Building relationships with social media can be hard, but don’t worry chatbots are coming.
Since Facebook has become mainstream, marketers have waved social media as the way to connect with customers. But let’s face it, social media are not designed to let brands build great relationship with their customers.
They’re great at whitespace recruitment, managing communities and communicating product/company announcement. But they’re not the home of personal connections between brands and people.
- It’s overcrowded: every brand in the world is there to catch the attention of users who are in a constant state of information overload. It’s hard to stand out, and it’s hard to keep your customer engaged with your content.
- It’s impersonal: Facebook has done an amazing job with their targeting tools. But in no way are social media messages/ads/campaigns personal — they’re targeted.
- You have to decide between scalability and privacy: establishing a relationship requires some privacy, which you don’t have by design on most social media. You can use DM but then you lose the reach potential of this channel.
- Customer service is hard: enterprise back-ends are poorly connected with social media. Every time a customer requests assistance for complex issues on Facebook or Twitter you have to redirect them towards your customer support service instead of providing him with what he/she wants: an answer right away.
Chatbot: a game-changer
Chatbots are taking over the messaging space. 63% of smartphone users already declare to be ready to use chatbots to connect with brands and companies.
How will chatbots help you re-engage meaningfully your customers on social media?
- Recreate a direct & personal relationship with each of your users: chatbots live where your customers spend the most time on their smartphone: messaging apps (Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram…). They are used to expressing personal matter on this channel and chatbots have proven to be great at letting people express themselves openly. Chatbots represent a unique opportunity for brands to escape the overly used social media space by establishing conversations where users can comfortably express themselves and to learn about their customers.
- 1-to-1 and customized interactions at scale: the essence of a chatbot is to automate conversations and therefore to allow companies to scale their interactions with customers. Build your chatbots to work hand in hand with your Community Managers to leverage their action on a large audience.
- Integrate seamlessly customer support with your services: well-designed chatbots give your users a new way to experience your brand, but they are also a way for companies to give a unprecedented level of customer service: by letting them choose the channel they prefer to receive help and by being able to provide it 24/7.
How to achieve it ?
A lot of chatbots we’ve seen in 2017 have been deceiving as they don’t allow users to interact freely with them but force them to follow a rigid decision-tree logic or use reply buttons. Those “dumb” bots create an expectation gap between the desire of conversation emanating from users and what they do get from chatbots.
At Botfuel, we believe chatbots need to be highly conversational to build relationships with customers. Having memory of past interactions, understanding the context, handle digressions and corrections are key features chatbots must integrate to be “smart” bots. Moving away from the simple bots of 2016/2017 is inevitable and companies shouldn’t be afraid by their growing complexity.