Image source: Flickr
The advent of chatbots has ushered a brand new era of customer relationship and marketing management efforts. However, the initial enthusiasm was quickly curbed by less-than-ideal execution and companies have quickly realized that there’s a stark difference between what sounds good on paper and what actually works in real world. The early efforts to incorporate chatbots into existing products and services was lack-luster at best and, as such, has resulted in a rather negative feedback from the users.
The number one reason why marketers are so excited about the idea of using chatbots is that it allows for a completely personalized user experience. Websites and social media interaction are simply not enough to keep the customers engaged on a personal level. Chatbots, on the other hand, have the ability to provide a personalized experience by, let’s say, calling the customers by their first name during interaction and use various customer information to only advertise the most relevant products and services.
Excellent idea, poor execution
One of the best examples of this poor execution has to be Facebook’s endeavor to add chatbots to their Messenger service. The attempt turned out to be quite the fiasco as the program failed to complete a staggering 70% of user-made requests, despite the high hopes from the company CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The dream of building a chatbot ecosystem was quickly abandoned and instead, Facebook has begun training their bots to handle a much narrow list of situations in order to avoid disappointing their users any further by current chatbot limitations.
New players on the field
Adidas is one of the companies that have tried using chatbots and actually succeeded in realizing their idea. The company has recently launched a female-oriented community space called Studio LDN and the interesting things are that they’ve successfully used a Facebook’s Messenger chatbot to make their booking process interactive and more importantly, interesting for people to use. This allowed the company to maintain an ongoing engagement with their customers using a one-on-one conversation with the chatbot.
Over 2,000 people have signed up in the first two weeks and around 80% of them have repeatedly used the bot. Their retention was around 60% after the first week, which are far better results than any currently available app can achieve. In order to further drive engagement, Adidas used the bot to send notifications and reminders, as well as messages from various fitness-oriented influencers. Furthermore, users could access motivational fitness videos for an additional boost of inspiration.
Another excellent example of a successful use of chatbots comes from HTC. The tech giant has used a bot to train its salespeople, while at the same time driving awareness and promoting conversation about their products and services. The use of chatbots in back-to-back training operations has allowed the company to communicate with their workers in a direct and friendly manner. The reason behind this is rather simple: those engagement levels would normally require hundreds of salespeople and field team members, while a bot would allow them to use up to 30 people to engage several thousand customers.
Besides the training, HTC also uses their chatbot to test their worker’s knowledge about their products and services on a monthly basis and reward the best employees with gift vouchers and various HTC products and merchandise.
Image source: Flickr
But the reward for the best implementation of chatbots without a doubt goes to Just Eat. This company has provided its users with a bot that allows them to use not only keywords but also emojis to search for a nearby restaurant. The entire process looks more like a conversation than ordering process, which allows the company to keep their customers engaged on a daily basis. Thousands of people have used the chatbot since it was launched back in September with the average interaction lasting around two minutes. This has drastically increased people’s awareness regarding the 27,600 different partner restaurants currently working with Just Eat.
The company is currently launching the second phase of their chatbot experience. The goal is to allow their customers to repeat their order directly using the bot. It is no longer being used just to engage the customer and the company can now extract valuable information regarding their customers and their interaction with the brand. This information can later be used to power other areas of the company and further improve business. Picnet software development Sydney recommends that you consider your needs carefully and consider whether you actually need an AI and whether you can successfully use on in your marketing and customer engagement efforts.
Chatbots are definitely here to stay and we will certainly hear more about their use in the following couple of years. It’s only a matter of time before the technology becomes not only available but also affordable for startups and small businesses. Once this happens, we’ll see a genuine revolution in customer engagement and marketing efforts. Just how efficient chatbots can be, remains to be seen.