The expectation of a more straightforward post-pandemic world has been held worldwide, yet it is becoming increasingly evident that we are going to experience a time of rapid transformation, political and media divisions, disturbed supply lines, inflation, debt, and international tension. This isn’t the end to the pandemic that most people expected, however, this is what numerous models foresaw. As businesses continue to shift their strategies to fit these transformations, customer engagement and online communication have become more important than ever. In recent years, AI chatbots have emerged as a powerful tool for brands looking to enhance their online presence and improve customer experiences.
A recent report by Trend Hunter (2023 Trend Report by Trend Hunter) has highlighted the consumer insights and trends by industries and we are going to use it to identify pockets of opportunities for AI chatbots – our expertise. The capabilities of AI chatbots in easing brand online communication with customers, and their potential to transform the way businesses interact with their audience. In this blog post, we will explore the key findings of the report and delve into the ways in which AI chatbots are shaping the future of customer engagement. 15 questions to ask yourself as a business owner and suggested answers with facts from us:
How could your brand make its customers’ lives easier?
This is a question with not one answer, but we are going to give you the most effective one. One way of easing your customers’ lives is providing a digital contactless solution for self-service so customers communicate with your brand at any time of the day whenever they are. You won’t need to make them wait for your answer or make them come to your offline property (office, store, or other) just to ask a question. They would go on your website and receive their answers from the digital AI assistant that never sleeps and waits to assist 24/7 – the AI chatbot on your site.
By providing an easy-to-use online 2-way communication tool to engage customers around the clock, for sure you will make them stay longer, engage longer and become more likely loyal customers. Isn’t that a successful way to make your customers’ lives easier? They would always have answers to their questions related to your products and services, while you and your employees take care of the more complex tasks – your next marketing campaign, products releasement and etc. Maybe you can start your marketing campaign including your AI chatbot – there are many ways to use it to improve the marketing and sales of your brand along with customer service and support.
How could your brand better prioritize its customers’ privacy?
As consumers and governments turn their attention to online privacy issues like data-sharing with companies, browsers, and browser extensions are popping up that help ensure consumers’ data stays private – a trend by the mentioned report we are quoting. How to manage such trends? With the upcoming third-party cookieless world in the next year, companies must prioritize strategies that include first and zero-party customer data collection to stay competitive in the marketing and sales processes. Such a first and zero-party strategy is implementing an AI chatbot on the business site that collects such customer data and is following privacy restrictions.
An AI chatbot on the brand’ site is automatically collecting first-party data such as visitors’ searches and questions, what time of the day, etc, and zero-party data – willingly provided information to stay in the privacy strategies curve.
Follow these tips to prioritize your customers’ privacy:
- Offer clear privacy policies: Provide clear and concise privacy policies to your customers so that they know how their data is being used and what measures are being taken to protect it, along with mentioning that they are talking to a chatbot in the welcome message to follow the EU regulations.
- Provide opt-in and opt-out options: Give your customers the ability to choose whether or not they want to share their personal data with the chatbot and allow them to easily opt out if they change their mind.
- Limit data retention: Only collect and retain the data that is necessary to provide the service and dispose of it securely when it is no longer needed.
- Regularly review and update privacy practices: Review and update your privacy practices on a regular basis to ensure that they are in line with the latest privacy regulations and best practices.
By implementing these measures, a brand can better prioritize its customers’ privacy with the help of an AI chatbot.
How is your company shifting its services to accommodate post-pandemic consumer habits?
The trend by the Trend Hunter report – as we entered a post-pandemic world and travel restrictions lift, app-based travel and activity guides are becoming the norm. These digital guide activations help travelers explore the world while limiting their contact with tour groups to remain mindful of ongoing global health concerns. Consumers are eager to travel more now, and they are maintaining some pandemic-induced habits, such as finding convenient and online alternatives to certain activities.
