Chatbots are refining the customer experience for brands. Knowing what chatbots are, how they can help your digital marketing efforts, and who is already using them is vital to nearly every industry.
Chatbots had their humble beginnings directing customers through a gauntlet of steps after calling a business’s customer service. And though those chatbots are still very much in use, new, more innovative chatbots have emerged.
These chatbots are meeting consumer demands, streamlining marketing processes, and driving sales and profits for many brands. Driven by deep learning processes, the chatbots of today and the future learn over time, and deliver faster results.
“Chatbots — computer programs designed to engage in natural conversation — are taking off, with companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and even Pizza Hut experimenting with bot-to-human interactions,” according to CNET.
Chatbots are versatile, from customer support to acquisition and retention. They are deeply involved in buyer funnel tasks, which is of great importance to marketers.
Let’s take a deeper look at why marketers need to bring AI chatbots into their digital strategy.
Chatbots are one form of artificial intelligence. Through deep learning processes, they can deliver data and information to customers at lightning speed, drive conversions, and streamline employee workflow.
Using deep learning processes, chatbots create layer upon layers of data in the developer programmed neural networks. The more layers, the more intelligent a chatbot becomes. This makes them more efficient and effective over time.
“They can store, synthesize, and recall lots of information, like your credit card number or home address, to help make your life easier,” Biz Carson of Business Insider explained. “They can even anticipate what you want before you ask.”
This is especially powerful for marketers, since chatbots can assist in maximizing marketing efforts and refine the overall customer experience. The most intelligent example can be found on Facebook Messenger through the use of branded chatbots.
Branded chatbots like the ones used on Facebook Messenger are changing how brands target and connect with consumers. In fact, many tech experts believe that branded chatbots will replace apps in the not so distant future.
This theory can be attributed to smart device users falling out of love with downloading apps. Apps take up storage, drain battery life, and many tech fans are simply tired of swiping back and forth from app to app.
Mike Isaac of The New York Times explains, “The bot revival is also taking place at a time when people are growing tired of individual apps. As a result, brands in search of the best way to talk to consumers are now pairing off with some the world’s dominant messaging platforms — and their chatbots.”
The efficiency and effectiveness of branded chatbots leaves little to be desired for marketers and brands. As consumers begin ditching apps, marketers need to find fresh way to connect with target audiences.
Facebook allowing brands and media outlets to use their Facebook Messenger chatbots is a fantastic example of the emerging bot revolution. Expedia, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and Uber are among the current users of Facebook Messenger chatbots.
In 2015, Uber announced, “Powered by Uber’s API, Messenger now enables its millions of users to sign up for Uber with one tap and request a ride, all without having to leave Messenger or download the Uber app.”
Connecting brands to consumers is only one key feature branded chatbots are serving up. They are also refining the customer experience by enhancing service and support.
Due to the mobile state of things, consumers are demanding information faster than ever. These demands are being met by chatbots, since most customer service issues can be resolved quite easily.
Call times can be shortened, service and support issues can be resolved via chat, and information is delivered quickly and accurately. This boosts brand satisfaction while freeing up human personnel to take on more pressing tasks.
Instead of human personnel spending countless hours analyzing data, AI chatbots can do it at lightning speed and with unprecedented accuracy. Having faster and more accurate customer data analysis can speed up time to market, drive sales through target marketing, and overhaul all your marketing strategies.
“Chatbots can be programmed to track purchasing patterns and monitor data from consumers,”
AJ Agrawal of Forbes explains. “This tells a company which products to market differently, which to market more and which to redevelop for relaunch.”
When your branded chatbot converses with a customer, the bot will begin gathering key details about the customer and develop a personalized buyer funnel. This allows for more personalized ads to be sent to that customer in an effort to convert.
The true potential of AI chatbots for marketers has yet to be unveiled. However, chatbots are an undeniable force of power when it comes to connecting brands with their target audiences. And savvy marketers are onboarding chatbots as a result. Is AI part of your digital marketing strategy?
Nick Rojas is a self-taught, serial entrepreneur who has enjoyed success working with and consulting for startups. He concentrates on teaching small and medium-sized enterprises on how best to manage their social media marketing and define their branding objectives. @NickARojas