Chatbots for Retailers this Holiday Season

With retailers gearing up for the holiday season, many companies are operating on their maximum capacity. With a large number of customers purchasing and ordering goods, the scene is set for brands to try innovative ways to manage their orders. This could be a great time for  brands to give Chatbots a go to manage their high flow of messages.

Since Facebook announced Chatbots at their last F8 conference many brands are exploring this opportunity to connect with their customers in the comfort of their Instant Messaging Applications. For starters, their are multiple benefits to adopting a Chatbot given that the Chatbot has been developed well and updated regularly. A Chatbot can be used in multiple ways to automate the every day process and make it more streamlined for general efficiency. Another aspect of Chatbots are that they are instantaneous and easy to use for customers.

From ordering Christmas cakes to booking tickets for your getaway, Chatbots are the perfect assistants for managing customers and directing them to payment gateways. A great example of this is a popular beverage company launching an AI bartender Chatbot that offers users recipes and instructions to make new drinks this Christmas. Another new addition to the ways a Chatbot can enhance users shopping experience is an interactive personal assistant that helps you piece an outfit together for the holidays.

Here’s a list of Chatbots that could improve the shoppers experience during the holiday season:

A Chatbot Holiday Assistant

Still don’t know what to get your family or friends this Christmas? A Chatbot could ask you multiple questions about your family and suggest unique gifts for them this season. This could also be a great way for online shopping websites to save users the time of browsing through countless items and show them the content they may be more interested in. This could increase the website’s conversion rate as the items displayed would be the ones that are specifically tailored based on the user’s needs.

A Chatbot for Holiday Travel

With travel companies and airlines competing with each other on their pricing, a holiday Chatbot could list the perfect travel plan using different websites and search engines for the most accurate results. For example if the user is looking to book two tickets for New York, the Chatbot could suggest a flight plan, hotel plan and also events that the user can go to during their stay.

A Musical Chatbot

The holiday season is more cheerful with beautiful music. This Chatbot could play your most favourite holiday music at different times of the day to get you in the mood for the season. A user could customize their playlist using the Chatbot and play it on the go.

A Party Chatbot

A Chatbot that informs you of all the exciting Holiday parties happening in and around your location. This could be interesting for party goers looking for the next destination on New Years eve too.

While many companies are already utilising Chatbots effectively for this holiday season, with the trend of conversational user interfaces only increasing, we can expect 2017 to be a year of the Chatbot revolution.

Can We Measure Analytics for Chatbots?

With marketing shifting to conversational user interfaces, Chatbots have emerged as a powerful tool for e-commerce. As companies across the board are adopting Chatbots on Instant Messaging Apps, the question of analytics has crossed every Digital Marketer’s mind. Is there a way to measure the performance of your Chatbot?

It is important to acknowledge that with Facebook’s recent update on Chatbots on Messenger, users can now rate a Chatbot and provide their reviews. However, this is only one aspect of how your business can analyze the Chatbot’s performance.  In order to evaluate the Chatbot’s performance the following metrics should be measured.

 How many users has your Chatbot interacted with?

This number is equivalent to the number of reached users in an analytics view point. It is how many users the Chatbot has established contact with. This number can be a starting point to understand the success of your chatbot. The number of users that the Chatbot reaches can help the business understand how many users have had a successful and complete interaction with the Chatbot on Messaging Applications.

How long does the user interact with your Chatbot?

Once contact has been established with the user, the questions and data points can be measured to understand how long the conversation with the user lasted and can help us understand if the Chatbot was able to maintain the communication flow. For example if the Chatbot understands 10 different “conversational flows” how far has the interaction with the Chatbot progressed and where does it tend to go down. Marketers can user this to amend the conversation to minimise the number of users stopping the conversation.

How many times does the user interact with your Chatbot?

Depending on the purpose of the Chatbot, it may be important to understand the retention aspect of the Chatbot. Do users interact with your Chatbot on a daily basis? Another metric to measure can be the number of users that have “muted” the Chatbot after the initial interaction. For example, in the case of a restaurant booking via a Chatbot is the user more likely to order through the Chatbot again or resort to traditional ways of booking. This can be helpful to measure if a Chatbot is assisting in improving the existing methods or processes for a company.

What is the Conversation Success Rate of the Chatbot?

The Conversation Success Rate, according to us at Oh My Bot ! can be measured by the resistance of communication blocks by the Chatbot. There can be some instances in the conversation where the Chatbot is unable to understand the user. Therefore, it is important to measure the number of times, the Chatbot was unable to process the information which determines how successful the conversation with the user was. For example, if a user asks the question “How old are you?” the Chatbot if not intelligent enough may reply with “I don’t understand that.” which is an obstacle while trying to maintain a successful flow of conversation with the user. These blocks can also help the Marketers train and improve the Chabot constantly.

How many leads has your Chatbot generated?

Chatbots can be an important tool for companies to generate leads as it can request users to input their contact information for the business to get back to them. Therefore, if the user is willing to provide the information to a bot it can be an effective lead generation tool which the brand can measure.

How many conversions have been made on your Chatbot?

For businesses looking to promote their website or products, the Conversion from Chatbot to sales can be measured to understand the performance and efficiency of a Chatbot. How many users clicked on the website through the Chatbot? How many users bought an item by being redirected by the Chatbot? These questions can help Marketers understand if their Chatbot strategy is effective.

While metrics and analysis of Chatbots are still in their initial stages, we can foresee different tools for Chatbot Analytics to pick up in the upcoming years of the Chatbot Revolution.

How Chatbots Can Boost Your Sales in Business

Given the exponential rise and development of new technologies today, business leaders have a wide range of opportunities to market their brands while improving the experience of their consumers. In an undeniable way, Chatbots have quickly become the star of this year. In spite of existing for over a decade, most brands have understood the effectiveness of Chatbots for their businesses. By definition, a Chatbot is a computer program that is created to mimic conversations with the help of artificial intelligence.

Chatbots are already used, for example, in multinational companies to generate new sales channels, facilitate the sales process and respond to consumer queries. Chatbots are not only useful for large organisations but small businesses can benefit from them too. Here’s some detailed insight into the usage of a bot for business.

Database collection of customers for businesses:

Even though chatbots are simplified for the customer, they are much smarter than one might think. The first positive thing to remember about them is that they have a very good memory. Let’s take the example of flight bookings made with Chatbots, they are created to understand different flight routes and destinations in order to provide the most accurate information concerning the departure times and the arrival times of the flights. This kind of bot helps users to have a real-time response to what they are looking for and allows the company to grow its database of customers.

Opportunities for Sales:

Chatbots are not just fo r transferring information. They can also be used to directly influence a company’s sales. Recently, Taco Bell, a fast food chain, created a Chatbot that was designed to automate the sales process. TacoBot allowed users to place their orders online by sending a message via the Slack platform. Inteldesk too has chosen to provide digital agents in the form of Bots to improve the user experience and customer service to increase sales.

Influence Purchase Decisions:

It is normal that the majority of small business executives lack time or even staff to offer each consumer exclusive attention and advice. Chatbots offer the best dynamic solutions for this problem. Some clothing chains such as H&M have adopted Chatbots to influence their sales. These bots ask users a number of questions about their clothing style and then offer them a variety of clothing choices. This type of Chatbot can also recommend accessories or outfits related to the questions asked. This helps employees gain more time as consumers can turn to a sales consultant 24/7.

Responding to Customer Queries:

This is the simplest and most effective way for companies to create their own bot. A Chatbot is able to translate and take into account the demands of a large number of consumers and answer them. It is important to train the bot to understand the most basic and frequently asked questions. But it is very likely that the inbox of the bot is quickly filled with requests. Therefore, it must be able to respond to different demands immediately. For example, Silvia is one of the best platforms that contains a virtual character that has a voice and a brain and can therefore easily communicate as a human being.

