Approx. read time : 10 min
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of mankind’s most amazing inventions. It is the technology that enables programs and machines to learn and function like human intelligence. With its growing presence, AI is penetrating and revolutionizing society, industries, commerce, and even governance. But its most successful applications have been realized and utilized in the field of e-commerce.
Conversational AI, which was once a part of fiction, is now a standing reality! It has become one of the most successful digital marketing trends, as well. Businesses and brands employ AI-powered chatbots in their digital marketing to improve the customer journey and boost returns on investment (ROI). These are now automating conversations that, in the past, were heavily human-dependent.
Where Are Chatbots Used?
Chatbots are used in a range of applications like setting the alarm (example, Siri), playing favorite songs (example, Alexa), internet searching (example, Google Home), etc. These are acting as virtual assistants for the user to carry out his or her command.
Chatbots are also employed in websites, email, SMS text messages, and apps to either reach out to or respond to a message from a customer and converse with him/her like a human. These can answer queries and even carry out certain tasks.
For instance, travel agencies like Snap Travel use chatbots that can get to know the customer’s hotel booking needs, suggest hotels available in the preferred location, and book hotel rooms at discounted rates. Customers don’t even have to visit Snap Travel’s website. They can do the booking just through Facebook Messenger or a simple SMS text.
Other sectors like restaurants, e-commerce businesses, hospitals, marketing, governance, and banking also employ chatbots for different purposes. These not only free up human staff for working on core business functionalities but also enhance the customer experience by providing quick and convenient help.
They eliminate wait times with their instant responses. So, they make ideal candidates for answering simple questions like “Which is the nearest restaurant?”, “What does the ticket cost?” “At what time do you close?” “When is the event scheduled?” etc. You can even get product suggestions, like products that are often purchased together. For instance, pillowcases which were bought together with a set of pillows, menu items ordered together, etc.
These can also notify users of nearby shopping places, upcoming events, and more. If you are running a business that delivers, you can update your customers about the delivery status.
Why Use Chatbots?
Chatbots serve great customer service agents for your business because of three important reasons. These include-
- Users prefer texting over calling. Since the primary means of communicating with a chatbot is through texting, chatbots serve as excellent customer service agents.
- A majority of customers (66%) try to use self-service in the first place. And chatbot serves as an efficient self-service customer support tool.
- Users do not like to wait for long periods to receive responses from your firm. Delayed responses put you at the risk of losing your customers. Having a chatbot eliminates this risk by providing instant and round-the-clock support. This ensures customer satisfaction.
5 Ways to Improve Your Digital Marketing Using Chatbots
Chatbots are now being employed extensively for brands and businesses in their digital marketing. These lower their operational costs, streamline their marketing tasks, and improve their customer experience. Here are five ways in which businesses online can use AI chatbots in their digital marketing strategies.
1. Customer Analysis
Chatbots can automatically collect valuable insights and other information from the conversations they hold. You can therefore employ them to gather details like customer behavior, purchasing patterns, best-preferred products, key data points, and more. They can also record details about the kinds of queries made and the complexity of those queries. This will help you to be prepared to respond to future questions or upsell additional products to those customers.
For instance, AirChat, an airport chatbot found that stranded travelers were requesting it for information regarding the availability of flights that could get them home. So, the airline equipped the bot to provide this info. They also included answers to many other questions that weren’t previously unavailable with the bot.
2. Customer Engagement and Retention
Chatbots can engage your leads in real-time. Time delays in engaging leads can negatively affect the conversion of leads, says a recent study since chatbots enable you to easily and quickly reach out to customers with product suggestions and specifications, targeted messages, coupons, special deals, etc. This can give them a reason to adhere to your brand. Thus, employing chatbots can be one of the best customer retention strategies.
Emirates Vacations, the tour operating arm of Emirates airline, deployed a chatbot for promoting customer engagement. The chatbot was built within its display ads. It worked to break down extra friction points during the search. It suggests destinations and vacation packages based on the users’ questions.
For example, if Emirates Vacations doesn’t have a hotel in Ontario, instead of suggesting a hotel in Ontario, its ad would read “Explore the world without leaving the page”. The launch of the chatbot increased engagement rates to 87%.
3. Lead Generation
Chatbots can also help you to analyze enormous amounts of data to help you find your right customers. It can also help you find potential leads in your customers. These help in lead generation in the following ways-
- Market segmentation, which is based on the individual product interests, likes, dislikes, and response of your audience.
- Conversion of web visitors into potential prospects and directing them to the right sales rep for dealing further.
Health Tap, a renowned company selling a variety of health apps, uses a chatbot to answer the health concerning queries of users. It also virtually connects users with doctors from the specialization they are looking for. It also assists clinics and doctors in pre-screening their appointment.
Ecommerce is one of the most common areas where chatbots are used. It uses chatbots to reach potential buyers across social media, and help them explore the store’s range of products. These present the prospects with the products they are looking for, share those to their circle, update, and notify customers of new arrivals, offers, product deliveries, and delays. These also can provide all the support they would need.
Sephora, a French multinational beauty firm, uses its chatbot in its marketing strategies. The bot offers users makeup tips and product suggestions after asking them a personal quiz on their makeup routine. It also helps them to make purchases.
