Chatbots: everything you need to know about this technology!

Chatbots: everything you need to know about this technology!

If you still don’t know what chatbots are, read this post and understand this technology that will be all the rage in the next few years!

What are chatbots? What do they bring to the market? How will they be used?

These questions will be increasingly common in the digital market, and if you are involved in this universe, you’d better be prepared for what’s coming.

Some time ago, we published on our blog a post on professions of the future. We talked about the next technological trends and the ways in which they will shape the job market in the years to come.

The main conclusion we drew from that analysis was: the more operational the position is, the greater the chances that it will become obsolete.

And the reason behind it is that automating processes by using artificial intelligence will be much cheaper for companies. That’s where chatbots come in, and today’s post will be totally dedicated to them.

Stick with us and learn what chatbots are, how they will be consolidated in the next months and years, how to use them, and many other doubts concerning this subject.

What are chatbots?

Chatbots are conversational interfaces that help the public in certain tasks that can be solved with questions and answers. The idea is that the users that come in contact with this technology can receive information instantly, shortening the response time between brand and consumer.

How do chatbots work?

Chatbots follow two rules that can be reciprocally related:

  • With rules so that for each new interaction on the chat they have an automatic reply in the system;
  • Or through Artificial Intelligence, so that the conversation evolves on its own, based on previous interactions.

For the consumer, the chatbots will provide replies that are more adequate and faster, and may even substitute an app, as they can have an intuitive interface, with cards, buttons and options menu.

What can chatbots do?

Today, one of the challenges major companies face is the ineffective communication with consumers. Most criticism stem from the delay in the replies, and their inefficiency.

Chatbots can act in customer support in a faster and more assertive manner.

Let’s take a look at what happens when you send a private message to a fan page that uses a chatbot:

chatbots - example 1

Image: DigitalMarketer’s fan page

The moment a user clicks on “Get Started”, it gives the chatbot from DigitalMarketer permission to talk to her.

This is the first – personalized – message the company preselected to send to someone who starts a chat with them.

chatbots - example 2

Image: DigitalMarketer’s fan page

Maybe you missed out an important detail: the message “Typically replies instantly”.

chatbots - example 3

Image: DigitalMarketer’s fan page

According to a survey carried out by Lithium Technologies, 53% of consumers who contact brands via Twitter expect to get a reply within one hour. In case of complaints, this number is even more expressive, 72%.

The result of the survey revealed that 11.2% of brands actually reply within this time frame, and most of them, 64%, reply in 24 hours.

This is a very concerning piece of data for companies, as this delay may lead to losing a customer and creating a negative branding on social media.

First impressions

We are at a moment of discovery. Brands have started to understand how chatbots can be used and the first tests have begun.

Chatbots are still that kind of technology that will go through a series of updates until it reaches a quality standard as to be considered similar to a human being. For now, some replies may sound very automatic, and, to request more complex actions, the consumer is redirected to an assistant.

But, still in 2017, the tendency is that the response parameters are better defined, and the companies that place their bets in this system will most certainly get a head start.

How do we setup a chatbot?

You may be thinking that setting up a chatbot requires a high level of knowledge in coding. However, there are tools to make the lives of those who are not specialists easier, and thus prove that the hardest part when using this tool is to actually create a conversation between you and your audience.

Mapping the potential interactions with your audience, understanding the tone your chatbot will use, and making your replies more appealing are essential prerequisites so that your strategy will lead to the results you wish to achieve.

Another important aspect we have to consider about chatbots is that many entrepreneurs believe you can only use this tool on social networking sites such as Telegram and Facebook. However, you can start a conversation with your customer in a variety of channels, such as Landing Pages, blogs, Checkouts, and many more.

If you choose to use a chatbot creation service instead of coding it from scratch, we recommend you pick one that makes it easier to create many different scenarios between your page and the visitors that access the chatbot.

Tools such as ManyChat offer complete solutions to your clients, from shopping to questions and queries, through the message system.

Points of attention when setting up a chatbot

Just like any other novelty, chatbots are still in test phase, therefore questions such as how decisive they can be, and what the best practices for companies and users to make the best of them are, remain to be answered.

However, there’s been a general agreement on some points of attention, such as the rules to use chatbots on Facebook Messenger, one of the most popular choices to use this tool.

We have come up with a few tips that we got from the main points in Facebook’s Policy so that you don’t get frustrated with the results of your strategy or are taken by surprise with possible blocks from Facebook.

It’s important to highlight that the following tips can be applied to every channel you choose to use a chatbot. Check them out:

Use short sentences

This is a tip that is applied to all the channels, not only to Facebook Messenger. Using short sentences brings it closer to an actual human interaction and makes it easier for the customer to understand.

Use Buyer Personas for your Bot

The bot should not pretend to be a human being. Understand that, as much as the conversation should be humanized, your audience must be aware that they’re talking to a machine, and to make it clearer and more fun, use characters, mascots or illustrations.

Make it clear that the bot is a representation of your brand and avoid pictures that give the impression that your system is an actual person. After all, no one likes being deceived.

Don’t be too formal in your messages

Bots must be more than mere communicators of your content or product. As it is a conversation, they must provide fun to the audience. Use a more informal tone, use emojis and other possibilities of interaction chatbots have to offer.

Customize your messages

Making the chatbot actions customizable allows a closer communication with the user. And when we talk about customization, we’re not only talking about names or geolocation. In a chatbot, you can make personalized quizzes, games, and even interactions with other platforms.

Don’t SPAM

You made a promise to the user that you would provide quality content, so don’t misuse the trust placed in you.

One of the advantages of chatbots is the opportunity you have to build a good relationship with your potential client and your current clients. Avoid sending invasive messages with offers if you still haven’t established a solid conversation with valuable content for your visitor.

Be fast

After people interact with your company or Bot, it is only possible to send replies up to 24 hours afterwards. After this period, only some previously approved bots can open conversations.

Remember Facebook rules

Just like ads, the chatbots in Messenger are also subject to the guidelines from the social network. Sending direct links to checkout or to Sales Pages that don’t comply with the rules is forbidden.

Remember that Facebook can limit or even block your chatbot if the number of negative comments, or if the messages sent break the rules in the social network. That’s why you should invest in creating conversations with quality content that grab the attention of your audience.

You can read more about Facebook rules here.

What will change?

A lot has been said about the end of apps. Although today the interactions between public and companies take place in different channels, the tendency is that with chatbots this relationship becomes more polarized in conversation software such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp.

If you stop and think about it, you’ll agree that most of the time you spend on your phone is dedicated to texting, be it via email, or other instant messaging platforms.

To be more precise, back in 2014, Mark Zuckerberg said:

In some countries, 80% of people are on Facebook, but 95% use SMS or messaging apps.

This was one of the reasons that led Facebook Messenger to become a parallel app to Facebook itself.

Virtual assistants will become more and more present in our lives, and apps are slowly going to lag behind. As you can see in the video below, you don’t have to open the Uber app to hail a car.

Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are examples of how services tend to become more and more automated, fast, and intelligent.

And, going back to the social networking site with over 1.5 billion users, it is possible to predict that in the next few months changes will be made to the Terms of Use and reach of chatbots on Facebook and other channels.

Just look back at how brand relationship with customers was a few years ago.

In 2012, organic reach from Fan pages was 16%, and in the next two years, it decreased until it reached 6%. The decline continued down to 2% in 2016.

chatbots - facebook reach

The intention is that brands pay more and more in advertising and that Facebook increases its income.

The forecast is not different when it comes to chatbots. Today, the message is sent organically to all the audience that activates the chatbot, but a change to this can be expected.

Next steps

Up to this point, you have probably got the main idea on chatbots and the value they will add to business that relies on digital strategies.

And now we have to talk about your next steps.

If you came to the conclusion that chatbots can be useful for your business, start using them as soon as possible. It’s worth repeating: those who use this technology will surely have a head start.

If you work in the digital market but has not noticed the potential of chatbots, stop and read this text once again. If you use a solution too late, when everyone around you is already making use of it, you will lose time and money.

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