The way in which consumers communicate with businesses is changing. For the first time ever people are spending more time in messaging apps than on social media platforms and this trend has been a major catalyst in the number of businesses incorporating chatbot technology into their websites.
If you bank online, have conversed with a company via Facebook messenger or asked your smartphone what the weather’s going to be like later, you have encountered a chatbot.
Chatbots can offer benefits for both businesses and consumers through better customer service levels and improved efficiency when it comes to resolving problems.
So with their popularity on the rise, you might be pleasantly surprised to hear that you don’t need to be an expert in coding to add a chatbot to your website. There are a vast range of softwares you can use to implement chatbot technology all within a Google’s reach, however, it is important to make sure that your bot is providing the added value that a human assistant cannot.
Chatbots make your business accessible
A key advantage of chatbot technology is that it allows your business to be available to customers 24 hours a day. So, first and foremost, your chatbot must be accessible to your audience, ideally work across all devices and be efficient enough to provide an answer or solution to the consumer before they do so themselves, or worse, before another bot beats you to it!
A recent study by thinkwithgoogle.com found that 41% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say it feels like talking to a friend or another person. In fact, this is often reflected in the way in which people communicate with their gadgets, most address their device on first name terms with many stretching as far a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to round off their demands. As a result, your chatbot must reciprocate using natural vocabulary in order to mirror a human interaction, establish a relationship with the consumer, and ultimately initiate trust.
Personalisation is key
Like a friend, consumers expect you to already know their likes and dislikes, and expect the options suggested to them to be tailored to their personal preferences. In 2017, research by Evergage and Researchscape International showed that 88% of companies surveyed recognise that their ‘prospects and customers expect a personalized experience.’ And they’re not wrong, as 59% of shoppers who have experienced personalisation believe it has a noticeable influence on purchasing. Your bot needs to be able to analyse data such as previous searches, keywords used and demographic data, and use this intelligence to determine exactly what the individual consumer is looking for.
Your bot must be reactive
If we break it down to the basics, human communication works on interpreting signals and cues; an effective chatbot should operate in the same way and avoid spamming the user with product promotions and irrelevant sales pitches. Too many notifications will irritate the consumer and potentially cause them to leave your site, so it’s important to find the right balance between overselling and not providing the consumer with the required level of knowledge.
Mollie Powles is Marketing Manager at Browser Media, an Essex-based agency of passionate, knowledgeable and friendly digital marketers. From humble beginnings in 2005, Browser Media has grown into a highly respected online marketing agency with a portfolio of global (and very satisfied) clients.