Let the buzzword marketing cycle begin.
Every few months, a “new” marketing style or trend seems to flood the talk holes of so-called gurus, ninjas, and mavens.
The fun part about these marketing cycles is how excited everyone gets about a new way to ‘sort of’ cheat the system with a program or theory they know next to nothing about and then spend zero time researching.
Remember when marketing automation became all the rage?
Everyone in marketing and sales was yelling about why they needed it immediately and how it was going to make everyone's jobs easier.
Turns out we’re a good five years in and brands are finally starting to figure out that you can't just blast people all over the face with a ton of emails without having some sort of back-end development, viable CRM strategies, and correct personalization.
I mean, damn, that was the main point of it to begin with!
Welcome to what we can only assume will be the death of the chatbot.
Like marketing automation, there’s a massive building curve and monitoring process involved when making a bot productive, personable, and useful. Just because you have one doesn't mean you actually need one. If you already have one and are trying to figure out what it should solve or accomplish, you’re already part of the problem.
One of the larger talking points you’ve been hearing over and over lately is how a chatbot will not only change - but improve - your customer service. It will take the mundane questions away from your help desk so they can focus on more involved or intense issues.
Not only that, but the millennials and Gen Z’ers - essentially the entire audience that talking heads say you should focus on no matter what your target demographic is - are more receptive to using a bot when having a customer service issue or question.
Sounds phenomenal right?
Well here’s the problem: Most of these brand won’t even consider doing a customer service audit before implementing a new system that deals directly with the customer.
While having a useful chatbot will obviously build word of mouth, brand awareness, customer loyalty, and increase productivity, it needs to be very customer-centric.
As much as you want to beat your chest about how your brand might be failing without you, it would look like the Springfield tire fire without your customers.
So let’s start there.
Don’t just focus on the consumer pain points, but other attributes of service that need to be addressed as well. A chatbot might not be the best way to approach some of your customer concerns so keep that in mind when mapping their CS journey.
It’s important to look at your resolution time and percentage of issues that get escalated vs. ones that are solved rather quickly.
Another important aspect to remember is that a large percentage of people are going to hate your chatbot right from the very beginning. Customers don’t know exactly what they’re using or doing, and boy, isn't that fun when you’re already contacting a company because you’re furious about something?
You know how you try to call a business and you end up with an automated system so you throw your phone against the wall and it explodes all over the place looking like the ship from the original Independence Day just blew the crap out of it? Next thing you know, you end up having to get a new one on your cousin's plan because you don't want to pay the outrageous insurance fee and have to make the call all over again the next day.
Maybe you just get frustrated and try to hit “0” as many times as you can.
Either way, no one likes to feel neglected right from the beginning and that's what automated systems have done to the consumer.
If your customer service is bad, your bot is just going to make it suck more efficiently and on a much larger customer base.
Chatbots are being built all the time and the main thing to keep in mind is: How will this help someone the fastest way possible with a high resolution rate and leave the customer satisfied enough to tell others?
These things aren't hard to accomplish and can exponentially grow your brand advocacy from just a few steps in the right direction.
Do what YOU know is right for your customers and not what someone says works for them.