How Chabots will continue to grow online communities
Everyone remembers the first time they were fascinated by an online world, an online community where he or she found people like themselves. Topics, discussions and stories that were your own to share. These experiences are what gave the internet character, and everyone involved a sense of online friendship
Whether you found belonging in a forum on Reddit, Habbo Hotel or even World Of Warcraft. You knew it was a place to go to engage in conversations, leave reality and have fun.
Today we are starting to see more online communities than ever. So much, so businesses have decided it is the key to a productive workplace. It has the potential to increase productivity and improve retention.
We must be careful though as these it is not possible to merely pluck them out of thin air. Too many companies now are having conversations like; It’s 2018 we need a community to increase employee retention.
My first experience with an online community at a business level was at Telstra. They tried to ship in their community with an enterprise software called Yammer. Essentially Facebook for business. Gross.
Most mornings I would log in for an irrelevant business-wide news update. Generally, I would find high-level executives gloating about achievements they received as part of their job description. Then every other piece of content from our “Leaders” seemed to be ghostwritten by their PA’s. It felt so unauthentic and unengaging.
We got lost along the way
Corporate goals seem to destroy a sense of community that we find online. We migrate to communities organically and genuinely engage in the conversations we believe are authentic. These places are not someone to gloat about the achievements of one’s self.
Some business communities have created a sense of disconnection, so we must figure out how we can bring that back.
I genuinely believe there could have been some great discussions happening within Telstra’s online community. Although I didn’t know the rules, what topics I could engage in and when I logged in every morning, there was nothing that interested me.
Chatbots are here to help
However, what if there had been someone so courteous to introduce me into this community? Show me around the place, ask what topics interested me? Realistically no one had the time at that Telstra. I can’t say it would’ve been entirely practical either, although a welcome email would have been nice.
A chatbot could work great at a lower level task like introducing people into a new community. Its functionality could act as an interactive directory of sorts. Helping me learn the ropes, discover topics that helped foster thought-provoking conversations.
Primarily this would have helped lower that barrier of entry for me, ignore the gloating C level suits and genuinely find the deepest darkest corner to discuss new technology, company history and Friday lunches.
The future is bright
With the continuing increase in online communities and chatbots, I am sure we will see this marriage come together somewhat naturally.
Communities will continue to grow and become more complex. Chatbots will become smarter with the rise in AI technology allowing them to deliver a more personalised experience. This technology will lead to more in-depth conversations from a variety of audiences.
Your eCommerce employee superstar
Customers yearn for memorable journeys in eCommerce!
memorable journey = shareable experience, greater retention and customer advocacy
They crave a genuine relationship with the brands they choose to buy from. A relationship far beyond just pushing a buy button.
Let’s give it to them.
This blog post will discuss a few things to help you understand why chatbots are a positive move for businesses in eCommerce and how to gain momentum in thinking about the application of one.
We will look at:
– Proven applications of a chatbot from existing businesses.
– Three of the most significant benefits of including a chatbot in your sales or branded journey
– And, current customer perception of this technology.
Before we dive straight into throwing recommendations, possibilities and exciting statistics and success stories let’s first visit why we should consider a chatbot in eCommerce. The application of a chatbot is something that can be applied in various different ways to ultimately improve customer experience. Most notably, a chatbot would help create an exceptional brand image.
Exceptional brand image = Trust
Trust is now more important than ever for all businesses due to global news of brands employing deceiving tactics to profit from users and customers. This is obviously without even touching on the endless competition that continues to come to the market to take your customers. So how can your chatbot help with trust? well, unfortunately, unlike in the past trust isn’t only a result of excellent service anymore. To achieve trust, you must be perceived as being up-to-date and innovative. Let’s take a look at some successful eCommerce bots.
That’s right, there are already successful chatbots.
The Reservation assistant – Sephora
This clever assistant helped Sephora boost their reservation rates by 11% with a simple conversation targeted at their customers.
On-demand purchasing assistant – 1-800-Flowers
1-800-Flowers introduced an ordering chatbot that unknowingly broke into a new market segment boasting an increase in first-time orders by 70%. Sales entirely produced through the bot.
Your pocket barista! – Nitro Café
This smart application of a chatbot gave customers the ability to order coffee just by asking for one through Facebook Messenger and as a result boosted Nitro Café’s sales by 20%.
What benefits does an eCommerce chatbot have?
There are a few applications and skills that a chatbot can possess. At the end of the day, it entirely comes down to what your product or service offering is. The top 3 positive outcomes from an eCommerce chatbot are,
Hyper-personalisation for your customers.
It is important to make the customer feel special. And without a shop assistant personally sitting with the user, this was something that was difficult to achieve. Until now, so what’s possible?
– Upsell and cross-sell products or services based on customer behaviour.
– Provide product recommendations.
– Remind the user of something they may have viewed online or an abandoned cart. (and even complete the payment inside the chat window)
– Deliver tailored ads or promotions based on the users’ purchasing behaviour.
Relieve the tension from areas of your business
This is another important effect of chatbots as this creates a more seamless and positive shopping experience for the customer. As well as improving employee comfortability. So what’s possible?
– Help the user with quick information or assistance
– Provide a method of filtering customers to correct service team members to reduce wait times in call centres.
– Provide product and shipping information.
– Change customer details on the fly. This may include details such as a delivery address or email.
Increase customer engagement
Engagement is something that can be achieved with the elements mentioned above but some other focused methods should be considered. Increasing engagement with your brand is a great start to improving brand trust. Remember how we spoke about trust being an important factor in eCommerce? well, this is how we improve it.
– Send mass announcements. With positive engagement.
(Jay Baer saw a 10X open rate with content, and 5X the engagement with that content, compared to email)
– a/b test the effectiveness of messages to better understand your audience.
– Notifications for things like recently in-stock items or new items that the customer might be interested in.
– Ask for customer feedback on any service or product.
So now, what do consumers think?
The companies MyClever, Drift, Salesforce, and SurveyMonkey Audience set out on a joint project to understand consumer perception of chatbots in comparison to current methods of customer engagement. This study found convincing statistics, most notably that Baby Boomers strongly believe that they will benefit significantly from chatbots in 5 of the 10 use case studies presented. As well as a high interest in the personal benefits of a bot that can service their needs when ever they need.
Showing off a flashy website, app or product isn’t enough. Applying all your branded elements in a seamless shopping experience is the only way to see positive results from new innovative tech such as intelligent chatbots. This is an important insight for anyone considering a chatbot. Your bot needs a purpose and it needs to understand this in order to provide the customer with the best experience. If for some reason the bot cannot help the customer there should always be a method to resolve the problem in another way. Whether that means a service representative contacts them or they are taken to an alternative journey in another touch point that suits that problem or need.
That’s it. A few success stories, insights and possibilities to get momentum and kick-start the design process of your very own eCommerce chatbot.
If you think you could benefit from a clever eCommerce assistant, let’s talk.