What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a computer program that interacts and chats with humans through text, audio, and graphic messages.Brands can use chatbots to provide consumers with more intelligent and immediate solutions for their needs, create business opportunities, and maintain relationships.
We can regard common chatbots as digital assistants that use text or audio for communication to resolve specific issues raised by users. Regardless of whether consumers inquire about product information on the website or wish to obtain campaign information quickly on social media platforms, brands can use chatbots to create automatic response procedures to ensure effective and precise digital operations.
Large brands such as Audi and Jaguar are willing to invest the time, money, and resources to create chatbots. However, are these investments reasonable, and does a chatbot meet the actual needs of marketers?
In the post-pandemic era saturated with vast amounts of fragmented information, the boundaries between online and offline consumer models have long since been blurred. As consumer habits change, all brands must try to integrate existing resources regardless of their scale to identify the most suitable target audience, effectively reach users, and reach business goals.
How do chatbots function?
How exactly should we use chatbots? Chatbots are currently used in two main models:
- Retrieval-based Model: It is used to resolve queries with a responsive database, and it selects a suitable response based on the question.
- Generative Model: It does not use any predefined databases and generates responses from scratch.
A generative bot uses deep learning to enhance the analysis of the user’s question and identify the true intent of the user. It also provides automatic responses to effectively resolve user demand in a particular scenario.
【BotBonnie’s Tip】Bots under both models can use deep learning but they can also operate without deep learning.
You should have a deeper understanding of chatbots by now. Chatbots are more than just automated assistants of brands. You can use bots to create a one-stop service experience from pre-sales customer solicitation to intensive interactions and after-sales services.
Before you rush into anything new, start here: Focus on creating the best experience with general functions on a single channel. Once you have achieved this goal, you can begin to develop other channels such as apps like SMS and Messenger. For instance, after a certain clothing brand has accumulated 1,000 fans on the Messenger bot, it can develop bots for each of its other main channels. 70% of the company’s bot orders ultimately came from new customers.
Gartner, the most well-regarded consulting institution, stated:
By 2025, 80% of customer service organizations will have abandoned native mobile apps in favor of social messaging platforms for a better customer experience. At the same time, 40% of customer service organizations will become profit centers by becoming de facto leaders in digital customer engagement.
The time has come for marketers to start developing new digital channels and experiences. Use chatbots to expand the brand’s business value and create benefits for both the brand and customers.
Five major values created by chatbots for the brand and customers
- Scalability in operations
Effectively executing a creative campaign is one of the important goals for marketers when they plan events. Chatbots conveniently fit common marketing tools into modules, and from there, it only takes 10 minutes to make creative ideas a reality. You can encourage customers to stay on the brand’s official account page with interesting interactive mechanisms. In addition to organizing marketing activities with ease, creating automatic responses, and managing information on multiple channels, bots can also be used to optimize the performance of marketing, sales, and customer service personnel.
- Effective customer acquisition
Do you wish to expand brand exposure from a single point to full-scale deployment? In a cookieless era of fragmented information, it isn’t difficult to ensure that a brand appears in all channels where target customers may appear. With a set of chatbot flows, you can interact with customers on multiple social media platforms and websites, and easily convert previously unknown customers into fans of the brand.
- Precision communication
The overall use of official accounts by LINE users in Taiwan reached 83% in 2021. The top five user industries were, in descending order, financial services, retail chains, retail, F&B, and government. Consumers have become accustomed to interacting with brands through LINE. Brands now face the challenge of expensive LINE promotion fees while ensuring that the right information is sent to the appropriate users at the right time. Chatbots can help them meet these requirements. They help brands create personalized and comprehensive communication and increase activation rate instead of merely sending vast amounts of information like a megaphone. They thus attain the goal of precision marketing.
- In-depth Communication
If brands have their own CRM system, member information, and data of customer interactions on social media, such first-party data would be critical assets in today’s world. It would be a great pity if brands failed to integrate, analyze, and use such data. Chatbots can use API to connect to third-party systems so that brands can engage in more fruitful interactions and precise communication with users and create an exclusive brand experience for users.
- 24/7 automation
Having a smart chatbot assistant means that it can work for you when you take a shower or go to sleep, and help you achieve the ultimate goal of making money without doing anything. Investing in a chatbot creates a 24/7 customer service center and automated marketing interaction. Making good use of a chatbot can help you collect customer information and answer frequently asked questions. Once bots are programmed to process low-level communication tasks, they can effectively reduce the amount of work that must be done by customer service representatives. You can then use the “human-machine transfer” to direct more complicated issues to customer service representatives to increase work efficiency, reduce manpower costs, provide customers with a better experience, immediately respond to customer service requirements, and create benefits for both you and the customers.
Why do companies use chatbots?
- Obtain first-party data
Before the arrival of the cookieless future in 2023, brands must carefully sort the channels and resources they have and cherish every opportunity for interactions between users and the brand. They must record user data for analysis and use them as the basis for remarketing. For brands, investing in social media is the fastest and most effective way to reach potential consumers. Gartner predicted that by 2025, 80% of customer service organizations will have abandoned native mobile apps in favor of social messaging platforms for a better customer experience. Now is the best opportunity to create automatic interactions with chatbots.
