A few weeks back, I mentioned this phenomenon on Chatbots and how it enables brands to connect to consumers through messenging apps (such as Facebook Messenger) instead of social media, and how it is an essential part of reshaping the social economy. After skimming through the internet, I have found the following points to be quite eye opening!
It totally slipped my mind to share it on this site, but better late than never!
What are Chatbots?
In all its essence, it is a piece of software that you chat with to get things done or be entertained. Just think of it as a replacement for all of the apps you have downloaded. For example, you can ask a bot about the weather and temperature instead of going into a weather app itself.
Eventually, chatbots could become your own personal assistant to take care of everything, whether you are getting an Uber or shopping for clothes. Messenging platforms such as Facebook Messenger can even let individual chatbots talk to you about things that are important, such as your flight details (I will elaborate and give an example later in the journal).
All chatbot softwares do not only use robots, as some even of them use humans to help them answer tricky questions. In social media marketing, although chatbots have evolved, their prime functionality remains the same, and that is to improve real-time engagement. Customers are always searching for prompt and ready replies to their comments and queries. The chatbots are designed in such a manner that they are able to answer most of the queries placed by customers, without human intervention. And this helps in bonding a strong relationship with a brand’s customers and potential crowds, without paying for high overheads on staff.
Siri is an example of a bot that’s built into the operating system of the device. Instead of texting, Siri responds only to voice. But, it’s still considered a “chatbot” because it’s conversational. Siri isn’t the smartest of bots because she doesn’t remember much, but with the increasing popularity of chatbots, Apple might be looking to upgrade her soon.
How do they work?
Facebook believe that chatbots can make life easier for their 1.5 billion users and some brands have jumped on board early to test out FB Messenger bots as a way of interacting with customers. For example, KLM is now giving passengers the option to receive flight updates, and boarding passes through FB Messenger.
Once a user has booked a flight, KLM will open up a message thread and send booking confirmations, flight updates, and their boarding pass. Passengers will also be able to chat with KLM customer support directly inside of FB Messenger. This is how it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=80&v=PGLASey3MAE
Chatbots reduce friction in a customer’s journey and make customer service interactions easier for customers and brands. This could mean that instead of customers turning to public-facing channels like Facebook, or even email, the vast majority of customer support and interaction could come through messaging platforms where users will expect to have everything they need (account information, receipts, order history,) all in one place.
Another theoretically concept of how it could actually look like: http://giphy.com/gifs/3o7qDMMuh0fM1FVkDm
Why Chatbots? Future possibilities:
People are using messenger apps more than they are using social networks. The transition from public social media to chat apps could be the biggest change in internet culture and marketing since social media itself. However, it’s still not clear exactly how brands will be able to maximize the opportunities presented by messaging apps.
While there is no doubt this chatbot-driven social media system is the future, there is still need for improvements before the bots officially take over.
Although chatbots are moving in, and likely to become mainstream within three to five years, humans should still have a place in social media. However, as bots become equipped to handle text content, the human side of brands and consumers will gravitate toward new, richer ways to engage, including virtual and augmented reality.
Some articles you can read if you are interested: