When chatting with a customer representative online, have you ever wondered if you were talking to a human or to a chatbot? Recently, it is becoming hard to tell.
Chatbots have been around since the 1960s. However, with the rise of the digital age, they became increasingly popular and sophisticated. Indeed, chatbots have been driving opportunities for businesses, whether in customer service or in customer conversions.
This is interesting to view in a marketing perspective. Marketing is all about reaching people, or more precisely your target customers, whether you reach them because of an attractive advertising campaign, a pricing strategy or in this case chatbot marketing.
What is Chatbot Marketing?
In simple terms, chatbot marketing is the use of software to analyze and interact with a person’s chat message. Chatbot marketing tries to replicate human speech. It communicates with your visitors to inform users, help them with issues and essentially to generate conversions.
Chatbot marketing is a form of conversational marketing. This means that chatbot marketing tries to generate conversions using conversations with the customer. Other forms of conversational marketing such as live chat are also options a company can choose from. However, there are many benefits to chatbot marketing that should be considered.
The Benefits of Chatbot Marketing
Chatbots are always available, at any time of the day. They are bots after all!
2. Lower Cost
Chatbot marketing has a lower cost than employing a person for live chats. Even though the software needs to be maintained, the costs associated with it wouldn’t be as high as an hourly salary. Juniper Research estimates that by 2023 businesses will save 11 billion dollars annually because of the use of chatbots (Juniper Research, 2018).
3. Quick Answers
Not only is chatbot marketing available at any time of the day, they also are very quick to respond. They process the text and give an almost immediate response.
Chatbots are great multitaskers. They can handle multiple conversations at the same time.
5. Enhance User Experience
Chatbot marketing permits automated responses all while trying to understand the user’s context. They can create a personalized experience for them. For instance, some chatbots can address the user by name and understand the context of the chat (which page they asked the question on, have they used the chat before, etc.).
Chatbot marketing also makes information easily accessible which enhances user experience. In fact, according to a study by Sumo Heavy, 78% of the users thought the chatbot experience was helpful and informative (Chevalier, 2021).
6. Create Conversions
Even though most users prefer to be chatting with a human, when chatbot marketing uses artificial intelligence to better understand the customer, according to Gartner, these chatbots could increase the conversion rate by 30% (Moore, 2018).
The Ethics in Chatbot Marketing
Increasing Intelligence of Chatbots
Even though chatbot marketing is an efficient conversational marketing solution, many users believe that chatbots are keeping them from interacting with a live person who could better understand their needs. However, chatbots have been becoming increasingly intelligent and humanlike due to artificial intelligence and natural processing. This is an opportunity for businesses to enhance their customer experience. However, it is often undisclosed if the person you are chatting with online is actually a bot. As artificial intelligences continues to evolve, people could be suspicious but might be tricked into thinking the chatbot is human. This could lead to a distrust of online messaging and affect the reputation of companies using bots instead of human representatives without disclosing it.
Automation : Reducing Jobs
Also, we must consider that since chatbots are automating the virtual chat process with customers, they are also reducing jobs of live chat representatives. This can therefore open the debate on whether bots should be used to replace human resources.
User Data : A security and Privacy Risk
Chatbot Marketing can also collect user data and adapt their chats accordingly. This can be seen as a way to personalize the user experience. However, the chats could easily become a security and privacy issue since they gather user information through cookies and can also create conversational biases to manipulate users into making a conversion for instance.
A look into the future: Chatbot Marketing and Artificial Intelligence
As mentioned, chatbot marketing has been used with artificial intelligence and natural language processing to seem more human. Today, it is still relatively easy to tell that a chatbot isn’t human if you have a long enough conversation. However, in the future, chatbots could pass for humans. In fact, once chatbots start passing the Turning test, this would be good news for chatbot marketing, since it would allow to enhance customer experience by having a chatbot that interacts similarly to humans, and it may cause an important shift in how digital bots are perceived.
We can ask ourselves: how will the increasing intelligence of software affect future generations values and behavior towards advanced technological solutions?
Something to think about the next time you’re using a chatbot: Would you thank it, knowing it’s a software?
Adamopoulou, Eleni and Lefteris Moussiades (2020). Chatbots: History, technology, and applications, Science Direct. Retrieved the 7 November 2021 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666827020300062.
Adams, Tim (2018). The charge of the chatbots: how do you tell who’s human online?, The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/nov/18/how-can-you-tell-who-is-human-online-chatbots.
Baraniuk, Chris (2014). How online ‘chatbots’ are already tricking you, BBC. Retrieved the 7 November 2021 from https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20140609-how-online-bots-are-tricking-you.
Chevalier, Stephanie (2021). Experience of online consumers in the United States with chatbot commerce as of May 2018, Statista. Retrieved the 7 November 2021 from https://www.statista.com/statistics/654094/us-willingness-to-try-chatbot-commerce-2016ty/.
Hasal, Martin, Jana Nowaková, Khalifa Ahmed Saghair, Hussam Abdulla, Václav Snášel and Lidia Ogiela (2021). Chatbots: Security, privacy, data protection, and social aspects, Online Library. Retrieved the 7 November 2021 from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cpe.6426.
Juniper Research (2018). CHATBOTS TO DELIVER $11BN IN ANNUAL COST SAVINGS FOR RETAIL, BANKING & HEALTHCARE SECTORS BY 2023, Juniper Research. Retrieved the 7 November 2021 from https://www.juniperresearch.com/press/chatbots-to-deliver-11bn-cost-savings-2023.
Moore, Susan (2018). Gartner Says 25 Percent of Customer Service Operations Will Use Virtual Customer Assistants by 2020, Gartner. Retrieved the 7 November 2021 from https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2018-02-19-gartner-says-25-percent-of-customer-service-operations-will-use-virtual-customer-assistants-by-2020.
Oracle (2021). What Is a Chatbot?, Oracle. Retrieved the 7 November 2021 from https://www.oracle.com/ca-en/chatbots/what-is-a-chatbot/.
Weaver, Orinna (n.d.). Chatbot marketing: the marketer that’s always on, Intercom. Retrieved the 7 November 2021 from https://www.intercom.com/blog/chatbot-marketing/.
Yin, Sara (2019). Where chatbots are headed in 2021, Intercom. Retrieved the 7 November 2021 from https://www.intercom.com/blog/the-state-of-chatbots/.