AI & Chatbots: a look to the future trends in marketing & more
Chatbots have become increasingly popular in recent years and even more so during the pandemic. A whopping 67% of people have had some kind of interaction with one over the past year.
Advancements in AI and deep learning have seen chatbots becoming smarter and remarkably more human-like in their interactions. But what does this mean for your business? And how can chatbots become a useful part of your marketing strategy?
Let’s take a look at chatbot future trends and see how they might impact your relationships with clients and customers.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is a program that processes and simulates human conversation. Customers can interact with digital services, social media accounts and other platforms as though they were speaking to a real person.
Chatbots range from the very basic one-line responses to simple customer queries, to much more complex digital assistants capable of learning and evolving.
In this digital age, the chatbots can provide huge savings potential for businesses. In fact, they could cut customer service operational costs by up to 30%.
Although we associate them mainly with customer service, they have great potential for complaint resolution, lead generation, improving brand awareness, and increasing conversion rates.
The evolution of chatbots
The origins of the chatbot can be traced as far back as 1966. The first chatbot – developed by MIT – answered very simple decision-tree style questions.
Similar iterations of MIT’s chatbot sprung up over subsequent decades, all following these basic decision-tree processes.
Through the 80s and 90s, chatbots were used mainly in automated phone systems. And more recently, we’ve seen voice-assistants like Siri and Alexa transform our day-to-day lives.
A standard chatbot uses the same processing language as these voice assistants. They process the text entered by a user on a web-based application or standalone app. Then they respond after their algorithms have worked out what the user means or wants.
Chatbot technology has taken huge strides in recent years. So much so, that it’s becoming difficult to tell the difference between a chatbot and a real person when interacting with a brand.
Although the digital revolution has been underway for some time, the pandemic sped up this transformation by an unprecedented 5 years. As a result, today’s consumers demand personalised experiences and immediate responses.
With so many people having moved to online shopping during the pandemic, businesses are turning to more and more sophisticated AI to respond to the demand.
Although chatbots are most popular in the customer service sphere, there are so many different ways they can be used. Today, there are bots that can help insomnia, help you navigate the news, and make medical diagnoses. They can even engage children (and young-at-heart adults) with the latest Disney or Marvel storylines.
Elsewhere, chatbots are being used innovatively as force for good. As of 2021, there are chatbots that assist dementia sufferers with daily life, effectively triage patients, and guide children on internet safety. There is even a chatbot to enable those in developing countries to speak out about their most urgent needs.
For businesses, chatbots can automatically assign leads to the right team members. They can also reduce cart-abandonment by answering any questions and combating hesitations. The possibilities are endless.
And as the AI technology continues to march on, their usefulness will only increase.
What does the future hold for chatbots?
Conversational marketing in 2022 and beyond
As with any giant leap in technology, there has been some inevitable mistrust from the public. Some have argued that if chatbots come to resemble humans so effectively, they will replace the need for human interaction. We disagree.
When it comes to consumers dealing with brands, chatbots don’t replace human interaction. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
Consumers like the fact they can contact a brand and get a response 24/7. For brands, the chatbot also means they can expand their markets into territories with opposite time zones much more easily.
There is great potential for improving customer service, as companies can be smarter about where they focus their resources. AI Chatbots can deal with the mundane and repetitive queries that might bore human staff, while employees can be challenged with more complex enquiries.
Another benefit of conversational AI is that business owners don’t have to worry about employing staff round the clock. The chatbots can take over after hours and assign leads to members of the staff team to pick up when they get into work.
So far from eradicating our need for human interaction, the chatbot actively nurtures positive relationships between the employee, the employer, and their customers.
We’d call that a pretty good outcome all round.
Key takeaways: are chatbots the future of marketing?
Chatbots are nothing new. But as technology advances and develops, chatbots are being used in more and more areas of business. And certainly, marketing is one of the sectors that can reap the most benefits. That’s why conversational marketing has grown in recent years ,and is set to grow further.
Consumers like a quick response and they are more likely to buy from brands that they have had some kind of interaction with.
Most businesses don’t have the workforce to provide round-the-clock responses. Chatbots provide a cost-effective and efficient solution to this, and the potential benefits for business and consumers are huge.
It’s a technological advance that should be embraced, not feared.
Do you know that chatbots are the main way you can leverage your conversational marketing strategy? If you want to learn more on conversational marketing and how it can help your business, check our guide on conversational marketing.