chatbot | 6 MIN READ
It has been yet another remarkable year for marketing automation.
And yet another year where businesses increasingly relied on chatbot marketing and AI to communicate with their customers in real-time.
The spotlight is still shining on chatbots and how.
It is predicted that consumer retail spending via chatbots will reach $142 billion in 2024. It was just $2.8 billion in 2019.
56% of companies believe that conversational bots are driving disruption in their industry.
Gartner also predicts that 50% of enterprises will spend more on bots than they will on conventional mobile app development.
It proves that chatbots are not done evolving.
While they have come a long way in aiding businesses with streamlining customer communications, they have also given rise to new expectations.
The way bots were perceived a few years back is very different from how they’re perceived right now.
Their characteristics are backed by more powerful technologies that have paved the way for advanced bot-to-human interactions. It is even evident in the latest feature toolkits and chatbot pricing modules.
This goes on to show that the chatbot market is incredibly dynamic and subjected to constantly transformative chatbot marketing trends.
Now, if you are wondering — what are these trends, really?
You’re about to find out.
Top Chatbot Marketing Trends for 2023
1. Personalization with AI Chatbots
Personalization is a major differentiating factor between the chatbots of today and yesterday. Chatbot marketing is now leveraging developments in machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence. This allows them to be more humane in their conversations and have smooth unscripted conversations with users in real-time.
And while personalization has been long happening with chatbots, their integration with contact database tools is taking it a notch higher. Your chatbots can now track buyers’ journeys with such integrations and have accurate conversations with them. By doing so, you can expect to increase your website-to-chat conversion rate by 6x!
IP enrichment tools like Clearbit and Zoominfo have a built-in company algorithm that quickly recognizes the company IP address the visitor is coming from. They figure out from what account the visitor is visiting, the company’s profile such as the industry size, personas, funding, and revenue.
You can build the buyer profile using just the email address and customize visitor experiences based on their background. These tools also have tags for what type the company business model like SaaS, marketplace, advertisement design etc. So if an employee or the owner from a healthcare industry visits your site, you can send a tailor-made message meant specially for healthcare visitors.
2. Nurture Leads Via WhatsApp
Are outbound leads a new concept?
But outbound bots?
Yes, most definitely.
Outbound bots are a chatbot marketing technique through which businesses utilize the most frequently used messaging channels like WhatsApp to increase business outreach with automated messaging.
Think of all the other outbound lead generation techniques like cold calls or emails, online communities, and PPC campaigns.
What do you think they lack?
A hyper-personal approach.
But outbound bots solve that problem. They are triggered proactively based on specific users and leads, using the audience filters used for targeting outbound messages. So you’re only nurturing leads that are qualified or are worth your time and activate engagement with old/lost contacts.
You also get to set the time when the leads will get your message on WhatsApp. Since WhatsApp is a personal platform, outbound bots help you navigate around different demographics, segment your lists, and send personalized messages relating to customer buyers’ journeys.
For example, consider a customer making an eCommerce purchase but abandoning the cart at the last moment (which is very common occurring in eCommerce). Similarly, many other customers follow the same suit and your eCommerce sales suffer as a result.
To encourage your buyers to finish their orders, your outbound bot proactively sends messages on WhatsApp with a promo code. If this doesn’t work out, you can always send a series of other promotional messages so the buyer can complete their purchase.
Some of the ways you can use outbound bots are:
Sending promotional offers
Enriching lead information
3. Performing Advanced Analytics
With each conversation, you’re getting an insight into the customer's perspective. What are their preferences? Where do they abandon the chat? What is the conversational route they follow? What are they looking for the most? etc.
While most chatbot platforms provide an analytics dashboard that gives a sneak peek into the chatbot performance, it seems that is evolving as well.
Predictive analytics is a common practice in customer service where you use data to determine future customer behavior. Chatbots will give you more data to determine your customer strategy, design ad campaigns, and how to personalize your messaging. You get to know your ideal customer profile, their tastes and preferences via the bot conversation, and their end-action.
Your chatbot makes systematic entries of this data and metrics and uses them to provide intelligent responses to the users. The deeper customer insights will further dictate the chatbot's behavior and conversations.
4. Automated Appointment Scheduling
Scheduling appointments may not be a new concept or a novel functionality offered by a chatbot. But with an increasing number of automated conversations happening on websites in the post-pandemic world, especially in healthcare, this functionality has come into the limelight.
If you think from a consumer perspective, they would often browse through your website during off-hours — a time when you wouldn’t have staff booking appointments for you. It becomes imperative for businesses to provide a facility where customers can get in touch with them and book an appointment without interacting with an agent.
Bots without human involvement can easily handle basic requests like scheduling an appointment with a Google calendar or a Calendly integration. It also reduces the number of human agents required and improves the employee attrition ratio.
5. Empathetic Conversations
The future of chatbots goes beyond just having automated conversations with consumers. As bots are becoming increasingly personalized with the help of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, they’re expected to mimic human emotions rather than simply have bland bot conversations.
One of the biggest challenges that businesses face in implementing chatbots is that they sound like, well, bots.
