B): Hello! How may I help you this evening?
- Customer (C): Can you please show me products that are similar to this one, but in blue?
- B: Sure thing! Here’s a list of products that might interest you!
- C: I’m having trouble using a product I just purchased from you.
- B: I’m sorry to hear that. Can you please explain in more detail?
- C: *explains in detail*
- B: I understand. I’ve taken note of this issue. A customer service agent will contact you via email first thing in the morning. Thank you for contacting us!
A conversation like this is easy to imagine in the middle of the night or at a weekend when your human customer service team is away from their desks. When you don’t have access to a 24/7 customer support team, the first idea that comes to mind is to send an email and wait for the answer. When you have an opportunity to communicate with a chatbot at the website, you’ll at least get some answers and reassurance that your concerns are escalated to the right people.
Chatbots can provide uninterrupted customer support, 24/7. They offer solutions for simpler issues, and they redirect more complicated requests to a customer service agent. Either way, they are getting more effective in attending the customers at any time.
The 24/7 effectiveness of chatbots goes further than solving customer service issues. The bots are also providing assistance during the shopping process.
When it comes to product recommendations, chatbots can effectively replace customer service agents in most situations.
The good thing about AI is that it never stops growing. The pace is rapid! Since these chatbots are learning programs, they get hints from the users and they improve themselves on a daily basis. They are getting able to interact in a more sophisticated way, and they are providing better analytics by the day.
According to a prediction by Grand View Research, the global chatbot market size is expected to reach $1.25 billion by 2025. As a result of that growth, businesses will be able to reduce operating costs to substantial levels.
Chatbot market size predictions. Source
When someone interacts with a chatbot, the program is getting valuable information from that user. Based on that information, you can create more effective personalized ads. If, for example, this customer was looking for shoes that weren’t available at the moment, a personalized ad can inform them that the shoes are back in stock later on.
Don’t be afraid of AI; use it to your advantage!
Everyone is chatting, and bots are here to answer
Chatbots don't rule the customer support niche. Human interaction is still needed, and that fact is not likely to change in near future. However, chatbots are making the overall support more effective, and there are multiple examples that prove that claim.
Now that it’s clear how chatbots can impact a brand’s marketing strategy, maybe it’s time for you to consider implementing AI in the way you do business. Are you ready for that?
See what chatbots can do for your marketing strategy today
Warren Fowler is a marketing enthusiast and a blogger at UKBestEssays.com, who loves music. If he doesn’t have a guitar in his hands, he’s probably embracing new technologies and marketing techniques online! You can meet him on Twitter and Facebook.