2 minute read
Apr 24, 2017
If you have not heard of chatbots before, or have heard of them but don’t really know what they are then you need to catch up with the latest tech when it comes to the customer journey. Chatbots are, as the name suggests, a programme that you can have a conversation with to achieve a goal. Whether that is to get some information (“what’s the weather like tomorrow?”), make a transaction (“can you order me a pizza?”) or if you are in need of some customer service (“my pizza hasn’t arrived!”), chatbots are the way forward.
On a very basic level, a computer programme is coded to recognise keywords and sentences that are sent to it and then uses this information to respond with a scripted message. The purpose of subsequent messages is to either gather further information from you, reply with the information requested or to act on the request if it can’t help any further i.e. pass you to a human.
So who is harnessing this technology? Large brands such as Sephora and H&M have already built chatbots to act as personal stylists, which attempt to get an idea of your style and tastes and then recommend products based on the answers given. Alternatively, RBS have created a bot called “Luvo” which helps with small issues such as forgotten pins and lost cards. There are a plethora of other chatbots out there, with predictions leaning towards a massive rise in the amount of businesses using this technology to help customers.
The question you may be asking is what is the point of a chatbot when you can head to a website, app, store or pick up the phone to carry out any of these tasks? The answer is efficiency. Using one messaging app, i.e. your native SMS app, you can message your personal stylist at H&M to order a new dress whilst simultaneously texting your bank that you have forgotten your pin and then ordering your favourite pizza. The best part is that you can do all this without going between apps, channels or technology. This massively improves the time it takes to carry out these tasks for the consumer and provides a personal and friendly feel. Together, these outcomes are a brand’s dream when dealing with a consumer.
As businesses have begun to see a decrease in popularity with smartphone apps in general, but the rise in users when it comes to messaging apps, it is a no-brainer that this needs to be harnessed to retain customer engagement. There are many development companies out there that specialise in the building of chatbots and with the use of API feeding into other applications it is relatively easy.
In the next few years, you will see the rise of chatbots as the next big CRM tool, especially chatbots via SMS. There are two reasons for this; SMS is much easier to build a bot around than OTT messaging and every smartphone has SMS capabilities. The key thing here is that not everyone uses Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger etc but every smartphone has a native SMS app and functionality.
For further information regarding chatbots or using SMS as a customer service tool, get in touch with us today on 0800 971 7111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.