Chatbots: now we're talking
There can be no debate that AI is changing the way we experience the world. From virtual PA’s to smart cars – everything is changing.
Not only has AI given us cool new inventions, it has revolutionised the way we engage with brands. Chatbots are changing the way businesses speak to consumers and making our day to day lives easier. Here’s how:
Does this sounds familiar?
Person 1: Has a problem with a product or service. Tries to decipher the manual/online guide for an hour. Gets frustrated. Spends 10 minutes searching for customer service number online. Finally finds ridiculously expensive 0800 number. Gets frustrated. Spends a further 10 minutes searching for a Freephone number. Finally finds one, calls and spend 10 minutes navigating through the ‘…press 1….press 6… press 87953’ options. Sits on hold for 30 minutes. Finally gets through to a representative in a noisy call centre and spends a further 30-40 minutes trying to solve the initial problem.
Time taken to resolve issue: 1.5hrs+
Not a great series of events, right? How about this…?
Person 2: Has a problem with a product or service. Goes to the company website, explains issue to a chatbot. Chatbot responds with easy instructions, possibly a video.
Time taken to resolve issue: 15 minutes
All hail the mighty chatbot! Now let’s get down to brass tacks…
What is a chatbot and what can they do?
In theory? Just about anything.
You can have a chatbot that tells you the time anywhere in the world, let’s you know what the weather’s like, keeps on top of your finances for you, schedules your diary, gives you life advice or even… just hangs out as your friend.
Essentially a chatbot is a service that is a balance between a set of rules and artificial intelligence. If you’re not yet clued up on AI and the latest buzzwords in digital marketing, then check out our courses for some more info.
Why do people use chatbots?
The whole world is chatting online 24/7. Remember when we used to say ‘brb’? Not anymore – we live in the here and now.
In truth, it’s much easier to fire off a quick message to a chatbot than go through the debacle of trying to find a phone number, navigate to somewhere quiet and talk to another human (ugh..yawn). In fact, we now spend more time on social messaging apps than we do on social networks themselves.
What are they being used for?
Here are the top examples of some of the niftiest chatbots out there:
WoeBot: an online counselling service… no really.
And it knows its stuff. Based on CBT principles and developed by Stanford University, WoeBot is awake 24/7 for all your mental health needs. It checks in daily and keeps track of changes in your mood at different points. On top of that, it teaches you helpful CBT techniques and tips to help you get through.
Insomnobot3000: can’t sleep? Neither can Insomno bot.
This text bot is specially designed for insomniacs and is at its busiest after 11pm – go figure.
TFL: as in Transport For London? Yup.
Ask when your next train is, if there are any delays or simply plan your route – all through Facebook Messenger.
Mitsuku: if you just fancy a chat, this chatbot was awarded the annual Loebner Prize in 2013 and 2106 for being the most humanlike chatbot around. The website is pretty basic, but Mitsuku can be viewed in 3D as well as on other messaging platforms.
Poncho: available on Facebook Messenger, iPhone, Andriod, Kik and Viber, there’s no excuse to be caught out by the weather. Poncho can tell you what to expect from the weather as well as tell jokes, give you recipes and even dating advice.
Why do I need a chatbot for my business?
CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella has already said it: ‘bots are the new apps’. It looks like she’s onto something.
Firstly, bots are way cheaper to develop than apps, they’re easier to share with friends and you don’t have to download them. If you ever thought that a bot might be more useful for your customer base than an app, then dither no further. Secondly, chatbots give customers a better experience, therefore they stay longer.
The customer retention rate of a relevant chatbot could be much higher than an app. Aspect reports that 49% of consumers would rather conduct their customer service communication through a chat service – so you could be missing out on communicating with half the available customer base. In some cases, chatbots can save on human labour and therefore save your business money. Plus, 37% of people are open to the idea of buying items through chat services, according to HubSpot research.
Chatbots are the latest in the digital marketing repertoire and it certainly looks like they are here to stay. Keep up to date with the latest in digital marketing by subscribing to our blog below.