Improving Social Media Engagement:

Last April, Facebook at the f8 conference announced that its messaging platform, Facebook Messenger, would be open to brands to create and host chatbots. This will allow brands to achieve higher levels of sales and naturally encourage engagement on social networks. Therefore, hosting a suitable Chatbot on Facebook will assist brands in expanding their fan base with the possibility of increased engagement and this in turn will help the business boost sales.

Simplify Payment Processes:

As Chatbots help users order certain products, they must make sure to also provide a means of payment but this can be quite challenging. It is important to adopt the latest payment technologies and offer different options to the user and perform this within the bot. For example Snapchat introduced Snapcash last year, which is a tool that works like a virtual wallet and records the details of the user’s credit card in order to allow it to send money to brands or Friends via a message. Setting up these tools will simplify the payment process thereby increasing sales online.

The concept of Chatbots are being pushed by major brands and developers with a large number of applications uploaded every day. If your business has decided to adopt the Chatbot technology it is important to conduct some market research and monitor competitors along with partnering with a Chatbot agency to develop an effective Chatbot strategy.


Chatbots: The New Tool For Digital Marketers

With users spending more time on their e-mail applications, mobile phones as well as on their desktop, marketers are trying to include their marketing messages in these platforms. For the uninitiated, Chatbots are tools powered by artificial intelligence where a robot is hosted within a messaging application. They can help a brand communicate with its consumers without the help of human intervention.

Therefore its important to ask the question: Why are Chatbots essential for Marketing Professionals?

1. Chatbots will populate an increasing number of digital platforms

The number of platforms that brands need to maintain their digital presence is constantly increasing. This has resulted in several marketing campaigns that have been conducted through different channels and the need to keep them regularly updated can be a difficult task. The size of each of these campaigns  has also increased considerably. Many brands now have a global presence.

By using Chatbots, marketing professionals can connect their accounts and update them via messaging platforms like Slack, SMS, Facebook Messenger, etc.

2. Chatbots help marketing professionals keep up with the changing trends

It is important for marketers to constantly keep an eye on their campaign performance indicators to spot the effectiveness of a campaign. This data represents the evolution of the trends in relation to their target and gives the brands a real insight into the reaction of their consumers to certain messages and advertising campaigns. Being attentive to trends can help optimize the brand strategy. Chatbots can make this easier and automated.

3. Chatbots respond to the growing demand for analytics

As the number of digital platforms increases, the importance of streamlining and optimizing marketing budgets has, in turn, increased. Marketers need to be vigilant about the data of each of their campaigns in order to maximize their performance. The use of Chatbots gives them instant access to the data they need without having to go through the vast datasets in Excel, Google Analytics, and others. By using Chatbots, marketers can keep a lookout for key indicators that define a trends as they happens to take the necessary action immediately.

4. Chatbots help in consumer responses as well as instant processing of the request

The growing number of companies bringing their products and services online has resulted in a wave of “instant responses” for consumers. Users expect an instant response from brands at all times of the day and across multiple time zones. Although manual interaction with a large individual audience can be difficult, not applying customization or not responding in a timely manner can also result in the loss of customers and an overall negative image of the brand. Chatbots allow businesses to engage with the customers in an instant manner.

5. Chatbots are easy to use

Digital marketing will become easier and more thought provoking for marketers with the rise of Chatbots.  It would be interesting to see how consumers react to this change. In the meantime, Customers and brands will likely view Chatbots as their own personal assistants!

The Chat Bot Revolution and Its Relevance in Consumer Relationships

As thousands of developers are creating bots, chat bots have taken the world by a storm. However, chat bots have been here for a long time but the recent interest in them is due to their seamless integration into the consumer’s instant messaging applications. A bot is an automated software that performs repetitive and often mundane tasks however, when it is communicating with the audience as an entity in itself over text we refer to them as chat bots.  This form of bot is the one that is currently the subject of fascination in the tech industry.

Why now?

The growing interest in conversational user interfaces can be explained considering various factors. The revolution of Chat Bots in 2016 is all about the timing. This is an age of exponential growth of language processing mechanisim, automated learning and artificial intelligence combined with the human contribution that allows for the expansion. The introduction of various algorithms from big tech giants like Google has accelerated the progress of chat bots.

Moreover, the cost in developing a chat bot is much lesser compared to the creation and maintenance of a mobile application or website. Scalability is also an important factor as it is easier for software changes by adding services than to increase its facilities and hire more labor. Finally, the rise in distribution services has also allowed the revolution to progress. With apps like Facebook Messenger, and WeChat that reach over billions of users, bots interact with the largest communities in the world.

Potential Gains and Usage

The bots change the digital landscape and domains of 3 key players. The first is its benefit in better customer relationships. In this age where companies are seeking for more economical solutions artificial intelligence helps develop this relationship in a much more balanced manner.

The second domain that a bot affects is personalization. Until now, nothing could replace a face to face interaction. However, brands are already exploring the idea and offering more personalized solutions with the help of a bot. Users now have the opportunity to have their own personal assistant. They already exist in our pockets with the Siri or Cortana and are focused on understanding the questions and providing relevant answers. The new age of bots collect data and are also connected to each other. This makes it possible for the bot to provide personalized recommendations and increases their efficiency in the process.

Chat bots are helping transition from human interaction to artificial intelligence interactions with a robot and this is based on the bots conversational intelligence. In the future, we could expect bots to be solely responsible for customer service exchanges.

It is important to note that the solutions offered by the bot only solve 10% of the process. However, as bots gain more conversational intelligence they will be able to carry out more advance tasks. It remains to be seen whether bots can ever fully replace human interaction in the customer service industry but one thing remains certain that conversational user interfaces with robots are here to stay.

Digital vs Chatbot Agency : What Should Your Company Choose ?

After the arrival of Chatbots on Facebook Messenger, one can predict that the other tech giants will follow suite with Bots on WhatsApp, Kik, Skype and more. When it comes to the creation of chat bots a question that puzzles everyone is, who should develop a chatbot, is it traditional digital agencies or a dedicated agency specialised in developing chatbots? Which one is better?

The specific requirements of users and brands along with certain technical constraints can be best understood only by an expert. Any brand or business that decides to build a chatbot must consider minimum risk and scope for error. A dedicated chatbot agency always has the necessary and vast expertise needed to undertake a chatbot project.

Here’s an overview of the assistance that only a specialised Chatbot agency can perform:

  • Analysis of expectations of the target audience on Instant Messaging Applications
  • Configuring a unique home screen: each user is greeted with a personalised message
  • A well defined scope of how a chat bot can help your business
  • An analysis of expectations of automated conversations for the business
  • The design & development of a bot including hosting it on the platform
  • The level of interaction with the users and customers before human intervention
  • Round the clock technical assistance
  • Human moderation services to further enhance the conversation with customers
  • Integration with the brand’s CRM software: for the chat bot this is often used for effective customer service.

It is therefore important to consider a dedicated chatbot agency to develop a conversational user interface to ensure the most effective results on your decision.

Could Chat bots be the next Human Resource Assistant?

Over the past year, Chat Bots have been taking over the conversation for innovative ways brands can connect with their customers on Instant Messaging Applications. So far we have seen bots do it all, from restaurant reservations, flight bookings and also playing the part of a medical assistant. Each interaction with the bot enables quicker and faster response times. With the general attention span of the world reducing, chat bots can be a great alternative for customers that are unable to wait for information.

In the recent times, companies have been trying to explore chat bots as a tool for Human Resources. It is  of importance how human resource departments can communicate effectively with their employees providing them necessary information ranging from holidays, CPF or pension. Usually, employees are required to set up long meetings with their HR to receive this information and a lot can be lost in communication.But we are entering the chat bot revolution where chat bots can prove to be highly effective in these situations and can provide the necessary information to the employee instantaneously. A quick message to the bot asking for your pending holidays could provide you an instant reply minimizing the turn-around time for the HR to respond. Companies like Axa have already taken the step in deploying chat bots in their human resource strategy.

