The rise of the machines, no I am not talking about the Terminator threequel of the same name Today I am talking about messenger bots which are becoming increasingly more popular in the B2B sector where I live in my day Job
Messenger bots, also known as chatbots, are not exactly new technology but their use is on the rise for a number of reasons. Despite spectacular failures at trying to train AI to act like a teenage girl which went from “humans are cool” to full-on Nazi in shortlived (suicidal) Microsoft experiment Tay (bot) (not the rise of the machines that anyone wanted) consumers and businesses alike are finding them an invaluable tool for giving and getting information and making connections like never before.
What Are Messenger Bots?
Messenger bots are robots which send out pre-prepared messages. They are similar to the autoresponder in your email marketing platform, except they are triggered by certain keywords and phrases into giving what will hopefully be an appropriate matching response to the message that has been sent.
Messenger bots use a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and “natural language processing” to try to determine the meaning and give a suitable reply.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Each company should have a list of FAQs in order to streamline their customer services. Many question keywords can be set in a messenger bot, with matching answers uploaded into the system for a hopefully seamless experience that gives the customer what they need without them having to interact with a human. No system is perfect, but they have gotten to the point where the technology is good enough to match a high percentage at a time. The tech has also reached the point where people are willing to use it.
The Meteoric rise of B2B conversational marketing platform Drift pays testimony to that – or their exceptional marketing.
The New Generations of Consumers
I still remember when people would call a business on the phone. which was replaced by email. And then social media customer service, whereby tweeting your complaint ‘publically on twitter usually yields the swiftest response. But, these methods of communication all heavily rely on human involvement to process the customer request.
And perhaps most importantly all of these also take time. There is no human on the planet who wants to wait on hold for an hour, or wait a day or two for an email reply? People in “question mode” and “buying mode” want their answers about a particular microwave ASAP so they can make a decision one way or the other and buy something quickly. A messenger bot is the best solution to catch the customer when they are really ready to buy.
Younger consumers like the convenience and speed. They are moving away from social media to even more direct connections. They also like to feel as though a company cares and that they “know” each other. Some people just love messaging technology anyway, so it makes sense to them that if you offer it, they will use it.
The Business Benefits of Messenger Bots
The more you can automate your business, the more time you have for other tasks. Messenger bots can help improve efficiency even as you cut down on the number of hours staff have to spend answering customer service queries, for example. This will help save companies money, because you can either hire fewer people, or add more duties to their jobs – tasks which could help you earn more money.
Marketing messenger bots can help you make more money. They can stimulate sales by answering the many questions potential customers might have about a product, and by promoting the product in the first place. For example, whenever you launch a new product, you can message your list of contacts with information about it. The message will be highly visible and therefore a lot less likely to be ignored compared with an email.
Expect to interact more an more AI customer service agents from now… until anything like Tay (bot) sends us all running back to 42 minutes of “Your call is important to us but we are experiencing high volumes of calls at the moment… I say the rise of the machines is a refreshing relief from that!