I have been exploring chat bots (or simply, bots) and how their usage can enhance our daily lives, our working lives and our marketing efforts.
Bots have been around for as long as there’s been any form of automation, one example from 1972 shows a bot conversation with a psychotherapist and a paranoid schizophrenic. Phone calls with ‘Say 1 for X and Say 2 for Y’ (known as IVR = Interactive Voice Response) are early examples and both have evolved and improved over time.
The technology for us to be able to easily create and manipulate bots is what has really changed and developed in recent years, and barriers like cost have also lowered. You no longer have to be a tech wizard to use bots and there are many companies that are available to help you.
Modern day bots are an automated system that are able to have and hold conversations with people e.g. on Facebook Messenger. Bots are comprised of any text, images, video files and audio files. They are conversational elements that are in place of a situation where you would expect a live person to be; think of them as a programme that can simulate a person – but not completely replace one. Bots can be as simple for you to create as it is to build a website or even to send an email.
Why Use Bots Now?
The demand for messaging has improved. Asian countries are well up and running with the idea and use of bots with the likes of Line and WeChat, whereas we have been must slower in the West. However, there is now a mass market here with over 1 billion users on Facebook Messenger.
We use messaging apps to talk to our friends and family, and so it stands to reason that we can also build better relationships with our customers through messaging than we can through email. This is just one of the real selling points of bots.
Relationships have always been built around 1-2-1 conversations, but time eventually became a limiting factor – it became almost impossible to have all of the important conversations you needed. Everyone wants to feel like they matter, and messaging platforms and bots allow us to return back to that. Conversations can be completely personalised to your users with the bot that you build.
Marketing with Bots
As a marketer, chances are you have already created your target personas. Well, they can be built with them in mind and can be the personification of your brand for the entirety of the conversation with your customer.
Once your bot is having these conversations you can figure out what they really want to hear. You can collect the information from your conversations (it is conversational data collection) and use them in your other marketing efforts. Do your customers get confused by your product? Do they need help or are there specific areas where you can make adjustments to your bot or even in your business as a whole? They are a useful 24-7 presence on your social media or your website.