Customer interaction and communication are quintessential elements of marketing activities, especially on digital platforms. In the current scenario we find ourselves in, physical interaction and engagement between brands and users are at an all-time low. This makes it more important for brands to connect with them via various digital mediums and also encourage healthy two-way communication. Quick and convenient interaction across platforms augment each stage of a buyer’s journey – be it product/service information, payment processes, or even after-sales support.
One of the most advanced models of customer interaction and engagement includes the development of chatbots. Virtual chatbots have been around for a while now, often deployed on websites in initial phases. As technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning have evolved, so has the relevance of chatbots for support across social media and even Whatsapp. Let’s throw some light on chatbots as a rising development that is restructuring digital communication-
Matter Of Fact
The growth of digital platforms has transformed all facets of marketing activities, and the role played by chatbots in this revolution is often overlooked. The global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025. As more and more businesses start to shift online, the role of chatbots will continue to increase. 64% of consumers turn to chatbots in the case of 24/7 services. 55% of consumers prefer chatbots to get instant responses to queries. Also, chatbot interaction is expected to increase from 20% in 2017 to 93% in 2022. This indicates a rapid growth in the past few years while we can expect to see this continue in the near future.
Clear takeaways from these numbers indicate the role played by customer engagement chatbots in the case of 24/7 support. Automated responses are a great way to address customer doubts and queries instantaneously, which stimulates satisfaction. Chatbots are an ideal solution to quick and basic questions customers may have.
Trends To Track
Along with the advancements in machine learning, NLP (Natural Language Processing) is a development in AI concerned with the interaction between computers and human language inputs. As NLP enables systems to read, decipher, and comprehend inputs in order to make sense of human language in a way that adds value, chatbot technologies will continue to grow in ability.
Voice bots have also transformed customer experiences by promoting hands-free interaction with users. Popular forms of voice bots including Alexa, Siri, and Cortana have highlighted advancements in this area. Reports released by both Accenture and Forbes have concluded that digital consumers prefer messaging platforms that have both text and voice-based interfaces. Apart from facilitating seamless interaction, voice bots add liveliness as well.
Chatbots can be put to good effect to support users across their buying journey. The transaction stage is the most critical one where users often require support and guidance. A chatbot in customer service is a perfect solution to cater to any concerns of users at this stage, particularly in the case of e-commerce.
Did You Know?
Let’s look at some intriguing facts in order to further underline the functions of chatbots in today’s world. A chatbot campaign has a 98% open rate. This shows that if you include chatbot technology for your users, they are quite likely to explore the features. It is also estimated that chatbots will be indistinguishable from humans by 2029, which would result in added personality and character. Approximately 1.4 billion people use messaging apps & are willing to talk to chatbots. Users on apps like Whatsapp tend to open all their messages and view all notifications, which increases the relevance of your business account chatbot. Customers prefer chatbots 29 times over the traditional method since they are quick and to the point.
Benefits of Adopting Chatbots
As chatbots go onto increase user engagement and satisfaction, let’s have a look at how they can benefit brands as well-
- Saves valuable time and resources by automating responses that would otherwise be addressed by human employees. Utilising chatbots help divert human resources towards other concerns for brands as well as saves the costs diverted towards employing specific customer support employees.
- Chatbots help generate leads & revenue by facilitating customer acquisition and retention activities. They present themselves as a great way to build relationships with both existing and new users interested in a brand.
- Chatbots are more likely to lead users to a transaction since they have the ability to solve any potential questions or worries of an interested customer. The quicker a brand can address a user’s pain point, the more likely they are to go ahead with a purchase/action.
- Chatbots bridge the gap in terms of customer satisfaction and expectations by offering 24/7 support and instant gratification. Instant support and guidance can leave a lasting impression on users during their experience.
Basics of Building Chatbots
As a brand, if you choose to adopt chatbots on digital platforms, it is imperative that you devote some time and energy to the process in order to maximise its abilities –
- Craft the bot’s personality or/and voice to humanise the overall experience and align the chatbot’s persona with the brand identity. If done correctly, a bot can essentially be a digital brand custodian.
- Intricately evaluate your brand’s buyer persona in order to create responses that are likely to not only clear queries but add value to the user’s experience as well. Chatbots who understand their audience are more likely to leave a positive impression.
- Explore the possibilities of Emojis, GIFs, and images to add personality and humour to interactions. Subtle integration of personality and humour can add uniqueness and intrigue to the experience.
- Use call-to-action buttons to guide users towards a definitive goal.
Social Media Integration
Social media channels are the most popular platforms for utilising chatbots, and here are some key tips to maximise social media integration –
- Utilize chatbots on Facebook Messenger to hack into micro-targeted audiences from a pool of over 900 million MAUs. Facebook is a popular platform in terms of customer support and feedback.
- Leverage Whatsapp bots to facilitate connection with customers through an interactive & visual medium. Communicating over Whatsapp adds an added element of identity and personalisation above and beyond other social media platforms.
- Leverage Instagram bots to automate sales scripts & provide fast replies for increased customer engagement & success. Brand presence on Instagram has shot up in recent years, proving to be a helpful platform in terms of catering to user queries through DMs.
- Do not miss out on Twitter since it is a popular platform for users to voice any troubles faced by them.
Fails To Avoid
Here are some mistakes brands must be aware of while entering the realm of chatbots –
- Neglecting the injection of personality or programming the bot to handle unpredictable commands results in a monotonous experience for users. Monotony can kill interaction in an instance.
- Overwhelming customers with floods of text results in users abandoning the platform.
- Failing to connect the chatbot to a live-chat solution results in unresolved queries. In some cases, chatbots may feel to offer users the desired information. It is essential to connect the user to a live customer support resource at this point to avoid attrition.
- A malfunctioning bot that hasn’t been tested extensively could potentially ruin brand image by losing customers. This goes without saying – if a bot malfunctions, your user will most likely be left with a sour taste in their mouth.
It is quite clear that in the digital era of marketing, brands must shift towards chatbots and have a form of interaction with users – if they haven’t already. Not only does this smoothen user experience and result in unparalleled satisfaction, but chatbots are also beneficial for brands as well in terms of cost and effort.
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