Messaging is one of the core ways customers interact with local brick-and-mortar businesses. Yet this key part of the customer experience often leads to frustration, and automation, which is supposed to boost convenience, sometimes leaves customers feeling underserved.
The use of chatbots for retail customer service has been on the rise for years. According to a report by Drift, use of chatbots as a brand communication channel increased by 92% between 2019 and 2020. Nearly one quarter of consumers used chatbots to communicate with a business last year. But how many of those interactions were positive, and how many customers left those interactions feeling like their issues were resolved?
Communicating with brands on social media has become the norm for consumers. Surveys show that roughly half of all consumers who engage with brands on social media are reaching out about customer care concerns, and more than 65% of social media users across all platforms expect brands to respond, regardless of whether the initial outreach was via private messages or public posts.
Those expectations have only heightened over the past six months, and many brands have had to pivot their customer support and engagement priorities on the fly.
Chatbots could help fill the gap in business-to-customer communication capacity during the Covid-19 outbreak. Although there will always be a need for human customer service agents, even when chatbots with AI are deployed, the coronavirus outbreak is demonstrating just how valuable this automated technology can be for brands working in a time of crisis. Already, chatbot companies like LivePerson say they’re seeing significant increases in volume on their platforms. As the pandemic widens, even more companies are likely to start integrating chatbots into their customer service systems.
Here are six chatbot solutions that brands can start using right away.
A freshly released report from SMB software firm Broadly uses data from a survey of 300 SMB leaders to paint a picture of the American SMB in 2019: gradually embracing mobile-first communication, skeptical of innovation that undercuts human connection, and ambivalent toward large digital marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy.
Street Fight recently caught up with Sarah Townes, Mall of America’s marketing VP, to discuss the evolution of physical retail, where she’s placing her tech bets, and how location fits into the mix.
Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, vendors are finding ways to streamline some of the most complex operations—such as estimating the number of attendees and anticipating how many products each attendee will need—in live event organizing.
Rapid changes in the way people communicate aren’t just impacting personal relationships, they’re also hitting the retail market as consumer preferences evolve. In a new report released just this morning, the post-purchase solutions provider Narvar uncovers generational differences in how consumers prefer interacting with retailers.
Chatbots are transforming the customer experience and quickly moving into new sectors — but before marketers can expect conversation-mimicking software and artificial intelligence to replace live customer service representatives, they’ll need to find ways to overcome some consumer obstacles.
“Facebook has long been a force in post-sale retention and Messenger can really play a huge part as a CRM tool,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm. “I see it as the “real” social network… the one where folks communicate with those closest to them.”
Although automated messaging has been around for years, today’s chatbots combine machine learning with artificial intelligence to create enhanced user experiences. Chatbots are also giving brands a chance to flex their creative muscles, utilizing technology in innovative ways.
At Street Fight Summit we raised a little controversy around the potential disruptiveness of voice search to the hyperlocal economy. Street Fight believes voice search is a critical emerging technology, a view that seemingly contrasts with that of many companies on the supply side of hyperlocal.
A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Google Begins Mobile-First Indexing, Using Mobile Content For All Search Rankings… Apple News Drives Significant Traffic for Some Publishers, But Measurement Remains Iffy… The Economist Turns to LinkedIn over Pinterest and Tumblr…
With chatbot technology, communications between local businesses and their customers via flok can now evolve into more complex conversations. These conversations yield better data for the business owner and more detailed information as well as a more engaging customer service experience for the consumer.
The trillion dollar question is if this emerging chatbot technology will annihilate the phone call. Though I’m bullish on messaging and chatbots, the answer to that question is likely no.
The pieces are in place for Messenger to become a major new marketing platform. Indeed, the various (mostly mobile) use cases range from customer service to e-commerce. So far, none of my experiences has been great. But there’s huge potential over time.
Bots could displace apps just as apps displaced search. “Search started with consumers typing into a box,” Pingup’s Ron Braunfeld said recently. “[AI] is all about knowing where you are, time of day, what’s in your refrigerator; and giving you the right information without having to search.”