Artificial Intelligence (AI) isn’t just something from Sci-Fi movies. In fact, we have started to take for granted just how much we rely on AI in everyday life. Just think about how often you search Google, ask Alexa or have a chat with Siri. If you added up the time spent using AI based technology, the reliance might even be a bit of a shock. Who would’ve thought that 20 years ago we would be using a mobile phone to turn off the light?
One form of AI that has gained significant traction in the last few years is the Chatbot. These are computer programs that have been built to hold a conversation just like a human. Chatbots use a data store, often known as a knowledge base, to look up answers and return them back to the requester in a conversational manner. Some have become so advanced that it is almost impossible to determine whether it is a human or a robot on the other end. Whilst Chatbots have mainly been applied to customer services to do functions like answering queries, there are several ways they can be utilised for digital marketing. This has also a niche digital agency domain come into high demand. Although businesses recognise the potential revenue return from Chatbots, they don’t know the right strategy and implementation process for their organisation. The digital agency is now specialising in turning the AI into action. We will come back to the specific role the digital agency plays in Chatbot development later.
Chatbots for Digital Marketing
The best thing about a Chatbot is that it can be everywhere, 24/7. Let’s imagine a digital marketing journey in retail. It is often that case that customers need to ask a question. If that question is not instantly available on the website, chances are they will drop away and damage conversion rates, let alone losing out on income. Even in-store, recent research has shown that customers are more likely to use their Smartphone (61% of the time) than ask a human assistant. Consumers want digital help.
What if they could click a button and ask the Chatbot a question as they are going through the purchase journey? They could do it instantly at any time of the day. As the Chatbot uses machine learning and Big data technology, it can look up the answer and almost certainly be 100% accurate (this assumes the knowledge base has been constructed properly). It is as amazing opportunity for digital teams.
A further application of the Chatbot in digital marketing is gathering lead information. Chatbots can quickly establish if a lead is a new or existing customer, ascertain how they like to talk and what information they might need. Before the lead even reaches a sales agent, they could have all of this to hand. The lead data may even be used to schedule calls later and create a sales diary. Although customers shop digitally, they still like to have a bricks and mortar experience. This means an efficient but personal touch to their buying experience. In digital marketing strategy, the Chatbot is being used to display a welcome message when users enter the site. This is usually personalised for the customer asking whether they need assistance for example. It’s a great way to tie up the online and offline worlds.
The Chatbot Digital Agency
The concept of a Chatbot might sound quite simple but for some businesses, strategy and deployment can cause a challenge. Many see the prospect of implementing AI exciting and translating that into a tool that can reduce offline resource requirements and deliver personalised messages as a must have. Doing it well is the tough bit.
A digital agency will guide you through the process of setting up a Chatbot specifically for your business. They help to determine the projects that best represent value for your business. For example, there is no point setting up a bot to answer FAQ’s if your customers don’t need it. Usually, a digital agency will follow a process like the below,
- Business goals and objectives – why does the business need a Chatbot and what data supports the use case.
- Building a knowledge base – a Chatbot is only as good as the data that feeds it and requires a base of experience to get started
- Chatbot language – create a language that fits your brand and customers
- Coding framework – develop the Chatbot using a framework that fits your business technology
Moving into a new AI platform can be confusing and a digital agency will manage the project from initialisation to deployment.
Should you develop a Chatbot?
Chatbots are available 24/7, have the potential to always be 100% accurate and bridge the gap between offline and online experiences. Deploying one in your business seems like a no-brainer. However, using a digital agency to complete a full strategic overview is something that should be considered to ensure it is done well. A poorly built Chatbot is worse than having no Chatbot at all so businesses need to have a clear objective before jumping aboard the bot train!