The travel and hospitality industry is leveraging new technologies to accommodate new consumer habits and continue offering guided services. Such technologies are the AI chatbots on the businesses’ websites to offer online services, guide consumers through the business products or services and assist with the given business processes. Consumers expect technologies to help them to avoid queues and crowds, keep social distance, avoid the need for face-to-face contact with staff, ensure cleanliness and safety, and also provide instant up-to-date information 24/7/365. AI chatbots help with all that! So why not start using such technology for your business?
How can your company merge interactive digital and physical experiences?
Consumers have become accustomed to using their smartphones to engage with content and activities and are expecting their in-person experiences to have a digital component. With increased accessibility to virtual interactions, companies are merging the great outdoors with the virtual to create tech-enhanced adventures. How AI chatbot on your site helps with that? How to become one of these companies? Merging interactive digital and physical experiences to engage your customers more is easy now. If you already have placed a chatbot with conversational AI or without on the website you have to assist with 2-way online communication while you and your employees rest or take care of the more valuable tasks, creating a physical experience too is simple – with QR codes and gamification techniques used in your offline stores or properties to direct customers online on a concrete webpage on a specific element in the chatbot so customers do a desired action. Easy as it sounds! Online and offline strategy for attracting customers’ interest is a win-win strategy for sure. Think of any kind of engaging ways for lead generation and marketing campaigns with the help of the digital assistant on your site and you will be for sure convinced about the many benefits of chatbots. Here’s an example: place QR codes on your products on the shelves at the store that lead to the chatbot on your website which would assist with customer questions about the products, give more details or provide a request form for a custom product without the need to wait for an employee to do it. There are many ways of leveraging digital and physical experiences with just one tool – the AI chatbot – the digital employee in the pocket of your customers.
How is your brand ensuring that its more “trendy” pursuits have longevity?
Well, to have a chatbot with conversational AI on your website is trendy for sure and has longevity too if you created it properly and continue to train it accordingly. The AI chatbot is a long-term project that gives higher ROI if it is properly planned. The investment in such project is returnable in better user experience, more sales, improved marketing, customer service, and overall business processes, along with increased motivation in employees. Why not invest in a such project?
How could your brand better support its customers in their goals?
We have written and written about the benefits of chatbots for customer experience. Let’s share them once again:
- Clear Communication: The AI chatbot communicates clearly and effectively with customers. It is able to understand their queries and respond in a way that is easy for them to understand. The chatbot is also able to explain complex concepts in simple terms and provide additional resources or links for customers who want to learn more.
- Personalization: The chatbot is able to personalize its responses based on training by the business team following customers’ preferences and needs. For example, if the customer has asked a specific question, the AI chatbot could give an answer and redirect the client to a request form or a concrete link to buy a product related to the question.
- 24/7 Availability: The chatbot is available 24/7 to provide self-service support to customers. This will ensure that customers can get help whenever they need it, without having to wait for employees to answer.
- Quick Response: Customers expect quick responses to their queries, and the chatbot is able to provide them instantly. The chatbot is able to respond to queries within a few seconds and provide accurate and helpful answers.
- Integration with other channels: The chatbot is able to seamlessly integrate with other business platforms, such as CRM, reservation systems, payment systems, or others. This will ensure that customers can get help from start to end, without having to switch to a different platform.
- Continuous Improvement: The AI chatbot should be continuously improved based on customer feedback and usage data (first and zero-party data). The brand should regularly review the chatbot’s performance and make improvements to ensure that it meets customer needs and expectations. For example, if a customer is looking for something and you do not provide it, do not train the AI chatbot to answer with “no”, but train it to provide alternatives to not miss any new opportunity for sale or conversion.
How could your brand create unique experiences for its customers in a post-pandemic world?
Directing customers or specific target groups from various sources, including social media, email campaigns, with QR codes, and offline, to one place could help ensure they are served quickly, without needing to wait for a response – a self-service online solution. This could be achieved by directing them to a specific webpage with predetermined elements, which could be opened in a concrete chatbot element from any device. This type of functionality is becoming increasingly beneficial for businesses looking to provide a seamless omnichannel experience.
