Conversational marketing is an increasingly popular term, but what exactly does it refer to and how on earth is it related to chatbots?
Let’s have a closer look.
What is conversational marketing?
Conversational marketing is best characterised as a move against the increasingly uniform digital customer experience. Rather than providing customers with a one-size-fits-all website or app interaction, conversational marketing’s primary aim is to create a more personally tailored and human experience for users. By putting the customer at the centre of the marketing process, conversational marketing hopes to reach a higher level of mutual understanding and loyalty from a customer base.
So how can this be done? Conversational marketing works using a feedback orientated approach. Customer’s thoughts, ideas and needs are captured and then actively incorporated into marketing strategy and outreach. Importantly this interaction and listening is done on a one-to-one basis, and each individual’s preferences are catered for. A successful implementation of conversational marketing will therefore give a customer the experience they want, when they want it.
The adoption of conversational marketing has become more possible in the digital age where a two-way interaction through online platforms is easily available.
Examples of conversational marketing
Conversational marketing is all about interacting with your customers and building human experiences and relationships. With this in mind, there are several traditional tools which can be used to execute this strategy:
- Human customer support: While often treated as separate from the marketing strategy, your call centre team provides a key customer facing role. Offering a high level of customer support is an essential tool for conversational marketing and brand loyalty. By physically speaking and responding to a customer’s needs you can adapt the process for them in real-time and in a human manner.
- Email marketing: This doesn’t include bombarding customers with email campaigns. Email is too often seen as a one way method of communicating, however utilising targeted surveys identifying top pain points or priorities can open up a very valuable source of information sharing.
- Customer loyalty programs: Programs that reward loyal customers can help to build good relationships and also open up new streams of information sharing.
How do chatbots fit in?
Without a doubt the single most talked about tool in the conversational marketing repertoire is chatbots. In the digital age, and with the rise of social media, well implemented chatbots offer the possibility for real-time individualised customer interaction.
So how does this work? Sophisticated AI-powered chatbots , or virtual assistants, equipped with natural language processing are able to replicate human interaction with customers. Literally to chat with them either through voice or text mediums.
These bots can be accessed via company sites or social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. They aim to provide a frictionless medium for instant communication with customers where questions and queries can be answered instantly. Furthermore chatbots with machine learning capabilities can also tailor the conversations to take into account recorded knowledge of the customer’s individual needs and then tailor the conversation to take into account their preferences.
In other words, chatbots are the ideal tool for any conversational marketing strategy. They’re efficient, digitally available and have the ability to process and learn from customer behaviour to create a personalised experience.
The benefits of conversational marketing with chatbots
Chatbots offer the following benefits:
1) One-to-one made possible
The power of one-to-one conversations with customers defines the effectiveness of conversational strategies – but how can that be scaled? Without having a ridiculously large call centre it’s almost impossible to have the necessary bandwidth to talk to everyone.
That is until chatbots became widely available. A single chatbot is capable of holding individual conversations with multiple customers simultaneously, either solving their queries alone or qualifying them for specific sales reps. This means all of your customers can enjoy a personalised one-on-one interaction.
Chatbots are built upon data. It informs every action that they take and enables them to constantly improve their performance. So any chatbot conversation can immediately start collecting, analysing and putting to use valuable customer data that can make a more personalised experience. For example, taking into account language preferences, common types of problems and what services are most relevant to their circumstances.
3) Real time access
The best customer experiences happen exactly when and where they’re needed. This usually means as soon as the query or problem occurs. Rather than forcing customers to wait for follow ups or hold on in a phone queue, chatbot conversations can happen instantly, at any time of the day or night and on any device. This can also apply to booking further down the funnel processes like sales demos.