Perhaps it has recently happened to you to enter a site and be contacted directly by the Customer Service via Chat or to receive push notifications when new content and articles are published from your trusted online newspaper. Maybe you have already contacted a company directly from Messenger or from its Facebook page, or you have received useful information from the Telegram chat. How is it possible? Two words: Chat-Bot.
Chat Bots: what are they and how do they work?
A Chat Bot is, in fact, a bot that operates via chat, a virtual assistant able to converse- or rather, chat – with users automatically. Using complex algorithms, these web robots are able to interact with individuals, responding in a relevant way, providing new ideas for conversation and interacting in a realistic and natural way thanks to artificial intelligence.
In their most advanced versions, thanks to the machine learning processes, they are able to learn the language of users, even understanding their mood and adapting the conversation and tone accordingly, all in real time.
Why use Chat Bots and what are the advantages of this tool?
The valid reasons for relying on a Bot are several: although it is still a new-born technology, it is increasingly widespread, and the reason is only one: efficiency.
- Automation: first of all, Chat Bots allow you to communicate simultaneously, via chat and in real time, with an unlimited number of users, 7 days a week and 24 hours a day; this means responding immediately to any request from users, at any time. This simply means making scalable an activity that, if carried out manually, would never be as efficient.
- Chat Bots can be used on websites, apps and social networks: by integrating them, it will be possible to have a complete view of your target.
- Chat Bots are an excellent lead generation tool: using the Facebook Chat Bot, for example, new customers can be found through engagement posts, and you can create a database to fill with these new contacts in order to reach for them again at a later time.
- Through the Chat Bots it is possible to profile users and customize the content based on the answers: as in a tree diagram, each user interaction is recorded, analyzed and translated into useful information for subsequent interactions.
- The open rate exceeds 90%: this means that 90% of users will open the chat, and a good percentage of them will read its content.
Chat Bot for Business: Any Practical Applications?
In practice, Chat Bots can be programmed to perform any function that requires a first contact with the user, especially where the number of interactions is high and it becomes difficult to manage conversations without any automation.
- The most classic example is customer service. If it is undeniable that each user is unique and different, it is also true that the needs are common, the problems encountered are often the same and just as often they are easily solved with more or less uniform answers. The Chat Bots are programmed to provide quick answers to frequently asked questions, optimizing, where possible, customer service and relieving it of problems for which contact with individuals is not necessary. An example? Timetables and general information, which can easily be communicated automatically.
- Through the Bots it is possible to carry out basic commercial functions in an automated way: from the sale of products and services, to the sharing of information related to offers and promotions and to the suggestion of products based on the history of the customer.
- It is also possible to optimize the e-mail marketing activity by sharing information and content in an automated manner, in order to create a more direct and personalized newsletter via chat.
Focus: Messenger Bots
Having clarified the advantages and potential of Chat Bots, we can focus on the Facebook Messenger Chat Bot. Why rely on Messenger Bots for your Digital Marketing strategy?
- Billions of users: 1.3 billion people use Messenger – needless to say, billions of potential customers, to contact and re-contact.
- It is still a little used tool: traditional email marketing is still the most used, but it is easy to predict that it will soon be replaced by its optimized version – chat marketing – and Facebook is and will remain an industry giant.
- As previously mentioned, Messenger Bots allows users to be profiled based on their interactions, in order to offer diversified and personalized content: it is possible to know exactly not only the gender of each user, but also the messages and promotions already displayed, those with whom he/she interacted with and how he/she interacted. With the right questions, the targeting will be more and more precise.
Why prefer chat marketing to e-mail marketing?
If you are still not convinced, we will briefly explain the reasons why e-mail marketing is now out of date. Chat bots are a more efficient alternative, from every point of view:
- Create a list of subscribers. Creating a list of subscribers is, for the classic newsletter, very difficult, as receiving emails from companies is often recognized by users as a “nuisance”. In most cases, users do not want to be contacted and will deny consent during registration or purchase. Chat Bots, instead, register each user from the first interaction. Basically, at the first contact with the Bot you automatically become a subscriber and you are entered in the database of users to contact. Clearly, at each interaction it will be possible to interrupt the flow of information, but the process is much more streamlined.
- Profiling users: anything is possible, but profiling users in e-mail marketing is a much more demanding process, both in terms of time and money, while the Chat Bot will do everything automatically.