Connecting website elements (buttons, texts, images with CTA) to a specific part of the AI chatbot (forms, cards with helpful images, and texts) is another efficient way to apply targeted strategies in marketing and sales, as well as providing a more personalized experience on the website. Those who click will be able to access the information provided in the chatbot instantly, making it an innovative and interactive way of giving customers what they truly need and desire. This could boost their loyalty towards your brand and improve overall user experience.
How can your brand increase its online presence?
An AI chatbot can be a powerful tool for increasing your brand’s online presence. Here are some ways your brand can leverage an AI chatbot to achieve this goal:
- Improved Customer Engagement: An AI chatbot can engage with customers in real-time and provide personalized experiences. Doing so, it can help customers stay engaged with your brand and increase the likelihood of repeat visitors.
- Increased Presence in Social Media: Concrete chatbot elements can be shared as a link in social media platforms so customers interact with it in real time. This can help increase your brand’s social media presence and improve customer engagement.
- Improved Customer Experience: An AI chatbot can provide quick and accurate responses to customer queries, improving their overall experience with your brand. This can lead to positive customer reviews and recommendations, which can help increase your brand’s online visibility.
- Personalized Marketing Campaigns: An AI chatbot collects first and zero-party customer data so the brand team analyzes it to provide more personalized recommendations and promotions. Doing so, it can help increase customer loyalty and brand advocacy, which can further boost your online presence.
- Increased Website Traffic: An AI chatbot can guide customers to relevant pages on your website, increasing their time on site and improving their overall experience. This can lead to increased website traffic, which can further boost your brand’s online presence. Are you aware of how many of your website visitors are engaging with your content? According to a report from 2022, up to 65% of users will leave after viewing only one page, while 54% scroll down only half of the webpage before departing. Additionally, between 35%-45% of customers attempt to find information and help outside of regular business hours. So, what does Google Analytics show regarding your website’s bounce rate? Do you know if your customers are getting what they need? An AI chatbot on your site for sure will take care of that!
- 24/7 Availability: An AI chatbot can provide support to customers at any time of day or night. This can help improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to a positive brand impression that also helps to increase your brand’s online presence. Overall, an AI chatbot can help your brand increase its online presence with its many shared benefits, so it’s time to hurry up so to have one to stay ahead of the competition.
How could your brand better prioritize customers’ in-store experiences?
An AI chatbot can help for sure to improve the in-store experience of your customers. Your brand can use an AI chatbot to help customers plan their visit to your store. The chatbot can provide information about store hours, location, available products, and services. This can help customers make informed decisions before they visit the store, improving their overall experience. The AI chatbot can also provide customers with in-store navigation assistance, receiving answers to questions via scanning a QR code on products or other objects to go to the chatbot to get assisted.
Here is an example of a QR code to chatbot by our customers – hotel complex Izgreva: the hotel team places a QR code on the keychains of hotel rooms so customers have access to the hotel AI chatbot wherever they are. Try placing a QR code on objects or products in your property and see how people would use them to contact with your brand via the chatbot. A desired rest for everyone in the team is coming!
How could your brand better prioritize convenience within its purchase journey?
Allowing customers to do end-to-end purchases online in one place is one way to go. An AI chatbot could help with that. Integrating your AI chatbot into your other business platforms like payment systems could make purchasing easier than before. Imagine a customer is looking for an answer to a question about a specific product or service, receiving it instantly, and being directed to buy it all along through the chatbot. Another example is when you place links in a carousel of cards of your top 10 products to be bought and place CTA texts anywhere on your site that would direct the customers to this carousel of top 10 products in the AI chatbot to choose from. More engaging way of purchasing and more convenient than traditional ones, right?
How is your brand ensuring its customers are engaged throughout the purchase journey?
How?! With an AI chatbot of course, it could be set up to open once or every time a customer is scrolling through your pages on your site, but not too invasive to bother them, still intriguing for customers to attract interest and have a casual or more formal chat with the chatbot. Businesses can use AI chatbots to proactively engage customers throughout the purchase journey, providing helpful information and support at key touchpoints. For example, a chatbot can provide information about the most frequently asked questions, delivery and returns terms, ways of payments, top 10 products or services, and much other useful information related to purchasing journey to ease it for all customers.
