In The Little Mermaid, Arielle sings: “I want to be where the people are.” Quite the marketer, that cartoon mermaid.
Brands don’t just want to be where people are, they need to. And in increasing numbers, people are, in the digital world, in messaging apps. Ninety percent of our time on mobile is spent on email and messaging apps, in fact. But too often the focus for companies seems to be in email—which is nice and can be effective, but doesn’t provide that crucial personalized, 1-on-1 interaction that consumers want.
So how can a brand be able to respond to many, many messages quickly and efficiently, keeping that 1-to-1 feel? It’d take a lot of humans, if you went that route. Enter the chatbot, the topic of our latest Social On Us Webinar. Chatbots have been around a while, and are still not yet totally evolved. But they can be a vital answer to brands’ desire to meet customers in the intimate space of digital messaging. Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Slack and SMS already support chatbots, so the time is now.
What are chatbots doing well, and what can they still get better at? Firstly, they’re good at…well…being robots. Thanks to their digital, data-driven nature, chatbots are good at personalization and context, and they can provide beneficial utility to customers with a low barrier of entry. On the downside, they are good at clear, single tasks, but are bad (for now) at replacing a whole website worth of information. And they don’t communicate in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Some companies are currently using chatbots really well. If a flight passenger can download their boarding pass into onto their phone, why shouldn’t they be able to quickly access flight details and do simple tasks in the same space? Dutch airline KLM allows users to message their bot in SMS to check in for their flight and get other crucial updates and information. Chatbots can also be a fun learning tool, as National Geographic Kids has shown with Tina the T-Rex. Kids can message Tina, asking her questions about where she’s from or what her diet is.
(Check out the deck below to see more examples and the exciting future of chatbots.)
Automation is coming. And while it might sound sci-fi, we’re approaching a time where having conversations with AI will be the norm, and they’ll get more complicated and detailed as time goes by. Chatbots might be primitive still, but they’re effective tools for communication in the place where consumers are spending a lot of their time.