At the the F8 developers’ congress on 12 April 2016, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that he was regularly using ‘bots’ on Facebook Messenger. According to him, Messenger is now well-sized and can be embedded in a new ecosystem. Besides your friends and family, it can now be used as a platform to have conversations with artificial ‘friends’.
Don’t be misguided by the fun name though. Chatbots are not just friendly software that you ‘chat’ with when you are free. Rather, they have now emerged as smart business solutions. While you might have considered using chatbots for customer service purposes, its applications may can be invaluable for brands on a much larger scale.
In April 2016, Fortune.com had already reported that, “(Facebook’s) Messenger now counts 900 million monthly active users, up from 800 million users announced in January 2016.” The social networking giant had already made thorough plans of making the app a comprehensive service portal that is used for online shopping, transportation, customer service, etc. Brands like KLM Airlines, Uber, and Hyatt Hotels have already started using bots in order to cater better to customers.
On a global scale around 3 billion people turn to chatbots daily, not just on Facebook Messenger, but also on other applications like WhatsApp, Line, WeChat and Kik.
Why you need to invest in chatbot development right now?
- Services that were previously done by people, are now within the grasp of information technology (IT). While that is definitely more convenient and time-saving, it definitely feels a bit rigid to gather information from websites and avail services from apps. Getting a dedicated bot can be viewed as a way of ‘friending’ your brand and giving it a human touch, all the while retaining the convenience and efficiency provided by IT.
- The way consumers interact with chatbots and give them instructions to get things done, brings to mind the boss-assistant relationship. Having an assistant who is ready to serve you at always and is courteous and discreet in manners definitely feels nice. Thus, consumers are readily adapting the ‘bot-culture’.
- Conversations are a phenomenon that occurs daily. Conversational commerce shows that a lot of trade depends on conversations. Usually people are ready to continue to chat if it the conversation is crucial for sealing a deal. That is where chatbots can help. Such micro moments are much important for the strategy of organizations.
- The same principle of conversational commerce can be applied to the conversations that take place in the workplace. Very soon a bot may even serve as a colleague or a boss.
It is a fact that new technologies typically take a bit of time to take off. However, when it does take off, it usually has a much faster growth rate than initially expected. Chatbot is the latest technological breakthrough that is revolutionising the way brands connect with their customers and its popularity is spreading faster than a wildfire. Why? Because it solves problems for millennials in a much friendlier way, millennials who are highly accustomed to chatting by now.
Moreover, Facebook, Microsoft and Google’s recent contributions into this space is making more and more brands invest in chatbot services. In case, you still haven’t given chatbot development a serious thought, now would be a good time to do so because very soon the popular saying, ‘there is an app for that’ may be replaced with, ‘there is a bot for that’.