Here’s an insight from the mentioned report we base our thoughts on – with smart retail solutions becoming increasingly common, some consumers miss the social interactions that come with shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. These consumers are drawn to businesses that prioritize their experience as a customer despite the convenience-based innovations they’re investing in. The AI chatbot improves user experience online and offline despite it being a digital tool. Imagine placing an avatar of your AI chatbot and a QR code at your store to engage curious customers or to drive them in marketing or sales funnels to win a prize or a promo code via the chatbot. The customer experience would be more valuable than ever, and clients would prefer your brand over more traditional service or product providers.
How is your brand prioritizing convenience for its customer base?
Overall convenience suggests easier communication with the brand, easy purchase of products or subscribing to services, interactive website, the best customer service and support with 24/7 availability, the best offline and online user experience, and more engaging ways of doing marketing campaigns to attract interest. On all of these, an AI chatbot is prioritized so brands to create more seamless and enjoyable experiences for their customers, leading to higher satisfaction and loyalty. Is your brand providing convenience this way for your current and potential customers?
How is your brand blending tradition with contemporary technology?
Blending tradition with contemporary technologies can be a great way to create a unique and engaging customer experience that is both modern and familiar. Such technologies could be AI-driven ones (AI chatbots), new software, more digital solutions for self-service, KPI (key performance indicators), OKR (objectives and key results) tracking platforms, and others. Which one you choose for your business goals should complement the others or unite all processes in one place. For example, if you choose an AI chatbot and integrate it with your CRM system or reservation system, you could make more smooth processes for your customers and employees because it is an easy-to-use tool and if everyone is used to traditional communication ways could learn the new technology easier and faster. Blending tradition with contemporary technology is a must nowadays if you want to stay competitive and conquer new markets.
How is your brand aligning itself with the values of potential employees?
For Gen Z and Millennials, working for employers that align with their values has become increasingly important. Now, employees want to know that businesses are doing their part in addressing the various social, political, and environmental issues that are currently being experienced globally -and brands are having to respond in order to draw in and retain emerging talent. More digital companies are also chosen for more potential employees. Like customers love digital brands, the employees are also customers and want their values and ways of communication to align with the brand they are working for. AI chatbot technology is chosen by many businesses worldwide regardless of their industry and size and companies that provide such ways of communication are considered to be tech-savvy (87.62%), customer-oriented (83.81%), and proactive (85.71%), according to GoodFirms research (Usage & Statistics for an Engaging Online Chatbot Design). Don’t you want to be a leader of a company that is chosen by its customers and employees by such criteria?
How could your brand prioritize the mental health of its employees and customers?
According to the Trend Hunter report, businesses in a wide range of industries are aiming to ensure the overall well-being of their employees by offering mental health programs and initiatives. These include employee mental health training and internal well-being campaigns on social media or elsewhere. Mental well-being has become a focus for North American consumers as the ongoing consequences of the pandemic and its associated social, financial, and lifestyle disruptions have severely impacted people’s mental health. Now, more consumers are turning to products, programs, and treatments that prioritize their mental wellness–and employers are capitalizing on this shift in order to retain talent. How AI chatbots fit in such shifts in order to retain customers and employees. They also take care of mental and physical health and as we mentioned many times, here are the answers to how and why.
In conclusion, AI chatbots can provide numerous benefits to businesses in 2023, including improved customer engagement, increased efficiency, enhanced customer experiences, and more as mentioned above. As a business owner, it is important to identify pockets of opportunities for business growth and be convinced that AI chatbots can be integrated into your business operations. By asking yourself the 15 questions outlined in this blog post, you can gain a better understanding of how AI chatbots can benefit your business and which areas of your business could benefit from an implementation of one on your site. With careful planning and implementation, AI chatbots can help businesses improve their bottom line while providing better customer experiences, and improving marketing and sales, and overall business processes. It is important to remember that competition is not waiting for you to outshine it. Start your chatbot journey now, to have a fully working digital assistant in less than a few months!