Chatbots are a promising new tool for marketers as messaging takes over email. The question is whether your business should utilize chatbot platform tools? So what are the best ways to make use of chatbots? What are the rare examples when you should think again?
What’s a chatbot?
In marketing, chatbots can be used in social media, a company website and other channels to interact with leads and engage with customers via searchable knowledge bases. Chatbots can be informational or utility focused, or both. With the range of chatbot-building tools out there, it’s not hard to set up a chatbot. However, with almost 4 hours a day spent on smartphones, you need to get the messaging right.
The benefit of chatbots
The best chatbots can help your business meet consumers in messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat. You can invite utility-based chatbots into your preferred messaging app to order an Uber, a takeaway meal or a plane ticket.
A customer doesn’t have to leave the app and open another one. In addition, they don’t have to fill out a complicated order form. Instead, they can use everyday language to interact with a chatbot to place their order. One-on-one communication is one of the most appealing elements of chatbots. Keeping your conversation on mobile means your customers can easily access you when they need you.
An information chatbot could provide a customer with the information they’re looking for as quickly as possible. They don’t have to do a search online, filter search results or wade through a cluttered inbox to get the information they’re looking for.
When not to use chatbots
Chatbots might sound like a magical tool for marketers. But it’s important to get it right. If your chatbot isn’t designed to deliver a streamlined and efficient experience, it could end up as a source of frustration for customers.
If you don’t have a clear purpose for your chatbot, it’s probably best not to use one just yet. Additionally, it’s probably not worth it if your chatbot hasn’t been programmed to understand conversational context or if it forgets what the customer said two interactions later. In other words, always have a clear purpose, platform, and promotional plan when implementing chatbots. And get the messaging right.
Great ways to make use chatbots
Chatbots can be used with great success for everything from basic orders to handling large volume requests and notifying wide audiences. Since they’re interactive by design, chatbots can make communicating with your business more fun, which is an inherent marketing benefit.
- Order management: Domino’s Pizza, for example, has made use of chatbots for taking customer orders. Customers can chat with Dom to place or track an existing order.
- Knowledge base: Chatbots can help customers with informational services like order confirmations, check-in reminders, status updates, and other informational requests.
- Product recommendations: Chatbots can go beyond FAQs to offer product suggestions based on customer inputs.
- Email sign-ups: Signing up through a chatbot could be much easier than through email for customers. One requires the consumer type in their email address while the other requires only a press of the button.
- Personalization: Since they’re interactive by nature, chatbots can be used to optimize your overall content marketing strategy by improving personalization.
- Entertainment value: Depending on your business type and assets, you could also drive higher customer engagement by delivering pure entertainment content with chatbots.
- Events: Increase engagement and sign-ups for an event with a chatbot that generates helpful information and hype.
Chatbots can deliver incredible value for both consumers and businesses, but it’s important to do it right by having a focused marketing strategy. Understand how and why your target audience is choosing to use your chatbot so you can build a strategy to support their need. By using chatbots on multiple mediums and tailoring your tone to match the platform, you can fully take advantage of this powerful tool.
Luke Fitzpatrick is a Forbes contributor and a guest lecturer at Sydney University—in his past, he worked for startups in both South Korea and Australia.