In the midst of our weekly Sherpa office game of A-Z artists, which we are yet to complete, someone asked Alexa what her favourite music genre was. When the standard response of “Sorry, I cannot help with that” was uttered, we were all a little surprised and disappointed. Why is it that we now expect our speakers to have a music preference, our watches to be smart and our Chatbots to have a personality?
The purpose of a Chatbot is to discover intent and, ultimately, steer the user to the right place or person to answer their needs. However, many Chatbots are just shoved on a website to save someone ‘manning’ the live chat all the time – which completely misses the power of the Chatbot. Both Chatbots and Voice Search have had a presence in the world of B2C for a while now and it has seeped into B2B but, many companies are not ready for the shift.
One consideration when integrating a Chatbot into your B2B marketing is not making your life easier but improving your user’s experience – it sounds obvious but will make a big difference. Your Chatbot is not a gate keeper to you and your website content; it’s part of your aligned marketing and sales team. A Chatbot on your website is the first experience a prospect has with your brand and values – this needs to be reflected in the Chatbot experience.
So, are Chatbots and Voice Search the new golden marketing tool for B2B? Well, not quite. There are still some issues with this ‘almost-AI’ technology.
Chatbots lack personality and empathy - 20% of voice searches ask Alexa how to boil an egg but the second most common voice search is people wanting help with being funnier, telling jokes and dating. In fact, 52% of consumers value personality over issue-solving in a Chatbot. To resolve this, some companies have even gone as far as to get authors to write the scripts for their customer-facing bots in a bid the give them a personality.
The other issue many companies face with their Chatbots is expectations around the type and speed of interactions. In our instant-gratification, fast-paced society, people expect the same response times from Chatbots as from face to face interactions. When 56% of people would rather message a bot than call customer service it is vital to ensure that prospects can get the information they need from your bot as soon as they request it. People are most likely to stop interacting with your bot if it doesn’t respond or isn’t helpful - wanting to interact with a real person instead is much less of an influencing factor.
Additionally, with the rise of Voice Search, you need to be on top of your game to keep your website and brand front of mind with your prospected. Optimisation is not just for search engines; 80% of voice search results are from featured snippets.
However, as much as we fight it, Chatbots and Voice Search are here and they are here to stay. So we need to collectively embrace the change and start investing in our Chatbot and Voice Search optimisations. According to Gartner, by 2021 50% of enterprises will spend more on Chatbots than mobile apps.
Chatbots are infiltrating all aspects of marketing with the rise of email bots; bots for scheduling sales meetings; customer service bots and many more. These bots remove the need for form-fills and get straight to the point (70% of people would rather chat with a bot than fill in a form to get questions answered/find out more). Before long most of your buyer’s journey will be automated, with interactions with bots and Voice Search forming a significant part of it. It is estimated that 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human agent by 2020, meaning that getting the right tone, language and personality will be vital for your brand image.
Not everyone is a Chatbot fan, many people are indifferent. 40% of consumers say they do not care whether a Chatbot or a real human helps them, as long as they are getting the help they need. This may be a relief considering Gartner predicts that by 2020 people will have more conversations with Chatbots than their spouse!
Chatbots and Voice Search are a growing area of Marketing, however, they are merely a medium which can make the customer experience more enjoyable and fluid. They are a medium for Conversational marketing. The true takeaway from the rise of Chatbots and Voice Search is an underlying shift throughout the marketing world towards conversational marketing, where the experience your prospect has with your brand should be at the heart of your FY20 strategy. If you’re interested in keeping up-to-date with all the latest trends in B2B marketing why not head over to our Tech Marketers Leaders Forum to discuss the industry trends, tips and need-to-knows.
Whether you’re a Chatbot fan or still on the fence, we still have real people who want to speak to you, so why not spark up a chat about your marketing transformation today.
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