- Communication: compared to classic e-mail communications, which are generally more formal and detached, chat communication is different, as it is more concrete, real and direct. The user is more easily led to interaction. Not to forget, then, that when being a relatively new instrument it is easier to be right on target in terms of originality.
- Opening rate and CTR: if the opening rate in newsletters is around 1%, it reaches 90% with Chat Bots. Even in terms of click-through-rate, this is 4 to 10 times higher on Chat Bots than on e-mails: numbers that make the difference!
How to install a ChatBot?
To implement a Bot on a website there are mainly two options: the cheapest option is to use a free platform (such as dialogflow.com or botify.com) , follow the instructions and use the editors, finally entering the associated code string directly on the company website. Alternatively, it is possible to contact specialists who deal with building and programming bots.
Similarly, in order to use the Facebook Messenger Chat Bot it is possible to use an online platform or directly use the Facebook platform, which allows you to carry out any kind of customization.
Clearly, the cheapest option is never the most efficient: to get the most out of this kind of software and make optimal use, we recommend that you contact those who have the necessary skills and knowledge.
The ChatBot is therefore an essential tool for all companies that want to offer a complete service of Customer Care and 24/7 assistance to their loyal and non-loyal customers.
It does not end here…
History tells about how we initially went from a paper phase, the one of flyers or brochures in letterboxes, characterized by uniform advertising, not studied to target customers. The latter could appeal to some customers and not to others, but this was not seen as a problem. Then, after endless years of door to door, the e-mail marketing phase arrived.
In this case the e-mails were sent with a well-calculated cadence. It was a direct marketing strategy that used e-mail as a means of communicating commercial messages to the public.
Email marketing, if addressed to a list of pre-selected users, is called Direct Email Marketing (acronym: DEM).
In this phase the advantages compared to the ones of the previous tool were numerous: the paper was not wasted unnecessarily, a few seconds, or better , a simple click were enough to send the commercial message. Therefore the process required a negligible time, the ROI (Return Of Investment) was considerably higher than for other marketing channels, and the costs were low.
In short, it seemed to be the modern turning point necessary to attract a greater amount of users, especially due to the fact that the messages could be customized according to the customer. This was definitely an important aspect that made the difference with the previous method.
Then technology once again took over, a change was needed, as this was still not enough: it was necessary to automate.
We began to imagine a robot that did everything automatically and that took care of communicating personally and providing the right assistance to customers. The Customer Care service is a significant commitment for a company, a sector that should not be overlooked but which employs many operators. How is therefore possible to streamline this workload without decreasing its efficiency and effectiveness? The answer came and was the Breakthrough: the ChatBot.
The ChatBot That Never Goes on Vacation
Basically, the ChatBot can be identified with a person who is always available, who works for us, at the service of customers 24/7.
An important aspect of this tool is the fact that, unlike the human person, the automatic robot does not risk letting go into episodes of anger, a typically human characteristic, especially when dealing with difficult customers who complain or are not particularly satisfied with the service. One example is the constant complaints.
In addition to this there is also the full availability of the service. As a matter of fact, customers can make requests at any time of the day, regardless of whether it is night or day, Christmas or Easter. There are no holidays in its calendar. Each day is the same as before.
Using ChatBots is equivalent to having the access keys of each person’s phones. The most interesting aspect of these automatic chats is the fact that they can reach an unlimited number of people at the same time, not even stealing time because they create a chat directly within the platforms already used by users.
Messenger, for example, is a common medium for everyone. Each of us uses it daily to chat with friends, partners and relatives. The ability to quickly and directly access this tool by promoting your services and products is an extremely powerful weapon.
If once wanting or having to respond to a promotional e-mail was a job that still required time and effort, now, thanks to these automatic chats, everything is made faster and more automatic. It is almost fun, because it is nice to chat with a robot so similar to a human. It becomes a kind of pastime.
And if you think that all the chats created are not saved, well, you are wrong once again. Another interesting aspect in using this tool is the fact that you can record every single chat with users to see if there may be an interest or not in the products they offer.
In short, the world of ChatBots is constantly evolving and for its effectiveness it has replaced the presence of real people who personally take care of the activities related to Customer Care. This has therefore made it possible to devote more workforce to the company’s core business without neglecting the delicate aspect of customers.
Choosing to use ChatBots today is a demonstration of innovation and efficiency.
We cannot wait, the time to act has come.