CHATBOTS: THE NEW FRONTIER OF DIGITAL MARKETING AND CUSTOMER CARE

 

We all know and are familiar with such tools as Siri, Cortana or Google Assistant. We have all asked them, at least once, to find a restaurant located nearby our position, a phone number or to report weather. But what not everybody may know is that these tools are what is called a chatbot.

So what is a chatbot?

The name comes from the conjunction of the words ‘chat’ and ‘bot’ (from ‘robot’) and it stands for a software program that uses messaging as the interface through which to carry out a number of tasks, establishing a one-to-one relationship with the user. It can be customized and adapted depending on the necessities of the company, to the target audience, the customer’s needs etc. Many say chatbots represent the future of the companies’ communication system with customers and people won’t do away with them.

Background

The first chatbot was introduced in 2015 by the social platform Telegram, followed by Skype, iMessage and WeChat, but it wasn’t until Mark Zuckerberg introduced this type of interaction platform on Facebook Messenger that this reality took over. With its 900 million users, Messenger is one the main messaging tool and its bots are rapidly increasing, overcoming the 33K quote.

Chatbots in the marketing management

Chatbots are an inexpensive alternative for companies to provide customer service 24/7, with no need of subscription or login by clients, who can easily access these services from the Facebook page of a brand. Messaging lies at the heart of chatbots making them particularly well suited for mobile. Their wide-reaching technology and the increasingly engaging conversations allow businesses to engage with more consumers. These kind of tools, in fact, are able to collect more information: the informal language allow users to converse with chatbots as they would do with a friend making them much more willing to respond to questions such as “Where do you live?”, “What music do you like?”, “Where is your dream destination ? “. Moreover, thanks to the high levels of customization, the conversation is always different and personal, allowing the company  to build brand awareness as well as loyalty with the customer and to strengthen relations with them. Among the various tasks it can carry, a chatbot is able to:

  • schedule a meeting
  • answer user questions with respect to a particular service or product
  • provide assistance and support
  • boosting sales by directing consumers to the online shop
  • manage in a more fluent and quicker way the orders already taken in charge

According to Mindshareworld, the most frequent requests regard retail products (22%), hotel reservations (20%) and travel recommendations (18%), followed by drugs (12%) and fashion (9%) information. Therefore chatbots can act as influencers.

Who would use chatbots?

According to a research by the american company Retale, about 60% of interviewed Millenials uses regularly a chatbot and define themselves as early adopters. Among these, 67% would buy a product or service through this tool, 79%, however, would like to talk to a human being if required.

retale_chatbot_survey_chart_06

36% of the 1000 smartphone users aged between 18 and 65 surveyed by Mindshareworld would like to receive special offers and coupons from a chatbot, and 14% of them would use it for online banking operations. Functionality and ease of operation are two important aspects of these platforms: 73% of users would not use twice a chatbot from the same company after a bad experience.

Wrapping things up

The chatbot ecosystem is already robust: according to a BI Intelligence survey over 10 thousand companies in 2016 have started to develop chatbots and in 2020 80% of brands will use these platforms. Gartner, instead, states that already by the end of this year, only 1/3 of the customer care services interactions will  necessarily require human assistance, while the remaining will be replaced by automated services that use artificial intelligence.

By Around The World (Giulia, Virginia, Ekaterina, Eleonora, Sara, Sophie)

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