Digital Marketing

Chatbots and Online Chat Services: Are they the Future of Communicating with Brands?

Are chatbots slowly changing the face of customer service?

According to a recent survey the new-age customers are getting more & more comfortable conversing with chatbots.

It’s the era of conversational marketing, and it becomes mandatory for businesses of all sizes to provide customers with the best customer experience possible. Brands that fail to optimize their customer service find that their customers are abandoning them.

The 2019 State of Conversational Marketing report published by Drift and SurveyMonkey shows that there is a major shift in consumer expectations when it comes to the way they communicate with brands.

What is Conversational Marketing?

As the term implies, it’s a feedback-oriented marketing approach to boost engagement rates, build customer loyalty, increase the customer base and ultimately, increase profits. It’s based on the idea that you have to listen to your customer’s needs to provide them with tailored service. It involves one-to-one communication with existing customers and potential customers.

Conversational marketing has grown thanks to the increasing influence of social media channels and automated chatbots rapidly. More and more companies are leveraging the benefits of conversational marketing to reach to their customers.

The recent survey by Drift and SurveyMonkey reveals that one of the top priorities of online customers is the ability to quickly reach out to the brand, to solve customer issues.

Why Do Marketers and Brands need to Embrace Conversational Marketing?

Brands that are hesitant to include chatbots and 24 x 7 online chat services will find themselves failing to meet the demands of today’s customers. The survey mentioned above revealed that nearly 1 in 2 customers (44%) expected a response from the customer service team within five seconds for face-to-face interactions. When it comes to chatbots, 42% of respondents indicated that they expected a response in five seconds.

With that said, the report reveals that though the number of automated chatbots and online chat windows has increased significantly, these communication channels are still not consumer’s top picks. The report shows that email (65%) and phone calls (55%) are still the top two communication channels used by customers to connect with brands.

1 in 3 respondents reported that they had used an online chat service over the last twelve months to communicate with a brand. As more and more chat services open up and chatbot technology advances, the number of people who use chatbots to communicate with brands is expected to grow this year.

One of the major customer service issues reported by respondents was the lack of pertinent information on websites. Customers were frustrated as they couldn’t find the right answers quickly on the website of brands.

You can overcome this issue by providing customer service representatives (via phone, online chat) with access to real-time customer data, so that they can resolve customer requests quickly, boosting the overall customer experience. Identifying and implementing the right tools to execute this will enhance the efficiency of your customer interactions.

Other Key Findings of the Survey

  • 14% of respondents indicated that they prefer using a chatbot rather than submitting their request/complaint via a webform.
  • Customers were frustrated when brands didn’t provide 24 x 7 customer service. Today’s customers demand information quickly and easily from brands.
  • Finally, the survey revealed that customers prefer communicating with a live person, irrespective of the channel. They believed that live customer service representatives offer a better customer experience when compared to chatbots.

Key Takeaways

Adopting the right communication channel is one of the key decisions you’ll have to make to boost your brand image. And, as customer preferences shift to quick, one-on-one communications, it’s time to include chatbots and online chat services to the mix of customer service channels you provide.

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