Chatbots are the next big thing. Should you dive into the hype?

chatbots strategy

AI Chatbots are a growing trend and are said to be the “next big thing” in the marketing world. There are so many different ways you can tailor the usage of a chatbot to work for your organization, but is it really worthwhile for everyone to dive head first into the hype?

In this post we’ll explore what a chatbot is, business cases, and how to determine if its worth building one for your business.

So, what is a chatbot?

Chatbots are artificial intelligence systems that interact with users in a conversational experience such as text and/or speech. Radical advancement in machine learning AI has transformed bots from gimmick-driven novelties to purpose-driven agents that serve a real business impact. Many are deployed on platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, Slack, Telegram, or text messages.

How are they being used?

Let’s check out some ways that chatbots have been effective:

Amtrak

amtrak chatbot

 

Amtrak implemented a chatbot named Julie that helps website visitors navigate the website, answers customer inquiries and assists with transactions without contacting a representative.

Results:

8X return on investment

$1 million customer service email cost savings in a single year

30% more revenue generated per booking with Julie

So what makes Amtrak’s case so successful? Since a large majority of travelers book their tickets online, they wanted to find a way to make the experience easier for their website visitors. Functions such as answering general inquiries, assisting in website navigation and transactions are all simple enough to fall under the scope of a chatbot’s capabilities.

Sephora

sephora chatbot

 

Sephora created a chatbot that allows people to use Messenger to book in-store makeover appointments more easily. The chatbot features augmented reality to allow consumers to test products in real-time using their phone camera. The chatbot also provides product recommendations, check out, and in-store appointment bookings.

Results:

11% higher booking rate through Sephora Assistant

This case was successful because it helps to streamline the in-store makeup appointment booking faster and easier. They were able to reduce the number of steps in the booking process from 8 steps initially to 3 steps with Sephora Assistant. Simplifying a booking system is a process that can be handled by a chatbot, especially when paired with product recommendations and augmented reality.

? Want to learn more? Take a look at our in-depth 2018 Chatbot Ecosystem Report to read more about the market and successful uses cases. ?

So how do you figure out if chatbots are right for you?

If you don’t follow some important guidelines, it is likely that your attempts to use chatbots will fail. Chatbots are often deployed with too much emphasis on conversation novelties that it loses sight of its business objective . So what can we learn from the success of companies like Amtrak and Sephora? Here are some things to keep in mind when planning on investing in chatbots.

1. You must have a clear goal in mind

Without a clear goal in mind, you won’t be able to measure the success or failure of your chatbot. First, you need to plan ahead to figure out exactly what you want to achieve with the chatbot. There must also be a plan to help ease the transition towards automation. For example, you must make sure your customers and employees understand how chatbots can enhance their experience. Planning ahead for these contingencies will ensure that you can take the right steps towards achieving your desired ROI.

2. You must have an achievable goal

If you think a chatbot will be able to replace human interaction and take over your customer service department, you will be disappointed. Chatbots are not equipped to replace humans. Instead, they can automate and enhance service delivery to customers and internal business operations. You need to understand the capabilities of your chatbot to achieve the goals you have set. Keep it simple and focus on the specific things that chatbots can do rather than wrongly assuming that they can do everything. Go to market with a simple goal to prove value and iterate based on customer and employee feedback.

3. Don’t launch too early

It’s easy to get excited and push to launch quickly. However, it’s important to make sure that your chatbot is ready to handle customers, and that your customers know what your chatbot can do to provide value. A clear-cut strategy will define the success of your app, and it all starts with who your audience is and how they interact with your brand. Pilot your chatbot before launch with a test group to help surface how it operates in in a real environment. Making these small, incremental steps will help identify if the pilot is worth going live to scale with all your consumers.

Conclusions

Chatbots can be enormously useful for your company if you set the right goals, keep things achievable, and test thoroughly. However, it’s often difficult to do so yourself. If you do not have a solid strategy, you will not be able to optimize the full capabilities of a well-used chatbot. If you’re thinking of investing in a chatbot, you should consider hiring a consultant or strategist to guide you along the way.

Menikmati Labs builds chatbots for organizations of all sizes – SMB or enterprise with simple to complex goals in mind. You can learn more about what we’re doing in the conversational space here. If you have specific questions about optimizing chatbots for your company, feel free to contact us. We’re excited to hear from you!

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