5 Ways Bot and Voice Technology are Changing the ConsumerBrand Relationship

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Considerations for brands in this evolving space

This week’s SuperBot2018 Conference hosted by dashbot provided useful perspective on advancing bot capabilities. This article provides a range of considerations for brands who are considering this growing domain.

1. Richer conversations are possible through bot and voice technology.

Conversational user interfaces as bots deliver dynamic, engaging and personalized communication between a brand and a consumer at scale. Bots make it possible for a brand to deliver relationship-oriented value by combining both what is understood about a consumer and what is remembered. As an example, the below image shows a system diagram of a bot’s knowledge about a customer’s coffee order.

“Designing Engaging Conversations” from Stéphane Nguyen H T with Assist

The customer’s first visit gives data such as type of drink, size, temperature, and customer name. The customer’s second visit creates an opportunity for the bot to build on the relationship by remembering and also simplifying the order process. Here’s an example of a potential exchange using the above image:

Customer’s First Visit (“What you understand”)

Bot: Greetings! Welcome to the Coffee Shop. What can we prepare for you today?
Customer [Amber]:
Large espresso, extra hot please
Can do! What’s your name?
Thanks Amber! We’ll have it ready in 5 minutes.

Customer’s Second visit (“What you remember”)

Bot: Hi Amber, welcome back! Would you like to order a large espresso, extra hot?
Yes! Thank you.
Great! We’ll have it ready in 5 minutes.

Bots enable brands to deliver special at scale with richer, more personal conversations.

2. The role of content is being disrupted.

As bots evolve to support the capacity of human conversations, content is in for an upheaval. With bots, content creation is no longer a linear process of authoring words for a website or an application that speak at a consumer. Today’s technology allows brands the opportunity to speak with the consumer in the same way a human conversational exchange is possible.

Bot conversations are multi-dimensional because they rely upon dynamic context, intent and content. Intent is the understanding of what the consumer is communicating, powered through Natural Language Processing and Sentiment Analysis capabilities and technologies. Context provides awareness to the meaning of phrases or the emotions of the conversation. Content is the substance of messages the brand communicates back to the user based on intent.

Top Articles on How Businesses are using Bots:

1. Five Inspirational Startups Using AI and Chatbot Technology

2. Fifty of the best chatbot use cases

3. How Businesses are Winning with Chatbots & Ai

3. New brand dimensions are materializing.

Bots give brands a chance to build a new dimension — personality, tone, conversational elements — bring a brand to life in ways that aren’t possible through one-way mass communication channels or even email. In this new realm, brands have an opportunity to really set themselves a part by curating a new angle, and building a personality that their target market will be comfortable with. Brands who create unique personalities for bots have higher consumer engagement. HubSpot, as an example, performed an A/B test for new customers by pitting a standard sign-up form against a friendly chatbot who asked the same questions from a user, but in a different framework. The framework of the messenger version was much more familiar to a text conversation on iOS. As a result, consumers who came through the bot messenger on HubSpot were 40% more likely to convert to membership.

Connor Cirillo, “Hubspot Bot Demo”. Image on L: Standard Hubspot form. Image on R: Friendly bot.

When developing a personality for the a bot, such as an Alexa Skill, ask broad and obvious questions. For example: what should Chevron’s auditory voice be? Should it be male or female? Does/should gender play a role? What should the personality consist of? How should the brand engage in conversation with the consumer? What is the tone in the conversation with the customer? These questions are just a few examples of ways in which brands can start to ideate around creating bot personalities.

4. With richer conversational data, brands can learn faster through errors in conversation.

At times in the consumer<>bot conversation, a person may say or type in a conversation that the bot doesn’t expect … something opposite or controversial. The way in which a bot responds in this moment is an opportunity for a brand to differentiate. Errors are okay, they’re actually pretty great …

Errors are the intelligence for a bot. High-frequency errors tell brands what to build next. This is the best way to understand what consumers really want.

Brands can assess errors in the form of unexpected words that consumers input into the conversation, and study to understand how to strengthen the bot and increase the depth of conversation. For example: 30% of bots in the market today don’t have an appropriate response to “Hi”, “Help”, “Stop” or the 👍 emoji (one of the most common stickers customers send in a Facebook chatbot conversation). Bots who handle these types of conversations and who continue to learn about what other nuances and explicit conversations to handle set themselves apart from generic solutions.

5. Conversational commerce is emerging.

Bots allow consumers to easily buy from brands. A simple example is Domino’s pizza. With the goal of delivering the consumer the same experience in any channel they choose, Domino’s allows buyers to order and purchase pizza through the bot. Domino’s has also fully integrated the bot experience across channels … as soon as a customer places the order, customer receives text and email updates. Brands have an opportunity to lower the barriers to purchase and make it easier for consumers to transact.

In closing …

The decision to integrate bot technology should be grounded in a desire to provide a better experience for the user. Brands should consider: where can a bot make a difference to our target consumers? Does the bot increase productivity? Does it give us access to data that we cannot get with today’s channels? What are our biggest customer pains (ordering/reordering, choice confusion, time, decision-making, delivery, comprehension) — and how can chat or voice solve this problem?

As with any new enabling technology — the magic will happen when bots are put into the right place in the consumer journey, in the right way.

The bot and voice domain is emerging and we will continue to learn as an industry … together!

5 Ways Bot and Voice Technology are Changing the Consumer<>Brand Relationship was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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