With AI’s sophistication increasing, more consumers are buying into the chatbot experience.

 

Chatbot’s Growth

Since the inception of chatbot technology in 2016, and the successful implementation of winning chatbot strategies deployed by large brands such as 1-800 Flowers, Ray-Ban, Gap Inc, consumers are increasingly and willingly opting in to the conversational shopping experience. According to a new survey by Uberall, 40% of shoppers are interested in chatbot experiences, with 20% of that group admitting to having a very strong interest in engaging with them.

Out of those who have interacted with chatbots, 80% claim to have had a good experience with the AI, and 14% that base go on to state having a “very positive” experience.

“Most people who’ve used chatbots have had some positive experiences, which is great news. It speaks to consistent improvements in the underlying technology, and the power of familiarity,” said Uberall’s Co-CEO and Co-Founder, Florian Huebner. “What this means for marketers is that once consumers actually try a branded chatbot, the experience can usually be worth it. It seems the challenging part is convincing them to adopt in the first place.”

 

Analyzing the Challenge 

As Florian mentions, the key obstacle that’s currently holding chatbots back from greater success is generating more interest with those who haven’t tried it. The survey revealed that even though 40% are interested, 30% admitted to being “somewhat uninterested,” with an additional 29% showing “no interest at all.”

The survey also goes into detail about some of the other key areas where chatbots can improve. 43% of respondents revealed that accuracy still has some work to do in terms of how the AI responds to their inquiries. Another area that needs further development is the chatbots ability to redirect the consumer to a human representative when needed, with 27% highlighting that as a current concern. Conversational tone also seems to be something customers want to see improvement on, as 19% expressed that they’d like to see chatbots enhance their “ability to hold a more ‘human’-sounding natural conversation.” Finally, 10% of those surveyed simply want to see more chatbots out there, because there aren’t many opportunities to engage with them.

 

Areas of Success

Despite the challenges listed above, there are some strong benefits to how and where chatbots can be leveraged.

Firstly, locality seems to be where chatbot technology can really shine, with over half of respondents (55%) stating that they’re more prone to engage with a chatbot that presents them with a location-based benefit.

Surprisingly, customer service was not the most significant benefit when people were asked what the best use of a chatbot is to them. Deals, promos, and coupons took the prize, with 38% saying offers of these types would be something they’d like to see more chatbots offering.

Other areas that were identified as a strong point for chatbots were providing store hours and locations (17%), personalized recommendations (7%), and ecommerce (6%).

 

Explore your Options

When it comes to artificial intelligence and digital businesses, the key is always balance. Too much AI and automation without a human touch can damage perception of your brand and impede your conversion rate. Alternatively, integrating certain AI elements can dramatically help streamline some common business problems and free up resources to tackle more pressing issues.

The key takeaway here is to start doing some testing. Not only do the majority of chatbot engagers seem to have a decent (or better) experience, but they want to see more of them out there. By implementing one with your business, you’ll be achieving this while also doing your part in generating more interest and awareness.

Installing chatbot technology doesn’t have to be complicated either. There are lots of 3rd party, user-friendly chatbot solutions available that can integrate with both your website and your social channels. So, do a little research as to what makes sense for your business in terms of options, and start building – one small piece of automation at a time. Best practices indicate that drilling down on your business’ most frequently asked questions is a great starting point. Just remember, always give users the option to connect with a human.

Take a chattier approach to your digital strategy this year!