No longer are chatbots just a buzzword thrown into conversations as a faraway future technology. They’re here, they’re now, and they’ve been gaining popularity amongst brands for the past few years, but do we really understand how they work? And more importantly, how you could make them work for your brand?
Let’s chat about chatbots…
A chatbot is a programme or an artificial intelligence software created to respond to messages and simulate a human conversation. They can be programmed in different ways, with different personalities, and can:
- Respond to messages and comments the same way each time.
- Respond to messages containing specific keywords differently.
- Use machine learning to adapt their responses to fit the situation at hand.
Bots use platforms such as websites, apps, SMS texts, social messaging services like Facebook’s Messenger, Twitter, and more to receive and respond to messages.
Some stats on the chat…
A few stats to get things going, courtesy of Sprout Social:
- 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses each month.
- 56% of people would rather message than call customer services.
- 53% of people are more likely to shop with businesses they can message.
- According to data from Google Trends, the search volume for ‘chatbots’ has grown 19x over the past five years – showing that businesses and individuals are curious and are continuing to realise their value.
In short, the human race is an impatient one. We want a reply and we want it now. No longer are we willing to wait for a return phone call, email or dare I say it… a letter.
Consumers want to find the information they need quickly and easily – and when that doesn’t happen, it’s likely they’ll get frustrated and could end up hotfooting it over to the competitor offering the online experience they’re longing for.
Benefits of bots on your team…
- Chatbots offer a way to free up time for people responsible for dealing with customer queries, which means companies can reduce operational costs.
- Bots don’t replace humans, they help them. There’s always going to be a need for human interaction and communication – these bots can’t do everything, so just think of them as an extra pair of robotic hands.
- Chatbots can boost your brand experience. These ‘conversational agents’ help build a rapport with customers and make their online experience more memorable.
- Most millennials and Gen Z have grown up with instant messaging. Plus, since they’re proven to be more fickle than older generations when it comes to brand loyalty, you’ll want to provide the speedy online experience they’re expecting.
How are brands putting chatbots to work?
MeditateBot – MeditateBot is hosted by Messenger and is designed to help users become more mindful in their daily lives, offering motivational quotes, a free app download, access to meditation videos/audio and more.
insomnobot3000 – One for the insomniacs of the world, this bot offers a chat SMS text service for people that have trouble sleeping at night.
Dom, The Pizza Bot – Dom, The Pizza Bot, allows users to purchase pizzas though Facebook and gives updates on the app after you hit that ‘place order’ button.
Endurance: The robot companion – This chatbot is the brain-child of Russian-American technological start-up, Endurance Robots. It was created specifically for older people who’ve been diagnosed with dementia, with the bot acting as a companion and speaking to them about general topics such as the weather, nature, hobbies, movies, music, news, etc.
Hipmunk – This bot allows users to search for and reserve holiday destinations, flights, hotels, hire cars and packages, saving users time on searching various sites to find the best deals.
Duolingo – A language-learning app with a built-in chatbot, allowing users to practice conversational skills in their new language with a seasoned bot. Duolingo also created tutor bots with multiple personalities to cater for users’ different learning styles and personalities.
TechCrunch – Their chatbot was built to deliver the perfect content to users when they want it. We’re often bombarded with content, but this bot personalises it by making a note of the types of content users read. It also allows people to choose content they want to receive and how often it is sent.
Here’s how you can enter the world of chatbots…
Define the objective(s) of your bot.
Will it answer FAQs, take bookings, be an initial touch-point for new customers, be part of a larger integrated campaign or something else?
Decide where your bot will live.
Based on your objectives, choose the most useful place for your chatbot to live.
Will it be on your social media channels, sit on your website, or wait on a specific campaign landing page for people who need more information?
Create your bot’s personality.
Think about the personality of your bot and its characteristics – this will largely depend on your target audience but making the conversation as natural and human like as possible is usually the aim. You might even want to give it a gender and a name.
Give your bot its chat.
Plan out the dialog flow and try to predetermine where users may come into difficulty and plan an exit route where a human can take the reins.
Many platforms that support chatbots will have resources and guides on how to build your own.
Chatfuel – 46% of all Facebook Messenger bots run on Chatfuel.
ManyChat – drag-and-drop bot builder for Facebook Messenger – no coding needed.
Flow xo – caters for chatbots on all platforms and doesn’t require coding experience
Here’s one we made earlier…
We created a chatbot for Miller & Carter’s Dates & Steaks campaign, which allowed people to discover the new menu, choose what they were going to order, and then invite their ‘date’ to an evening of indulgence.
Don’t fancy the DIY route?
Totally get it. We’d be more than happy to have a chat with you about the next steps.
Get in touch and we’ll get one of our best humans to chat about chatbots with you.