Five things marketers need to know about chatbots
Conversations around artificial intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality are becoming increasingly common within the marketing arena. It’s unsurprising as these technologies are on track to fundamentally change customer service by 2020, with marketers looking to AI as a potential way to improve their customer service offering. In a recent study conducted by Oracle Marketing Cloud, 80% of the sales and marketing managers questioned already use the new technology or plan to do so by 2020. But what lies behind the hype? Sylvia Jensen, the senior director for EMEA Marketing at Oracle Marketing Cloud, explains why chatbots are so valuable and how they can help improve customer experience.
Chatbots: the future of customer experience?
Customers become frustrated and feel disconnected when they get placed in a telephone queue or loop when trying to reach the customer service desk. This problem no longer exists with a chatbot. The virtual contact can be reached around the clock, from anywhere without the customer having to wait to call in office hours. In addition to this, with more customers increasingly using mobile devices to inform, communicate or buy, they are very familiar with using a chat format. Chatbots can also be integrated into apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
Chatbots increase the quality of customer service
Call centre employees spend a lot of time answering standard recurring questions which can take up valuable time when trying to get to the root of the issue. Chatbots can clear most of it beforehand, giving human contacts more time to deal with more complicated concerns. In turn, their responses flow into the chatbot knowledge pool, so that they can become more complex with their responses in the future.
Chatbots are evolving as they work
Chatbots currently exist through simple text-based and menu-driven variants, with the communication following predefined structures and selection lists. If the customer can not solve their problem in this way, the bot passes the conversation seamlessly to a human service employee. However, the next step is towards natural language processing (NL), AI and machine learning (ML). As bots become more advanced, they will be able to understand language input and formulate responses independently.
Chatbots are not human – don’t try to fool your consumers
Organisations often give chatbots names or an avatar to make it appear more life-like. However, this is not always the right approach for every target audience. For example, Robbie the Seal is perfectly appropriate to pass on the opening times for children’s swimming classes. On the other hand, a formal, neutral greeting works better for a hotel.
You are already playing catch up
Many organisations are already succeeding with this technology so marketers that are not should start their plans to introduce chatbot technology today. Chatbots could be the key to bringing organisations closer to their customers as personalised experiences are proven to create loyalty. With marketing becoming more data-driven, it gives chatbots the ability to provide customers with relevant information at the right time. In order to provide first-class service, companies need to be able to link complete and accurate customer data for chatbots to become a successful customer service tool. The results are obvious – it’s time to get started today.