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Marta Peral Ribeiro

Marta Peral Ribeiro
– Communication Consultant –

6 reasons to implement a chatbot

With the increase of online purchasing C-Commerce (conversation commerce), where brands use Artificial Intelligence to communicate with consumers and vice versa, whether through chat, Apps like WhatsApp or virtual assistants like Alexa.

How are bots changing the way we view business? Why is this emerging technology worthwhile for companies?

Marta Peral Ribeiro
– Communication Consultant –

6 reasons to implement a chatbot

With the increase of online purchasing C-Commerce (conversation commerce), where brands use Artificial Intelligence to communicate with consumers and vice versa, whether through chat, Apps like WhatsApp or virtual assistants like Alexa.

How are bots changing the way we view business? Why is this emerging technology worthwhile for companies?

I, (Ro)Bot

The fascination we have for Artificial Intelligence (AI) is valid: it brings technology closer to being human – or rather: to the human brain.

The bots (short for robots) where created for it, being software programs    capable of performing automated actions. These actions are similar to the rational of our brain in solving issues.

Through predefined information, these bots are developed to communicate with humans – chatbots.

What is a chatbot?

In the background, a chatbot is a virtual assistant configured to “chat” with people, typically through written messages. Which is quite convenient taking into account that in a way, it fills, the loss of the human element inherent in online commerce.

robotSource: Alex Knight, Unsplash

One of the biggest technological trends

The growing focus on chatbots, using machine learning skills (where bots evolve as they add interactions, i.e. they record and analyze more information) shows that it is only a matter of time before it is common practice for companies to integrate this technology into their platforms. Moreover,  it is expected to be used massively next year, being one of the most pressing technological trends.

The user experience as a context for using bots

When the user wants to make an online purchase, these are usually the expected steps: the consumer arrives at the brand page (landingpage), searches for something, seeks advice or some clarification, makes the purchase and is forwarded to the final post-sales phase (for example, information about your invoice or when you will purchase the product).

However, throughout these steps, there are aspects that can invalidate the user experience:

  • You may come across a complicated website, where you waste time searching for information or products;
  • Hesitation at the time of paying and abandoning the “cart”;
  • You may not find the advice you need;
  • By reading derogatory reviews about this brand or product, you may give up the purchase.

In short: the user experience is extremely important in e-commerce, dictating not only your interest but your purchasing decision. In fact, according to  Forbes, 84% of consumers indicate that the experience offered by a company is just as or more important than its products and services.

This is then one of the great reasons for the existence of chatbots: optimizing online customer interaction.

The success of Facebook Messenger chatbots

From a point of view of reach, engagement, and AI capabilities, apps like Facebook Messenger perform better than email.

Let us remember that Facebook is the social network with the most active users around the world, being a meeting point between brands and customers.

When browsing the page of a brand on Facebook – that provides a chatbot through messenger – we can quickly get to the product we are looking for.

Exchanging some messages with the bot, it instantly directs us, as it would if we were in a store and asked an employee for help, as in this example of Sephora:

demonstração do bot da sephoraSource: Sephora

Advantages of integrating a chatbot into the company’s platforms

Here are the main benefits of having a chatbot:

Saves resources

Chatbots save companies time and money,  which can reduce  30%  of the costs they have with customer support.

On the one hand, because they provide a 24-hour service. On the other hand, because they can answer simple and frequent questions, relieving human resources in customer service centers, freeing them to answer more complex questions.

(Still) It's a differentiating factor

Although emerging, there are still few brands that have ever immersed themselves in chatbot technology, which makes them an innovative element.

In the case of Facebook Messenger, in 2018 there were only 300,000 active chatbots  in a universe of 1.3 billion active users. Meanwhile, the numbers will have increased, but it remains a competitive advantage.

Generates qualified leads

In addition to chatbots recording visitor data 24/7, it can present content that interests the user (and without sounding intrusive as is sometimes the case with human agents).

This is an opportunity to create brand awareness (e.g. by displaying products or services) and collect data provided by the users themselves.

Boosts sales

Qualified leads boost conversion, which increases sales.

As the flow of interaction is more directed to the product that the consumer seeks, that is, more personalized, the purchasing decision happens more naturally, because the customers want something simple, fast and that meets their needs.

Optimizes the user experience

When visiting a website, the user can interact with the chatbot, which welcomes you and makes itself available to clarify your questions.

In addition, consumers receive an immediate response or, if they cannot be assigned a reply, are properly referred to a human agent, which also contributes to a positive experience.

Optimizes after-sales

A chatbot can be programmed to later ask the customer for an opinion on the online purchase. From this registration it is possible to improve the quality system depending on the suggestions or any complaints.

Where to start?

1

Identify the audience and objectives.

What are the needs revealed by your customers? Does customer service need to ease the volume of calls? Does the consumer want guidance while searching for a product on the website/online store? Or know the status of your order? Bots can also be used to provide practical information such as news, weather, restaurant location and accommodation, etc.
2

Define who will develop chatbot

Creating a chatbot is a differentiating strategy. But you don't create a chatbot overnight. It is necessary to find the appropriate specialists in order to be able to offer a flowchart relevant to the user. After all, it should be the focus and it is your experience that dictates the purchasing decision. However, there are more accessible tools, such as the previously mentioned chatbot available on Facebook Messenger.
3

Provide the bot with all possible data

It takes a considerable amount of data for chatbots to give people answers, whether written communication (chat) or verbal (virtual assistants). And, above all, clear and concise information. A chat can be developed by exchanging emails between customer service assistants and customers, for example.
4

Test, register and improve.

It is essential to test the performance of chatbots, otherwise the user will not waste time and will leave the website. To improve them, record the evolution of chatbot: what works and what needs to be developed. The company's stakeholders can and should also be called upon to participate, debating ideas and strategies that help define the persona and in which scenarios a chatbot should be used.
5

Observe chatbots from other brands

When interacting with multiple chatbots it will be easier to identify the tone of voice and personality you want to represent your brand. But, of course, keeping it as close as possible to what is already your usual tone. The more human the tone, the better.
6

Show the bot to your audience

Give the news to your customers that they can use the chat service 24/7, the reasons for its implementation (meet the needs of the customers) and show them a short video on how to use the chatbot, will in itself be a relevant content that will bring you engagement per se.

In which market segments is there the greatest interest in using chatbots?

According to Invesp, it is in the Retail sector that consumers are more open to interaction with chatbots, followed by the industry linked to Health and Telecommunications:

estatísticas sobre a aceitação de chatbos com inteligencia artificial Source: Invesp

Give time to time

Alan Turing, the brilliant British computer scientist, hoped that by 2020 computers would reveal the same rational ability that humans have to communicate by crafting the famous “Turing Test”.

But human language is something extremely complex, with numerous variants and intentions that can have different meanings. This scenario requires much more AI technologies than storage memory and cutting-edge programming.

Thus, it is necessary to allow time (and Artificial Intelligence) for chatbots to acquire a more human conversation.

illustration patrick smith, ted edSource: Patrick Smith, TED Ed

Finally, I leave a small example of this:  when trying to use the chatbot from Ikea, questioning the price of a convenient “Hemnes”, the bot apparently did not understand the question “price”.

However, it was able to present the models of the said dresser, associated with the respective links, which later show the price: