AI Chatbots and The Future of Marketing
Utilizing chatbots in customer service and marketing can be a cost-effective and time-saving solution. And now with advancements in AI, chatbots are able to personalize their interactions with each customer, creating a more natural and efficient dialogue. This allows for a deeper understanding of customer needs and preferences.
The evolution of chatbots and their ability to personalize at scale
Early chatbots worked with simple rules-based logic that limited their ability to provide contextual help to customers. They looked for specific trigger words and phrases in the customer’s query and then delivered a pre-scripted response. They were not yet capable of learning from the exchanges with the customer, meaning they could be very effective at dealing with basic queries but sometimes struggled to decipher precisely what the customer wanted from the interaction.
The recent wave of AI chatbots can get much closer to approximating genuine human interaction. They do an impressive job of understanding the language used by the user to find the real meaning of a query, and then responding appropriately and in far more natural language. They also learn the behavior and preferences of the user, creating a self-fulfilling cycle of increasingly natural “conversation”. To the user, it can be like the difference between being talked to and genuinely being listened to.
A new generation of customer support and engagement
Some people are concerned that AI chatbots aim to replace human staff. However, in reality, they are at their most effective when used in combination with live agents because they can increase staff effectiveness while simultaneously improving the customer experience and response times.
Most companies find an AI-powered chatbot works best for handling routine inquiries, leaving human staff free to concentrate on more complicated cases that require a personal touch. This could include situations that are “exceptions to the rule”, those which require a creative solution, or cases where exercising discretion is appropriate.
Multi-lingual chatbots for multi-cultural societies
Modern cities in the Middle East and worldwide are places where people from all over the world choose to live and work, bringing with them a rich mix of culture, food, and of course, languages. Savvy businesses need to bear this in mind in their customer service planning.
Modern chatbots increase flexibility because they can instantly translate between languages: for example, Unifonic’s systems work in English, Arabic, and Urdu. Today’s chatbots can also be deployed in an omnichannel environment, meaning the customer gets the same experience whether they initiate a conversation through WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, Voice, or Webchat.
Combining the human and automated elements remains critical. For example, Unifonic customers can program their own conversation flows without the need to write code. These will steer the chatbot to respond in a specific way to key, common queries while letting the AI develop more sophisticated responses for other queries. For the most complex cases, chatbots can seamlessly hand over to a live human agent to complete the interaction.
A new era of data-rich, insightful marketing
Chatbot marketing isn’t limited to text conversations. Unifonic’s chatbot solutions can use photos, videos, and voice messages to service and engage customers, and to promote products and services. It’s even possible to integrate virtual and augmented reality.
The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Rather than just acting as a call center operative, AI could be anything from a virtual assistant to a personal shopper for your customers.
In fact, AI chatbots don’t simply learn from their conversations to improve their responses. They can also analyze the data from every interaction with a customer, creating actionable insights.
For example, you might learn that a particular product is falling short of customer expectations. You might learn that customers have a previously unidentified problem that your services could solve. You could even discover that particular words and phrases are more likely to engage customers and lead to a sale. These data-driven insights can be used to make informed decisions about changes and improvements to products, services, and user experiences.
Building Trust and Authenticity Through Conversational Marketing
It’s fair to say that some automated chatbots in the past have technically solved customer problems but still had a negative effect on customer relations. If a chatbot fails to understand queries or is too clearly using pre-scripted responses, the customer may feel unappreciated and distant from your brand.
AI-powered chatbots can deliver the right content and use an appropriately conversational tone that means customers feel heard and appreciated. This can significantly increase their emotional connection to your brand and create loyalty.
The ethical considerations of AI in marketing
Powerful AI chatbots should be deployed with an appropriate understanding of the potential ethical considerations that can arise. Using personal data collected via chatbots raises both moral and legal issues. You must also consider whether your chatbots interact with users representing your entire customer base. If not, they could develop biases or assumptions that inadvertently discriminate against some user groups or provide a sub-par experience.
Don’t be afraid to ask prospective AI technology suppliers about how their systems deal with such ethical considerations and whether there’s anything you need to watch out for when using them.
AI brings exciting potential to chatbots by blending the efficiency of automation with the genuine connection and natural conversation of human support staff. They can help to solve your customer’s queries promptly and promote your products and services. They will also continually improve their response accuracy and help create an emotional connection between your brand and customers.