With more people using chat platforms globally now than social networks the obvious next marketing juggernaut will be the Chatbot.
The future of brand interaction is here and it is starting with Chatbots and it is the pathway to the virtual assistant world. I have written about the future of UX design here lately and this is where we are starting from, we are finding ourselves needing to develop skills that can not only look visually appealing but are backed up by logic and ability to distill a two way dialouge to drive an outcome. If we can learn to do this correctly then our brand proposition and purpose will shine through quickly.
There are some great examples here in this piece that look at how brands are using chatbots to engage with their consumers, i personally love what the team at The North Face have achieved with the use of IBM Watson to use the utility of a bot platform to help their customers navigate the depth of their brand.
We are seeing a lot more of our customers engaging in discussions or projects in this space and this is really exciting for the growth of this space. It isn't all roses and sunflowers, there are lots of learnings along the way but what is important with bots is that they just begin and learn. Air NZ has just launched their new 'Cadet Chatbot' called Bravo Oscar Tango 'Oscar' who is just learning the ropes and this is such a great way to get a bot underway.
The key thing for brands is to make sure that critical to any thinking is the customer is central to the design thinking, adding utility and value then once this is achieved the chatbot should flourish, grow and everyone's happy
Unlike most revolutionary marketing technologies, which seem to drive a wedge between organisational functions, the inner workings of a chatbot actually benefit from the experience of other stakeholders within the organisation. In the North Face example, the chatbot mimics the conversational pattern of an in-store sales representative, which is a skillset ordinarily far removed from a digital marketing expert’s. Most brand bots are fun but gimmicky, so arguably the most beneficial application of bots is in the service area. One such example, which most people outside of China would never have heard of, is dubbed ‘Xiaomi’. Alibaba’s customer service chatbot served 6.32 million customers on the day of the 11.11 sales in China. She handled the workload equivalent of 52,000 customer service representatives, working 24 hours non-stop, and could be conversed with via voice or text.