Let’s Chat Chatbot

Research shows that messaging apps are on the rise and have outpaced the increment of social network growth. For marketers, this means new strategies should be put in place to reach the well-defined growing trend. Looking forward, companies that are aiming to be found where the consumers are racing to in herds must find a way to make their presence known in these kinds of platforms. If you are wondering how a company can message with its customers, and reach potential customers without needing to hire additional staff, there is a popular answer promising to revolutionize our communications. The Chatbot.

Much like creating apps changed the face of mobile business, the Chatbot is emerging as a new marketing solution bridging corporate and customer interactions. Oddly enough, Wikipedia has no definition for it yet. However it is defined as a “rules engine” service, residing within a messaging platform, which generates responses to a user. It replaces a “live chat” with a UI/UX, across a broad spectrum of purposes; education, entertainment, support, etc. It is a programmed set of responses with the ability to use AI to understand language. Much like the automated voice you hear when you call the bank; the Chatbot interprets input and searches for responses. This new way to engage consumers has garnered vast momentum and is expected to drastically change how we do things.

WeChat, released in 2011 by a Chinese company, is among the top standalone messaging apps, with over 700 million active users. In China, it is currently used to pay bills, text message, order goods or services, conference, share pictures, send voice messages and play games. In April of this year, they released a business version of the apps to allow companies to track employees with heightened security features. They’ve collaborated with many name brands, including eBay, where customers in China can make eBay purchases from within WeChat.

Facebook Messenger, with over 1 billion reported users, has launched several bots in its Messenger app. If you are unfamiliar with the Chatbot, Facebook has over 11,000 of them, developed since the platform launched in April. Marketers should note that back in June, they reported that “tens of thousands” of developers were then working on Chatbots. These are a game-changer. If staying ahead of the curve is a priority, take note the Chatbot frenzy has begun. So, if you aren’t already, you’ll certainly be familiar with them soon. It’s time to consider challenging your team to reevaluate your current analytics and implement new analytics to prepare for future functionality.

The possibilities are seemingly endless. Though receiving criticism for being silly now, as new emergent technology often is, Chatbots are still very much in the developmental phase, the potential to enhance customers’ experiences and the popularity of the messaging trend cannot go unnoticed by companies. The Chatbot is here to change our lives. It requires attention. It is the new kid on the block that is garnering vast attention, with the appeal to bridge the gap between the stampeding use of messenger apps and the consumers need for attention without having to leave the platform they are already on. Any marketer that needs to be where “the people are”, needs to take the time now to prepare to engage customers in an insightful and innovative way by augmenting their reality, and brand presence, by developing their very own nifty, little, mind-blowing, Chatbot or perhaps a whole troop of Chatbots.

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