Some Chatbots are designed as simply that, little Bots to improve your daily experiences on whichever platform you use. Things like Quiz-games or any Bot that doesn’t result in you being directed away from the platform and onto a website fulfil this purpose. Other Chatbots are designed by businesses hoping to utilise the technology as part of their overall strategy. As app usage declines and messaging platforms loaded with swathes of Bots become increasingly prevalent, it’s no surprise that these companies are incorporating Bots into their repertoire.
Any kind of advertising or product pushing is annoying, no matter what the means. We’re surrounded by ads and people trying to sell us things every day, so the last thing we need is Bots sending us spammy messages or pestering us to head to external links. The other side of the coin is that Bot technology is a great way to connect us to the products and services we need and want – it’s really all about companies and businesses finding the line. To do this, these organisations really need to ask themselves three key questions – can the business really benefit from a Bot? How can we ensure that the Bot gives a positive experience that helps the user and gives a good image of our company? How can we sell our service without forcing products and links on the users? Here we’re taking a look at these questions in details, so users and developers alike can understand what is important and how a good, mutually beneficial Bot should function.
Does my business really need a Bot?
This is a big question. Anyone who owns or runs a business wants to allow it to flourish to the maximum potential and reach the maximum audience. Part of this challenge and process is keeping on top of trends and technological changes. At the moment, considering the development of a Bot for your business is a very sensible thing to do, but it’s not necessarily the answer. If you are running a blog or website, it’s another way to get your content out to those interested – providing them with top stories from the day/week, articles tailored to their interests. They benefit because they get sent the content they want in a simple and easy to access way, and the website or blog benefits because it’s another way to drive traffic. If you can come up with a good system and an easily usable Bot then content driven websites and blogs are perfect for this format. Recipes, fashion tips, news stories, opinion pieces – whatever the site offers, it’s likely that followers and readers will be keen on optimising their experience if they’re into using Bots as it is.
If you are running a restaurant or food business, Bots are another means that could certainly help you. When it comes to food, people are increasingly keen on convenience. The food delivery business outdates our hyper-technological society but it has grown and adapted to be more accessible than ever. What once required a phone call to a limited number of venues that offered home delivery can now be done with a click of a button. In under an hour most people can have Thai, Chinese, Indian, burgers, vegan options, pizza and just about any cuisine under the sun knocking at their door. This is largely thanks to apps and online services like Deliveroo, GrubHub and Delivery Hero acting as the middle man between restaurants and their customers. This is obviously an area where Bots are beneficial and can act as an intermediary, receiving orders and passing them onto restaurants. Order Bot already exists and has several restaurants signed up – while Burger King and Taco Bell have opted to go with their own individual services, on Facebook Messenger and Slack respectively. Though they don’t yet offer delivery.
Clothing and fashion businesses can use a Bot in a similar way, effectively as a cashier but also a sales assistant, passing on information about new styles, sales and deals. Even banks are exploring ways that Bot technology can help their customers – would you prefer to wait hours on the phone to talk to someone, or have a Bot help with your simple queries? Flight companies like KLM are already well on board, utilising bots to help customers with checking in and receiving flight details. Basically, as long as your company, service or business involves regular interaction with customers, there are ways that Bots can help you. It’s really all about streamlining the function and ensuring that it’s not spammy. For example, find a helpful way to tell people about deals, don’t just spam them with coupons like junk mail in a letter box.
How can we ensure that the Bot gives a positive experience that helps the user and gives a good image of our company?
We touched on this above, and it’s quite simple. Your business exists for a reason and that is because it offers a service to customers. The Bot should assist in providing this service to customers and not forcing the message at them too strongly. A fashion website’s Bot for example could say hello to a user, then ask them if they’d like to see some of the new styles available. If they say yes, perhaps it could ask if there’s anything in particular they’re interested in seeing (skirts, dresses, jeans, shirts etc.) and then send them images of what they requested with some personalised information like size availability and colour scheme preferences. It’s about making the experience feel personal and real, as opposed to just an interactive form of advertising.
Food services can function in a similar way. People have always loved pizza, but not everyone likes huge stacks of paper coupons cramming up their mailbox every day – so why should it be any different with a Bot? Instead of mindlessly sending out deals, specials and coupons it could be a better approach to simply ask if the person is keen on ordering take-out on the day, or any day that week, then engage in a conversation about what they’re interested in and some suggestions on where they could get it and the deals that are available. Again, it’s about making the experience personal, not rigid and spam heavy. These basic principles can be applied to any business providing a Bot to users. Keep it simple, easy to use and with a touch of personality.
Summary: To sell your services on a Bot in a useful, non-spammy and mutually beneficial way, keep the Bot simple but clean and clever, keep the message clear and structured and provide the service as if the Bot is a real person interacting with other real people, because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s doing. People don’t want more advertising, spam and junk, they want tangible experiences that benefit them and make their everyday lives easier.