Chatbots—innovative computer programs you can converse with—are probably the last thing you’d think of to improve your brand strategy. But recently, more and more companies are beginning to understand the potential of bots to enhance various business aspects.
As a result, many companies have started to invest in developing their very own bots. Whether for customer service or online marketing, using bots for business is still a largely uncharted territory many brands are now exploring.
With the continuous research and development in natural language processing, bots are now becoming smarter. These artificial intelligence programs are no longer like their earliest predecessors ELIZA, PARRY, or JABBERWACKY Most modern bots can now process the human language to a much greater extent. They can generate organic, context-based replies instead of responding based on specific keywords only.
With that said, 2017 should be your year in venturing to the world of chatbots to improve your overall brand strategy. Here’s why.
1. They can be used for various purposes.
“There’s an app for that,” said the late Steve Jobs when he was promoting the iPhone’s vast array of apps. This time, however, we could say “There’s a chatbot for that.” From bots that handle pizza delivery orders to those that generate product recommendations, developers have been working on bots that can enhance the customer experience.
2. Engage your customers in better ways.
Enhancing customer engagement is also possible with smart bots. Such was the case of Disney’s Officer Judy Hopps bot on Facebook Messenger. This more advanced, more complex AI bot let audiences chat with the animated character in an almost organic way. It even generated additional buzz for their movie Zootopia before it was released.
Another example is AT&T’s bot called Atticus chatbot, which spouts trivia plus his own opinions about TV shows.
3. More people are using social messaging apps.
With the huge uptick in the use of messaging apps, chatbots are becoming all the more useful for brands. By building a bot that’s linked to a social messaging app, you can connect with more people and hence widen your reach.
In fact, several brands on Facebook have already created their own Messenger bots, which carry out several functions—from handling hotel bookings, to answering simple queries, and conducting car dealings.
4. They can provide customer insights and recommendations.
Depending on how intelligent your bot is, you can purpose it to analyze customer interactions. This gives you insights on your customers’ preferences. With these data, you’ll be able to create better brand strategies that reflect your customers’ needs. For instance, by tracking your customers’ preferences, your chatbot can recommend to them products and services that best fits their interests.
5. They can be your 24-hour customer service team…
…although, for now, most bots can only handle simple queries. But even though the current capabilities of bots are limited, rapid advances in machine learning and AI are being made every day. Using bots to handle simple customer concerns, you can lighten the load of your human support team, which lets them tackle more pressing concerns.
Chatbots are not the end-all of online marketing and customer service campaigns. There are still numerous tasks only humans can do, especially when it comes to building customer relationships. You can’t deny, however, that bots are a novel but functional tools for running a business in a digital world. With the benefits these programs can provide, it may be time for you to stop thinking of bots as a fad and start getting in on the race.