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Making conversation count

Conversation makes the world go round, and when utilised within a marketing strategy helps drive sales without really ‘selling’. It allows businesses and their customers to interact on a personal level, strengthening relationships and supporting brand loyalty.

Times are a-changin’

Communication methods have changed throughout the years and now, with the emergence of new technologies like chatbots and voice assistants, businesses are having to adapt and embrace different ways of talking to their customers. While for the most part a positive addition, integration does present some challenges.

The bots are here

Take chatbots as an example. Chatbots can take the pressure off customer service and sales teams, offering an immediate and 24/7 resource for customers. And the stats back it up, with a recent survey from Twilio suggesting that 90% of consumers want to use messaging to communicate with businesses. But what about integrating these services in the first place? And then, of course, there’s the aftercare.

Bad chat, bad rep

Chatbots work from a scripted flow, which granted requires human creation, but once implemented shouldn’t need intervention. Unless something goes wrong of course…

If the conversation takes a turn the chatbot isn’t prepped for, confusion and frustration can follow for the customer, who may choose to abandon ship if there’s no relevant route forward. In no time at all the chatbot has become counterproductive. And, in a recent study almost two thirds of respondents wouldn’t use a chatbot again following a bad experience.

Start with the foundations

But all’s not lost. Businesses just need to be smart. When considering new technology, like a chatbot, ease it in gently. Focus on the essentials: which features would your user base find the most useful? And if the option exists, make sure there’s a contingency plan, i.e. a human interaction element should users hit a snag. As AI develops, however, and these platforms get smarter, there will be less need for additional interaction to complete the sales journey.

You’re not fooling anyone

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that technology like chatbots act as a personification of your brand. So, stay transparent; don’t trick your customers into thinking they’re talking to a human. According to another recent study, 75% of consumers want to know exactly who or what they are talking to, and a resounding 48% consider chatbots pretending to be human ‘creepy’. Businesses are usually advised to show a robot icon, so customers know exactly what they’re interacting with.

Who are you talking to?

Along with this, consider how age demographics play a role in the evolution of communication preferences. A Drift survey showed that younger respondents are more likely to use newer channels more frequently. So, with this in mind, it’s essential your communications strategy considers the different audiences that might be interacting with your content or engaging as potential buyers.

Staying one step ahead

Conversational marketing can be a beneficial addition to any communications strategy, as long as it’s done right. Integrating it can be challenging, but if done well it will engage with customers and prospects in a more efficient and cost-effective way.

Conversational marketing is keeping up with the times, are you? Download our guide today for top tips and insights into conversational marketing and discover how real-time customer service can be transformational for your business’ results.

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