Intead of Bots, in these months I used many times a lot of Chat Customer Services on some companies web sites and on Messenger. As all the studies say, communicating with a company through our favourite instant messaging app is smarter than downloading any branded app or using the old-fashioned email. My experience was great and these companies increased loyalty and my admiration.
Using Whatsapp, Messenger, Telgram or WeChat for companies is a great challenge for many technical and communicational factors:
Technical, because CRMs should access to IM platforms for identifying users and managing the requests trafic.
Communicational, because some contents should be always and easily available for customers instead of lose in the chat’s flow.
As a Product Manager I focused on the second problem and, starting from a Whatsapp-like layout, I designed the “Featured contents” function. The scope of this function is to enrich the discussion between the customer and the company saving the requested contents in a reserved area of the app.
Watch the “Featured contents” gif animation for understanding how it function in the direct relationship between a Hotel and its customer.
The assumptions from where I started my reasearch are:
Users don’t want conversations. Users want pertinent and timely contents within the app that they use most.
Chatbots have the reason to exist because users don’t like to download lot of apps and because mobile sites are slow or difficult to navigate.
Chatbots are a communication channel with an interaction pattern in a sort of way similar to the natural language. They aren’t virtual sales agents.
Chatbots have the difficult mission to bring together contents and services within messaging apps.
The best chatbots performances aren’t based on conversations. Interacting with them requires new functions and a standardized command language.
So I can say that Chatbots are an important technology because:
they represent a way for engaging users within their favorite apps
they can replace apps and websites for simple and recurrent tasks
they are the only direct marketing channel comparable with the email
they revolutionize the smartphone’s push communication marketing
they are the entrance point for advanced data building programs
users interest in downloading branded apps is decreasing
mobile navigation sometimes is frustrating
users are accustomed in making Google searches in a conversational way
But this importance bring with it some threats:
chatbots can’t really understand natural language
chatbots can’t replace the all the other apps functions
chatbots could decrease the users curiosity and research capacity
chatbots will struggle for visibility
chatbots can’t wrong a lot of answers and they can’t ask too much questions
chatbots must care a lot about language, style, frequency and relevancy of their push contents
chatbots aren’t a branded channel
Chatbots are the future of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Direct Marketing for the following reasons:
because they deliver profiled offers and contents, receiving immediate feedbacks
because they are an effective support for the human-based customer care
because they will build accurate customers profiles analyzing the interactions and asking for information, ratings etc
Thinking about all these incredible opportunities, I examined the standard instant messaging apps user experience and I realized that Chatbots should have a dedicated set of functions that designed as following.
At this point I tried to go practical matching my Chatbots functions and experience with some generalistic companies.