It can be quite ironic to have machine learning assist a field that thrives on human learning and feedback however, it is interesting to see how successful bots can perform and automate certain daily tasks in an organization.

Recently, it was revealed that McCann Japan hired a Creative Director who is also a robot by automating this role in the organization. It is however, not in interest of an organization to automate the Human Resources that largely depends on human interaction and experiences.

Experts believe that as the technology of Bots improves every day due to constant research, eventually a bot could help sift through multiple resumes using machine learning to find prospective employees for the organization.

The Chat Bot Revolution: A Shift from Social Networking to Instant Messaging Applications

We are at the brink of a Chat Bot revolution on instant messaging applications. As downloads for applications on social networks go down, brands are choosing to come to the place where the user spends most time, in the safety of their favourite instant messaging applications.

As countless brands have taken the plunge to introduce Chat Bots to automate the conversation with their audience it is quite clear that Bots are here to stay. As Facebook revealed in July the presence of over 11,000 bots on Facebook Messenger and counting, bots have been taking the world by the storm.Whether it is booking a dinner table or scheduling an appointment with a doctor, customers can now carry out a spectrum of online transactions within the comfort zone of their Instant Messaging Applications.

According to a study by Business Insider, Messaging applications have now surpassed social networks in terms of usage. This confirms the notion that brands must actively adopt the idea of connecting with its customers and potential users on Instant Messaging Applications instead of pushing more stand-alone applications of social networks. An important aspect of the new revolution of conversational user interfaces is the adoption of a human like persona for the bot. Whether it’s the sweet talking Siri or Cortana, bots now act as a personal virtual assistant with human like qualities which makes the experience of interacting with the bot more enriching rather than monotone or without emotion.

This also provides the brand much room for injecting their brand’s personality in the bot. The bot thus acts as a spokesperson for the brand managing countless interactions at the same time with ease and eliminates human errors. With a proper and extensive strategy, bots can not only automate daily tasks for the brand but will be able to establish and build a lasting relationship with your customers.

5 Things to Consider Before Developing a Chat Bot for Your Business

As we roll into the era of conversational user interfaces, bots have taken the world by the storm.  There is no doubt that the use of bots will help the brand establish a quicker and ready solution for users that are having a conversation with the bot.

The messages transmitted are uniform across the board which helps eliminate the human-bias that a user may have regarding the company.

However, as businesses across the globe are considering whether they should invest in creating a bot, here are 5 things to consider before your business makes its decision.

  1. Set a Clear Strategy:

It is important for your business to set a clear expectation of what the bot is set to provide. Are you facing issues with the amount of queries coming your way? The organization must have a clear idea of the role of the bot in this interaction so it can add considerable value to the process. A good example is using a bot to make quick hotel reservations for a local restaurant.

  1. Analyze the Interaction

Some businesses may not be open to chat bots as yet. Understand which process of your business absolutely needs human intelligence and intervention. A chat bot is not a replacement to a human interaction but just a means to add a digital spin to the process to make it more efficient.

  1. Connect with Chat Bot Marketers

Once you have made the decision to create a bot, it is important to do it right. You do not want your bot to crash unexpectedly in the midst of an important interaction. Many marketing organizations can guide you through the process of creating a bot and the costs associated with it. You can do a run down of the opportunity cost of this decision and whether it can add value to the current processes.

  1. Plan the Voice of your Bot

Think of the bot as the person who is a spokesperson of your organization. Your bot must adopt the same personality traits as your organization and give the users an idea and history about your brand and what it stands for. A bot need not behave like a robot but a means for the business to tell their brand stories through it in a seamless interaction.

  1. Listen to your Customers

Feedback is one of the most important things to consider before you make the decision to develop your Bot. Understand from your customers as to what part of their interaction with the business poses a challenge. This can help you plan the role of the bot in solving these concerns for customers.