The role of digital marketers in driving traditional efforts and autonomous digital marketing are increasingly focused on mobility and social media, as new, or updated, ways to engage. Among the package of technology available to them, chatbots, augmented reality and apps stand out as high profile and distinctive ways to attract attention and keep your customers.
Brands and companies need to keep up with the times when it comes to communicating with their customers. In a few short years, we’ve gone from a one-way stream of adverts to multimedia efforts that encourage engagement through social media and QR-code links to apps. Now we’re seeing company websites, apps and social media as avenues through which customers talk to the brand become commonplace.
Many businesses lack the resources or aren’t ready to deal with that level of interaction. Or, they might be resource constrained or see internal politics or peer pressure see them sticking to tried and tested methods. Either way, when it comes to customer service, brand engagement and ecommerce opportunities, chatbots and apps are the way forward.
From explaining the features of a new model of car, of highlighting the colour options in this season’s range of fashions or trainers, a bot can help sell, inform and engage.
Engaging the Mobile Customer
As customers become mobile first all companies need to look at their marketing efforts and see how they can make maximum impact, often with limited budgets. Any company can afford a mobile app, but marketers need plans to update content, to drive engagement and to add features that will keep people using the app, otherwise it will become a digital zombie and rapidly deleted from most devices.
Chatbots offer an easy way to drive engagement across apps, websites and social media, with low-cost, high-engagement rates that can do something as simple as book appointments or provide information and customer service to acting as a full digital concierge.
Bots can be easily built to meet the specific needs of small companies, while verticals will already find plenty of bots that fit into their niche. The likes of Amadeus provide bots for the travel and airline sector. Medical service bots are increasingly commonplace, while the banking sector is unveiling new bots at a frenetic pace to meet customer demand.
Whatever the target customer or business type, chatbots can handle customer needs from answering questions to updating on orders, fulfilling sales and even upselling with new offers. They provide a quick and responsive service, especially if the company is out of hours, or is experiencing a busy rush of inquiries.
Chatbots can also provide a highly standardised and rapid response, with AI bots learning better answers as they see more queries. For outbound marketing, bots can also help with follow up messages to judge engagement needs, provide further information, sell accessories or consumables and so on.
Further Advantages of Chatbots
Marketers don’t just find out what the individual customer wants from a chatbot. Using data gathering and analysis, the company can uncover trends and insights into customer motivations, time and location patterns and so on. These can help the company refine products or its marketing and branding approach.
Bots can also help the brand engage, playing games with customers, providing timely messages or showing imagery or videos that highlight products. While the name chatbot will stick for a while, text can be augmented with emojis to help judge mood and liven up a conversation while linking into video can shorten lengthy technical discussions (ideal for technical support) and so on.
New Ways to Engage
For brands that want to push their branding and marketing, bots can replace email campaigns, even become characters in new marketing. Then people can engage with the bot, already understanding its capabilities.
Mix these in with augmented reality, bringing products or characters to life in front of people on their smartphones or tablets, and you have digital characters that can be interacted with on the screen or via a chatbot.
As people adopt devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod, their voice assistants can become a new avenue for your bots to engage. There \are plenty of opportunities to be with the customer when they most need your business across a range of touchpoints and any business looking to expand and meet the digital customer needs to be exploring these possibilities.
Chris Knight writes about where technology will take us next, from the power of neural networks, artificial intelligence and chatbots, to the endless worlds promised by augmented and virtual reality. From the latest in gadgets and hardware to how digital businesses can use technology to grow, Chris makes the future clear and understandable to all.