In recent years, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has enabled great innovations in several areas. Marketing is no exception. With the development of chatbots since 2017, conversational marketing continues to progress in terms of customer relations. These chatbots have become a major asset for any business.

Their fields of application are very vast since they can be used for e-commerce, the banking sector, human resources, and the hotel industry.

The uses are therefore quite varied and the media are also varied because these bots can be integrated into instant messaging applications or even your website and allow you to pick up your consumers where they are.

According to a report by the Capgemini Research Institute, of the top 100 companies in the banking and insurance sector, 49% have already implemented chatbots, 23% in the consumer goods sector and 15% in the automotive sector.

Within three years, 70% of consumers will replace their visits to the dealership, store or bank with such an assistant.

Between outbound, conversational and marketing automation , the use of the chatbot is becoming an essential marketing tool.

What is a Chatbot

Contraction between cat and bot (from the word robot), chatbots are conversational agents allowing to simulate an interaction with a human.

In its application to marketing, the chatbot can be easily integrated into applications such as Messenger, Slack, WhatsApp, or even work by email, SMS, or even directly on a website.

Several kinds of chatbots currently exist:

Linear chatbots

For which a script is written in advance and whose responses are limited to predefined steps.

Non-linear chatbots

Can process natural language, but have a limited number of steps. These more limited types of chatbots are simple to develop, but quickly reach a certain limit from a customer perspective. However, they have the advantage of guaranteeing a certain control over the bot, which therefore sticks to the script, without taking any liberties.

Contextual chatbots

As for them, they are the most interesting since they rely on machine learning and therefore learn through their exchanges with humans, which leads them to evolve over time.

A lot of companies use chatbots instead of marketing software. In addition to being excellent marketing assets, chatbots allow multiple uses, including in the medical field, with bots used for example to detect mental pathologies or to support insomniacs.

Ultimate proof of the success of these little robots, there are already many botstores, like BotList for example.

But to come back to an entrepreneurial use of chatbots, you should know that these conversational agents have the ability to automate your customer service or your FAQ, but also to increase your conversion rate.

What are the benefits for your business?

There are many benefits of implementing a chatbot, both from a business and consumer perspective.

Unlike a team of humans at the end of a call center, the bot is available day and night, at any time, knows neither nervousness nor fatigue.

No more endless waiting on the phone for customers who are answered immediately, at any time. In short, effective CRM management.

Customer loyalty and brand image

In general, conversational marketing responds to consumers' need for speed, while improving the customer relationship, because it allows real-time service.

What is true for your customers is also true for you, because a satisfied customer is a returning customer... The performance of the chatbot therefore translates into a better image of your brand, thus perceived as efficient and responding effectively to its needs.

This type of interaction, when it goes well, has the effect of building customer loyalty.

Better consumer-business knowledge

This exchange is therefore very fruitful for both parties. Indeed, companies and consumers gain a better understanding of each other.

According to a report by the Capgemini Research Institute, nearly 58% of companies that have used a bot believe that the benefits generated by its use have “met or exceeded their expectations”.

In addition, a good use of its bot leads to a certain proximity with the user, which has positive consequences on the image, but also potentially on the behavior of the customers.

The latter rarely have the opportunity to speak directly to companies, that is what has now been done.

But that's not all! A chatbot can also become a very valuable source of information when it comes to improving the products or services you offer.

Outbound marketing: reach the prospect where he is

In addition, thanks to this outbound marketing approach, your brand is present where your prospect is, which facilitates interactions.

This also allows you to reach the customer at any time, in his own environment, unlike applications sometimes considered outdated when we know that a mobile user uses on average only two or three applications and that there are has a drop in push notification acceptance rate.

According to some specialists, chatbots would gradually replace mobile applications. The costs of developing an application for a company being much higher than setting up a chatbot, everyone wins.

For the user, it simplifies things as well. No more need to use extra storage space by installing apps and everything it needs is in one place chatting with brands, messengers.

It is also easier to send a notification directly through the chat than to use an application where it is difficult to mobilize the consumer.

From a practical point of view, this process also has the advantage of allowing both parties to keep track of the discussion and thus ensure better follow-up of requests.

KLM is an example of success with BB (Blue Bot), its bot equipped with artificial intelligence and used to manage reservations, ask any questions and proceed with check-in.

Integrated on Facebook Messenger and the Google Assistant, BB enabled the handling of 15,000 customer service cases per week.

On the BB site, KLM emphasizes human assistance when needed, which potentially reassures users.

Some drawbacks

While the benefits of using chatbots are undeniable, there are a few downsides to doing so.

Improper use of a chatbot can be fatal for an organization. By not serving the user properly, the latter may show dissatisfaction and this may damage the image of the company.

machine-learning

Artificial Intelligence improves and learns over conversations, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. Indeed, this aspect is actually a double-edged sword.

In some cases, the algorithm can be influenced by bad conversations, which can take a completely negative turn.

This is what happened in 2016 to Microsoft, with its artificial intelligence  Tay. The latter went off the rails shortly after its launch, and after a day, it began to make racist and misogynistic remarks.

This obviously damaged Microsoft's image and forced it to take this AI offline.

This eloquent example shows how artificial intelligence can be hijacked if it is not well controlled.

Collection of personal data

Chatbots can also collect and use data collected during conversations with its users.

According to the  Capgemini Research Institute report , nearly half of voice assistant and chat users are willing to hand over their data for greater personalization, but a large majority are concerned about the security of their personal data. .

We must therefore strive to demonstrate transparency and guarantee a certain degree of security. Within the European Union, the GDPR law guarantees the protection of personal data.

You must therefore make sure to respect it and be careful with how to collect and use this data, which must be discussed with your chatbot provider.

Humanization of the bot and robotization of tasks

Customers are more affected by a chatbot that is closer to a human being. According to Forbes magazine  , the purchase rate is reduced by 79.7% if the user realizes that behind the cat is actually a robot, because it is perceived to be less emphatic and less knowledgeable.

To succeed in this approach, you must therefore give your bot a bit of humor, irony and a context of understanding to make it as “human” as possible. Some specialists even wonder if chatbots should have their own personality.

Just like advances in AI, machine learning and advances in technology are gradually driving the replacement of humans by robots. Marketing is no exception to this rule either.

By automating certain tasks, some jobs may be lost over time. Telephone call centers are one of those working environments that will radically evolve or disappear.

The most optimistic will say, however, that these professions are set to change and that robots are simply supporting the work of humans who can then concentrate on other tasks. That they actually help out the team of humans by filtering out some customer queries, which actually saves time.

Conclusion

The implementation of conversational marketing is becoming an essential technique for getting closer to customers.

Thanks to the implementation of a conversational robot, it is possible to increase the conversion rate, to retain customers by picking them up in their environment, on messaging platforms. This is a major advantage compared to expensive and less used applications.

In summary, if used well, chatbots can represent a serious opportunity for your business.