According to research from Forrester, 5% of global companies used chatbots in 2016 and 32% were planning to use or test them in 2017. So what will happen in 2018? With the rise of “conversational commerce”, the intersection of messaging apps and shopping, chatbots can only grow in importance. SEM, SEO and social media platforms are perhaps no longer enough to build an innovative digital communications strategy, which is why Datawords has been giving recommendations on the proper implementation of chatbots on an international scale.
Chatbots & NLP
Chatbots use artificial intelligence to mimic conversations with customers. By having access to a wide range of data, these smart robots can give accurate responses to customers’ concerns and questions. They interpret sentences rather than answering commands while improving with each interaction.
But the key to chatbots, and how they may impact digital strategy on a global scale is Natural Language Processing (NLP). NLP is a field of computer science, concerned with programming computers to successfully process large natural language data. The goal of localising NLP would be to adapt conversation to the characteristics of each language. The beauty of these bots relies on the usage of subtleties connected to each language to eliminate as much as possible any impression that a robot is speaking (turn of phrase, local relevancy etc.)
Today, the majority of brands and agencies have created bots in English for a novelty effect and, in doing so, they are replacing or complementing their customer service and sales teams. Very few have actually anticipated the localisations that will have to take place. The challenge for these brands goes beyond creating a chatbot because, in reality, this is also the first step towards creating an NLP library that will also allow the development of voice assistant tools, for example.
The benefits of chatbots for brands
The interaction between the customer and an autonomous decision-making robot helps develop a unique and playful way to interact directly with customers. This is a key innovative solution that reinvents the relationship between the client and the seller, as it demonstrates a customisation process, and it improves user experience and customer care. As a result, this allows the seller to save relevant information about the user and increases flexibility for the businesses’ brand identity.
Launched during New York Fashion Week 2016, Burberry’s chatbot on Facebook Messenger allowed customers to follow the brand behind the scenes of their festive film, explore their new Gift Finder and start a Live Chat Session just by typing “Get Started”. In another industry, Lufthansa also implemented a bot on Facebook Messenger called Mildred, which helps passengers search for the cheapest flights within the next nine months.
Another example would be the engaging, unique and entertaining weather bot Poncho, which sends out funny and personalised weather forecasts and horoscopes through Facebook Messenger, Kik and Viber.
What about tomorrow?
Whether they are short-lived or long-lasting bots, Chatbots are spreading and transforming customer experience—especially in e-commerce. In addition, brands betting on chatbots should capitalise on the momentum that messaging apps are gaining. Today, these count 5 billion active users but above all, it’s been confirmed that internet users now use messaging apps more than social networks. This is not a surprise: they are usually free, intuitive and easy-to-use; it’s a win-win both for customers and brands. All of these facts suggest that chatbots will be considerably developed in the near future, as they are pushing innovation in global communications strategy.
But the key, as always, will be to allow them to sustain and support your growth, rather than hinder it. And how do you ensure that? Make sure your chatbots communicate the right way to all of your local consumers. That’s where Datawords comes in.