- Changes in the role of service providers
A business is required to maintain many different channels, which are critical for the customer experience in different stages. In the purchasing process, the customer references the website content and reviews, while users are accustomed to using social media, email, and telephone as channels for inquiries. Under ideal conditions, you would want chatbots to provide unified solutions on all channels and make sure that your chatbot can answer as many questions as possible while providing comprehensive solutions. However, when the bot cannot answer a question, the question can be seamlessly directed to a customer service representative. Customer service representatives would thus fulfill their role and be transformed into highly active sales representatives in this stage.
Bots can provide more services by communicating with consumers and they can also connect with other bots and systems to provide more services. The company organization is accustomed to high numbers of communication channels and we will now use a single channel to provide services — chatbots! We can use a bot for purchases and inquire about delivery time. It can also grasp every opportunity for needs the customer has never thought of to enhance conversion.
Success stories in five major industries
Common challenges in the creation of chatbots
- Excessively high user expectation
Brands must provide clear information when planning events and provide customer services by letting users know whether they are interacting with a customer service representative or a bot to avoid customer complaints. Set a clear button for seeking support from a customer service representative and provide a certain amount of waiting time. The customer can leave a message regarding specific personal requests to a customer service representative to avoid excessively high expectations.
- Inability to accurately predict user behavior
The inability to accurately predict user behavior sounds frightening, but it is actually one of the most exciting parts of using a chatbot. When users exhibit interactions beyond expectations, it often creates many surprises and room for maneuvering for brands. The “interactive process analysis” can be used to identify key elements that block the chatbot or stimulate interactions with users. If you do not conduct analysis, you may make blind decisions and overreact to short-term trends and tastes. In a real-world example, you can add buttons and attractive slogans in the menu. However, the users would ultimately create a conversation that you and your chatbot are completely unprepared for. This is inevitable but also part of the fun of using a chatbot. Embrace uncertainty, take rapid actions, and learn from mistakes
Five steps for designing your own marketing bot
We will use four simple steps to teach you how to design a marketing bot even if you have very little programming knowledge.
- Confirm marketing objectives
Before setting marketing operations, you must first understand who your customers are and the issues they are working hard to resolve. They are referred to as the target audience and their pain points. This is the most important first step before you plan any strategy. Once you have identified your target audience, you can directly design and transmit marketing information that exclusively targets them. In addition, once you have identified the issues they are working hard to resolve, you can design products that resolve their problem.
When designing a chatbot, it is crucial that you understand this key step and move in this direction, because the smoothness of communication with a chatbot and the tone you adopt must be attractive to users based on their personality and needs.
- Confirm the type of chatbot you design
Once you have confirmed the issues that must be resolved by the chatbot, you can select a suitable bot with greater ease.
Information bots: Digital assistants that provide users with related information on the brand in real time. Examples include Audi’s digital mobile assistant that helps the car owner with pre-sales and after-sales services from test drives to maintenance and repairs. You can also have interactive chatbots that create gamified interactive experiences for brands and intensify interactions between users and the brand. For instance, vertical e-commerce businesses can use lucky draws and MGM events to help brands increase brand awareness and increase user retention. You can also combine the characteristics of two types of bots in your brand bot.
- Find a suitable messaging channel
Chatbots need a platform for operations. More specifically, you need a communication platform where you can address the needs of your target audience. Before making the selection, you should identify the social media platform preferred by targeted users of this chatbot, and create a chatbot for them on that platform.
- Continue to experiment with different tones in interactions with your target audience
Make your chatbot more human-like Once you determine the chatbot communication app and platform, you can imbue it with some personality traits. Although your chatbot must resolve user issues, it is equally important that it does so in a simple, interesting, and unique manner. Remember, the weakness of chatbots is that they are not human. Therefore, to design a high-quality marketing chatbot, you must make it appear as human-like as possible.
When you design the characteristics of a chatbot and construct the entire messaging process, the most important thing is to prioritize the target audience. If your chatbot is designed specifically for car owners, its characteristics will be significantly different from that of online shoppers.
Once you have set up your chatbot characteristics and procedures, you can analyze, correct, and continuously test your chatbot through direct interactions with users to identify weaknesses. This will become an ongoing test and improvement process.
If you have only a vague idea of the marketing objectives or your target audience, try putting yourself in your consumer’s shoes, and consider the functions you would want in a bot and the scenarios that would provide you with a better service experience. Therefore, if you are unsure about the type of chatbot to build, you only need to start building one that can resolve your current issue and take your first step.
5. BotBonnie chatbot: Launch marketing event in ten minutes
The BotBonnie chatbot can help you hit the road running. You don’t need any background in programming or engineering. Simply use the drag-and-drop interface to build bot-message flows one by one. It also comes with multiple built-in marketing kits. You only need to set up creative flows without having to worry about any technical issues and you can launch a series of gamified marketing events in just ten minutes. It will help you engage customers in interesting interactions and in-depth communication and increase conversion.