Like Chuck Elias the CEO of Sciensio mentioned, “For example, the technically correct answer to ’May I use the bathroom?’ is ‘Yes’, but the response you are looking for when asking that question is ‘Of course, it’s over there!’”
While it seems far-fetched, it becomes necessary for bot builders to empower chatbots to be more empathetic in their approach. And businesses are realizing that it’s really not that difficult in building an empathic chatbot. Because empathy doesn’t entirely rely on how advanced your algorithm is but on how you develop the chatbot conversational script.
There is a difference between building your chatbot and having it pretend to be a human and building it to be a bot that can mimic human interaction. It is ideal to achieve the latter.
Even if the bot can’t understand and interpret the message, it just takes a simple message like, “Hey, looks like my bot brain can’t understand that. Why don’t I transfer you to my human friend?” to make the conversation empathetic.
A hint of quirkiness with the right mix of emoticons can go a long way in chatbot conversations.
6. Chatbot to Human Handover
If we carry on the last example, you’d see why a human handover in a chatbot seals the deal for a highly satisfying customer experience. Studies show that 27% of customers feel a smooth transition from a chatbot to a human is where a chatbot needs a major improvement.
Unlike before, brands are realizing that chatbots aren’t perfect. They’re just there to assist and not replace. A lot of customers still need to talk to a human agent and brands are providing that with a chatbot-to-human handover facility in chatbots to enable live chat with agents.
Some of the potential scenarios where brands are implementing human handover are:
Complexity: Chatbots are still a customer favorite for only simple problems. For issues that require in-depth explanation and detailed guidance on resolution, the customer still prefers talking to humans. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether your chatbot can handle complex issues or not. It’s just an innate human nature to talk to another human and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Urgency: Urgent problems require urgent solutions. An impatient customer will not wait to converse with a chatbot to hand over the conversation to a human. If your industry is prone to situations that require urgent answers (like travel and healthcare), it implies that you immediately offer a human agent, i.e, early on in the chat.
Common Fails: Based on data, you know where your chatbots fail to provide a proper response. While you have the time to improve your chatbot, it’s wise to keep a human handover specifically at those places in the chat. This way, brands can avoid an unpleasant customer experience.
Preference: Again, thanks to data and customer background, you get a sneak peek into visitor preferences. So you know whether they’re more open to speaking to an agent or a bot based on their previous interactions. Since chatbot marketing is all about personalization now, it falls upon brands to provide exactly what the visitors prefer.
It is ultimately the conversations that you have with your customers that count. It doesn't matter how you facilitate them. It’s becoming apparent that having a human handover in a chatbot conversation doesn’t mean your bot failed to achieve its objective. But, it is rather advanced enough to know its limitations and pass over the conversation to a live agent.
7. Product Recommendation
As AI in chatbots is becoming more mainstream, brands are leveraging this chatbot marketing technique to provide product recommendations to prospects based on their buying behavior and preferences. Product recommendation chatbots help grow the brand image since brands are basically providing a virtual shopping assistant through the chat widget.
Navigating through an eCommerce website is a hassle for most consumers. They’re aimlessly roaming across a website and just want a guided path that helps them seek the right product and make a purchase.
This is where brands are turning towards a product recommendation chatbot. It adds immense value to the online shopping industry because it seamlessly fills in the place of a salesperson in a brick-and-mortar store. As the algorithm advances, chatbots can accurately provide recommendations based on customer inputs, previous purchases, complementary products, and so on.
It provides a much better alternative to consumers where instead of scrolling through a hundred product pages, they get exactly what they’re looking for in a matter of minutes.
8. Auto-qualify leads
Chatbots have become an indispensable tool for demand generation. It has aced the numbers game. Businesses love to flaunt that they generated 100 or 1000 leads every month. But the same wasn’t said about lead qualification, which is a time-consuming process in itself.
However, that’s changing.
And the change is happening in terms of the chatbot technology in identifying the genuineness of the leads and also in terms of enhancing the screening questionnaire in the chatbot scripts to auto-qualify leads.
Chatbots can prompt users to input real email ids so you can have a genuine list of contacts. Brands can now adopt the chatbot marketing method of auto-qualify leads in terms of:
Targeting lead qualification chatbots on specific pages like pricing
Integrating data from social media chatbots and other channels
Breaking down the qualifying/screening questions
Enabling notifications for demo requests
As industries embrace chatbots even with all their flaws, the upcoming chatbot marketing trends just go on to show that bots aren’t going anywhere. The future of chatbots is quite bright, indeed. In fact, they’re just getting started in aiding businesses with customer engagement.
And what we discussed is just one of the many things bots are striving for. Since they’ve significantly evolved from what they used to be, you can be assured that they will continue to do so — thanks to the dynamic nature of brands-to-human interactions and the innate human nature of making small talk.
So if you want to know more about how you can implement these chatbot marketing trends, you can get in touch with us and we’d be happy to guide you through.
Content Editor at WotNot. He likes technology, chatbots, comedy, philosophy, and sports. He often cracks hilarious jokes and lightens everyone's mood in the team.