The firm has another bot called Sephora Virtual Artist, which works on Facebook. It visualizes the effect of Sephora’s beauty products on the user’s selfie. Sephora also employs a booking bot called Sephora Reservation Assistant bot to help handle its booking requests from customers.
5. Lead Nurturing & Personalization
A vast majority (74%) of companies consider it a top priority to nurture their leads. For, companies that connect with their prospects within an hour of receiving queries are almost seven times more likely to generate meaningful customer interactions. And, nurtured leads purchase 47% more than those who buy immediately says a survey.
Further, people develop trust and affinity towards a brand that connects with them with a human touch. Chatbots provides you with a more “human” way to engage with your customers and prospects.
Chatbots can use the information collected from your online assets like past interactions, website, and back-end systems to provide personalized experiences. These recommend products suiting a user’s needs, preferences, and background. These also suggest the best combo offers and offer discounts to increase sales.
The buoy is a medical chatbot that offers personalized diagnosis to its online visitor’s health issues. It provides an experience resembling that of a real medical interview. It asks for your symptoms, gives feedback on those, guides you to the best service based on your symptoms, checks back on your progress, and connects you with people who have experienced symptoms similar to that of yours.
Apart from the above-given five ways, chatbots are also used for many other purposes to improve a brand’s digital marketing. Some other activities for which chatbots are employed include brand mention monitoring, customer support, customer service (handling orders, deliveries, and returns), personal services (like fitness, finances, etc.), gaming, and more.
Examples of Chatbots Across Different Industries
With advancing technology, chatbots are developed with varied abilities to perform different activities in each industry. Here are some examples of the various purposes with which chatbots are deployed in different industries.
- Food Services: One of the industries that have witnessed great success with chatbots is the food industry. For instance, HelloFresh, a leading meal kit company, is one of the most prolific adopters of chatbot technology. Its chatbot- Freddy handles customer support seamlessly and reduces wait times for consumers. It also performs a reminder service, makes Spotify playlist recommendations, and provides updates of news and blog content from HelloFresh.
- Real Estate: Real estate uses chatbots to replace agents to answer general real estate questions asked by prospects. For example, Holmes is a real estate chatbot that uses AI to recognize queries put up by customers (both buyers and sellers) and answer those in real-time.
- Financial Services: Chatbots are employed in financial service companies to carry out tasks like account balance checking, money transferring, and intimating the bank about credit and debit cards that got lost. For instance, Bank of America uses a chatbot called Erica. It efficiently handles providing balance information, sending notifications and credit report updates, enabling bill payments, and sharing money-saving tips and proactive insights.
- Travel: The travel and tourism industry requires its customer support to be active round-the-clock. To address this, it employs chatbots. American Express’s travel and tourism chatbot Mezi uses AI to chat with users regarding flight information, trip recommendations, and hotel availability. This smart chatbot responds instantly and asks questions to users about their preferences related to hotel amenities, ratings, and budget.
- Legal Services: Chatbots are also employed in legal services to handle complicated document-analyzing processes. JP Morgan Chase, an American multinational investment bank and financial services holding company, launched an AI chatbot called COIN bot to manage its back-office operations. This chatbot is capable of analyzing complicated contracts faster and more proficiently than human lawyers. The firm reports that it has saved more than 360,000 hours of labor by employing COIN.
- Airlines: Several airlines worldwide are employing chatbots to answer customer queries related to basic details about their flights. These are used for checking in and receive information about luggage weight limits, gate departures, and connecting flights. Some airlines using these include Aeromexico, Volaris, and Avianca.
- Railways: Railways around the world are also using chatbots for helping passengers to find information related to train schedules, ticket availability, station information, discount cards, loyalty programs, etc. IRCTC uses an AI-powered voice-enabled chatbot called ASKDISHA to converse with customers in Hindi.
- Entertainment: Many Chatbots designed for entertainment are found on Facebook Messenger, in the App Store, Kik, Slack, and on browsers. Some of these are listed below-
- Dinner Ideas Bot: It gives you a recipe suggestion when you feed it with the list of ingredients at your disposal.
- Cleverbot: Contrary to its name, it is a nonsense chatbot whose conversations are weird but funny.
- JokeBot: It is used to ask for or submit a joke. It learns from your responses.
- ZEVE: It is a chatbot created to help reduce boredom, loneliness, and stress in difficult times.
- Ruuh: Designed for an urban Indian audience, this English-speaking chatbot focuses on Bollywood, humor, music, and other types of entertainment.
- QuoteBot: It is used for getting or submitting an inspirational quote. It too learns from customer behavior.
Your business can benefit in many ways by integrating AI chatbots into its daily activities. You can automate conversations with customers using a chatbot. You can also use it to execute some of the monotonous and critical tasks with it, irrespective of the industry your business belongs to. AI chatbots are your best choice if you are looking for a way to grow your brand, meet customer expectations, and stay abreast of technological trends.
Hope this write-up has provided you with valuable insights on how chatbots can be used in your digital marketing. Do let us know what you think about AI Chatbots!