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How to Integrate the Latest Chatbot Trends into Your Business

Often waved away as just a fad, it’s clear that chatbots aren’t going anywhere. Brands and consumers have both embraced the technology, which makes it easier than ever to access information and execute tasks from a single environment. But now that we’ve spent some time talking to bots, what’s the state of chatbot usage today?

Ever since chatbots became popularized a couple years ago, businesses have enjoyed multiple benefits from their new digital assistants. Benefits of chatbots include:

Bots are also faster, cheaper and easier to maintain than an app, making them attractive to smaller and larger businesses alike.

Are you intrigued by chatbots’ potential? If so, a good place to begin designing is by assessing the latest chatbot trends — and the innovating businesses that make the best use of them. We’ve collected a handful of leading chatbot usage examples for botmakers to learn from.

Getting Down with Group-Friendly Chatbot Usage

As users spend more and more time in messaging apps, group chats are becoming the new social feeds. And these group chats provide rich potential for chatbots: chatbot trends in this space include ones that provide music, videos, gifs or games that friends can play together. Group messaging bots include those that can be invited into a group chat, or in-line bots that can be called upon on-the-fly when users send a message.

A solid example of chatbot usage in group chats is the Spotify bot for Facebook Messenger. This bot allows users to share songs with friends and even build playlists together. It’s a great example of marrying the core Spotify experience (music discovery) with the medium (collaboration between friends) — which is exactly the formula you should aim for when developing a bot for group use.

Chatbot Growth Is Leading to Enriched UI Elements

The days of simplified, plaintext chatbots are behind us. With chatbot development growing by leaps and bounds, chatbots are providing richer experiences with embedded media and HTML5 web views. The most sophisticated bots can even replicate full, app-like experiences to the user without leaving the conversation.

Simple media elements you might want to tap into include gifs and audio — even emoji. Carousel views (such as those offered by Facebook Messenger and LINE) enrich the browsing experience by giving the user a stack of photos to sift through.

By far the most beautiful example of feature-rich chatbot UI is Swelly. The bot is available on multiple platforms, and uses webviews, photo-heavy messages and response buttons to replicate the app. It’s essentially a 1:1 conversion of the app into a conversatonal UI, making it a great benchmark for anyone who wants to pursue a more sophisticated UX in their chatbot development.

The Surprising Chatbot Development: Less Chatty, More Structured

It’s a general rule that a chatbot should be, well, chatty. But while small talk with an eccentric bot can be entertaining, it’s not always necessary — and it can sometimes slow down conversations or confuse users. Among the more surprising chatbot trends, then, is the shift to a more structured, focused and curt tone.

Users consult utility-focused bots — those not meant to entertain — to get something done fast. They don’t have time to answer “How are you today?” to a fictional character siting in their chat app. In some cases, the user might be scared off because they don’t know how to accomplish their goal with an overly-talkative bot. I want to stress that this isn’t the case for every bot, but if yours is productivity-focused, you’ll want to heed this chatbot market forecast finding.

CNN’s Facebook Messenger bot does a great job of keeping conversation short and sweet; aside from setting up your preferences, you won’t really talk to it at all. But that doesn’t keep it from accomplishing its goal (delivering personalized content) each day.

Combining Established Channels for a Unified Experience

Now that businesses and consumers alike are getting a little more savvy about chatbot usage, bots are becoming more than one-trick ponies. Today, the best chatbots combine multiple channels — live support, product discovery, RSS and more — into a single, unified conversation.

This is beneficial to both parties. Imagine a customer has a problem with their internet service: the speed is too slow. Upon talking to their ISP’s chatbot, they learn that other packages are available with faster speeds. The bot can then recommend specific packages to the user, signing them up then and there. Because the chatbot will have a history of past interactions with the user, it might offer perks at a discounted rate as well.

In the above example, the user solves a problem, receives personalized solutions and makes a purchase all in a single place. The business benefits by allowing the user to make an informed purchase as easily as possible, aiming for customer satisfaction in the process.

Bottom Line: Keeping Up with Chatbot Trends

With these tips, you should have no problem keeping your chatbot current and your customers satisfied. There’s still a lot of room for chatbot growth, and it’s important to keep your bot and brand looking towards the future. Digital growth is mostly coming from messaging apps, so it’s important to remain cognizant of the chatbot market forecast and new developments in the platforms.

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