Conversational User Interface: A Way to Communicate with Customers that Digital Marketers Cannot Ignore
“Alexa, play some slow jazz . . .”
Sound familiar? Amazon’s conversational user interface – the Amazon Echo – allows us to use a digital device, named “Alexa,” by simply speaking, and Alexa will respond by voice as long as we are within Alexa’s digital earshot. It is an amazing tool that presages what the world is going to be like in the future, where we can simply take care of things through voice commands.
It is hard to ignore the significance of Echo’s “Alexa,” or the Apple iPhone’s “Siri.” They are essentially artificial intelligence (AI) devices, or “robots,” that engage with the user through conversation. In other words, they have conversational user interfaces (CUIs), also called chatbots.
As the top digital marketing agency in South Florida, we at Oamii want to tell you about CUIs or chatbots; and more importantly, we want to tell you how you can effectively use chatbots for marketing purposes. Chatbots are the next trend in digital marketing.
What Is a Chatbot?
Essentially, a chatbot is a computer program that imitates intelligent conversations with humans. The four types of CUIs or chatbots are:
- Text to text – the consumer and chatbot communicate by text
- Speech to text – the consumer speaks and the chatbot responds by text
- Text to speech – the consumer texts and the chatbot responds by voice
- Speech to speech – the consumer speaks and the chatbot speaks back
Today, you will find chatbots largely on messaging platforms, like Facebook Messenger, Skype, and, of course, with speech to speech devices like Alexa and Siri.
How Can I Use a Chatbot for Marketing?
Currently, chatbots are typically used to only provide basic support, answer simple queries, and provide specific company details. Yet, the potential for chatbots can go far beyond that. Indeed, chatbots can usher in a new approach to marketing that focuses on ongoing chatbot conversations with customers.
Customers can have a far more specific, subjective, enhanced experience with a brand, company, or product by being able to converse about it. The marketing also does not go in one direction, such as pre-written information delivered to the customer. Rather, the marketing conversation could be a back-and-forth conversation.
Such a bi-directional conversation will transform how customers, or potential customers, engage with a company and its product. A company does not need to guess as to when a customer wants to know something about its brand. With a chatbot, the conversation can deliver the information to the customer at the right time and in the right context – whenever the customer asks for it.
While the user can initiate chatbot conversations, it would be possible for the chatbot to initiate a conversation as well, provided that you get the necessary prior consent from the user.
An Example of How Chatbot Marketing Could Work
Let’s assume that we are a car dealership, and we want to foster long-term relationships between our customers and our brand. Assume also that our customer just leased a new car from us. Using a chatbot like Facebook Messenger, we can reach out to our new lease customer with a guide on leasing tips and car maintenance. As the car maintenance deadlines approach, the chatbot can proactively remind the customer of necessary oil changes, etc.
As the lease continues, the chatbot can engage the customer on additional features that could be added on, such as satellite radio, or driver protection plans that could be triggered at the time of an accident or emergency. The chatbot can continue to reach out periodically regarding safe driving tips and weather alerts. Ultimately, over time a trust with the chatbot may be earned, and the chatbot may start to gauge the customer’s interest in another vehicle as the lease term comes up.
In sum, the chatbot has maintained a connection and relationship with the customer, to the point where the customer is comfortable asking questions, and getting information from, the chatbot.
A Customer Service Representative That Does Not Need to Take a Lunch
The potential for chatbot marketing is immense. That is because the use of a chatbot is like having an endless supply of customer service assistants available to your customers anywhere, at any time. If your customer has a question, the chatbot will always be ready to provide the needed information. Of course, with each engagement is an opportunity to cultivate stronger brand loyalty.
Of course, chatbots should not go as far as to impersonate a real human being, but they can perfectly convey your brand’s message and personality. If your brand makes an “everyman” kind of product, then the chatbot’s “personality” – way of communicating, level of humor, etc. – can reflect that product. By the same token, a brand that wants to project a sense of sophistication and taste will be able to utilize a chatbot that reflects that kind of approach and sensibility.
South Beach Digital Marketing Agency Professionals Are Available to Leverage Chatbot Technology for Your Company
We at Oamii, the leading South Florida digital marketing agency, know a trend when we see one. The use of a conversational user interface, or chatbots, is definitely a digital marketing opportunity for now, and into the future.
Other marketing tools from old-school advertisements and signage, to email and text message marketing, utilize only single-direction communication, i.e., brand information to the customer. Now, with the conversational user interface or chatbots, we as marketers are able to engage customers in a whole new way.
We can initiate some information sharing, but we could also initiate a conversation that inquires about the specific needs and desires of each and every customer. A great deal of valuable insight into what a customer wants can be gleaned from such an exercise. Moreover, we, in chatbot form, can now be available to our customers whenever the customer has a question or issue. Each communication in that regard also opens up the opportunity for further engagement, more loyalty, and perhaps more sales.
At Oamii, we are a South Florida digital marketing agency and SEO company that wants to get the best value for our clients. The conversational user interface will be a terrific way to deliver that value. Contact us for a consultation online or at 561-228-4111.