How Chatbots Can Enhance Your Customer’s Purchase Journey
In a previous article, I explained the importance of understanding the conversion funnel and one of the most important conditions for conversion is the availability of personalised 1-1 communication. Today, we discuss one of the hottest trends in personalised communication – Chatbots.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Kester Poh, the CEO of AiChat, a Chatbot-as-a-service platform that empowers companies to easily deliver content, automate replies, and engage customers via Facebook Messenger.
TCG: Can you briefly explain what a Chatbot is?
Kester: A Chatbot is a smart agent often powered by artificial intelligence, people interact with a Chatbot through a messaging interface. In essence, it is a “light-weight” mobile solution for a myriad of applications.
TCG: How is it different from LIVE Chat widgets?
Kester: On a basic level, it fulfils the same function. However, LIVE Chat widgets require a human being to be present at all times, whereas Chatbots can be programmed to automatically answer frequently asked questions and help direct the more complicated questions to the right department within a company, plus other functions. Similar to a human being, you can train a Chatbot continuously so it can perform better as time goes by.
TCG: So, can Chatbots eventually replace human customer service?
Kester: Not at all, as smart as the Chatbots can be, you’ll still need a human touch. There are also situations which only a human customer service officer can handle. It’s about doing the same old human tasks at super-human scale. At the end of the day, Chatbots are meant to help us work more efficiently and intelligently, and not replace us.
TCG: What are some practical implementations for businesses?
Kester: Some examples are:
1. Answering quick questions based on your FAQs
2. Subscription-based broadcasting for promotions and product launches, etc
3. Appointment booking
4. Direct sales channel
5. Engage consumers through conversational quizzes/questions
6. Allow brands to understand and profile their customers better
7. Nurture leads
TCG: With regard to a customer’s journey, how do you think a Chatbot can help to improve conversions?
Kester: Regardless of what you are selling, time is always of the essence. To elaborate, a lot of consumers these days (especially millennials) want their answers fast and by fast, I mean instantaneous! At the same time, they may not want to pick up the phone to call. We have learnt that if brands can answer the consumer’s questions instantly, it can significantly improve conversions. That said, Chatbots still need to be trained to become better in answering customer enquiries. It’s an on-going process and not a one-off solution.
And on the subject of lead generation, something simple which brands can look to implement are conversational forms in place of online application forms. With a Chatbot, the experience will be much more intuitive; leading to higher conversion rates. In the same light, brands can also use Chatbot to run online giveaways/sweepstakes.
TCG: Can you briefly explain what are the processes involved in training Chatbots?
Kester: Firstly, we’ll need to collect existing chat conversations with your consumers and through various AI Engines, highlight to the bot what are the intentions of the consumer and teach the bot to execute the correct action. For this to work well, you’ll need a huge dataset to cover all types of scenarios.
TCG: What if a brand is totally new with no prior data to tap on?
Kester: My take is, the brand should get started on collecting information, and as mentioned earlier, Chatbot implementation is an on-going process. It won’t be perfect at first, but it is fine because it’ll get smarter over time.
TCG: So AiChat is only for Facebook Messenger?
Kester: Currently yes, because Facebook Messanger provides a rich and interactive conversational interface. We also looking into WeChat, Slack and Skype in near future. Moreover, most brands are already actively engaging on Facebook. Logically, the next step for them (if they intend to move into the chatbot space) would be to build up Chatbot capabilities via Facebook messenger.
TCG: What is the one reason that compelled you to start AiChat?
Kester: One of the main reasons that compelled me to start AiChat was the successful phenomenon of WeChat (video below). I was impressed with how WeChat has evolved from a simple messaging app to an all-in-one app where people can do just about anything; It is your Facebook, Tinder, Uber, Lazada and much more all rolled into one app.
TCG: Can you share with us some of AiChat’s successful case studies?
Kester: We recently launched a Chatbot for SITEX. Previously, they had built a mobile app but this time round, they decided to use a Chatbot instead to fulfil the same purpose (at a fraction of the cost). The Chatbot will provide information such as how to get to the exhibition, the latest news and updates and also great offers available at Sitex.
Another success case study is Askvoila, a conversational commerce Chatbot. We have sales conversion as high as 7%, i.e. 2-3 times more than typical e-commerce conversions.
TCG: What do you think is the future for Chatbots?
Kester: I predict that Chatbots will eventually become very integrated into our lives, very much like a personal concierge. Upon stepping out of your house, it can get your Uber ready, book a restaurant and buy your movie tickets, remind you of your appointments and important dates plus many more functions. Think of it like a chat version of JARVIS (Ironman).
If you are interested to find out more about AiChat, visit http://m.me/aichatco to chat with them.