Surfing the waves of big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, marketers have now precise tools to identify potential markets, clients, consumer patterns and emerging trends. Lately, companies have been trying to improve engagement and generate conversions by enhancing the customer experience. Getting closer to clients means optimizing online platforms for mobile devices. Apps and chatbots help brands keep consumers interested, but choosing the best option for a business can be tricky.
Apps are the stars of customer engagement
The amount of data individuals users interact with on a daily basis is continually increasing and the desired level of connectivity can be described by the word “instant”. Apps have become very versatile software programs and they provide great user interaction: they can count calories, steps, and kilometers, make playlists, give reminders, act as a virtual wallet or even help to run a business.
Once installed, apps are a great tool to advertise services and products, but providers need to maintain the interest of clients at high rates so they continue to use the app. So big brands developed apps with long-term uses. Starbucks offers a mobile pay app that includes a loyalty program, Ikea catalog app helps users to virtually try the furniture in their houses to see if it is suitable and Apple Passbook scans barcodes and offer users the chance to pay using their smartphones. But these are the resources of high-end brands, smaller and medium-sized businesses need to evaluate their needs when switching from web to mobile. At first, owners can just convert website to mobile app keeping just the core features to create an easy and pleasant experience. Even Facebook and Google started desktop-based and gradually developed the mobile device versions.
However, apps have been flooding lately the online stores and most people have their gadgets loaded with program software they scarcely use. Also, frequent pop-ups announcing sales or new entries can become disturbing for clients. Even longstanding consumers will choose to discard most apps to free storage space or stop notifications they are not interested in.
Chatbots are a game-changer for customer services
While apps are automated systems that offer support to clients in everyday actions, chatbots can make a great first impression to a new customer. Chatbots are AI systems that simulate conversations with human subjects and most people have already interacted with a food delivery or online shopping bot assistant. Frequently asked questions can be answered by a chatbot that works round-the –clock, reducing call center waiting time and making clients feel more connected to the brand. On one hand, human responsible will get more time to deal with difficult problems and offer a higher quality service and on the other hand, chatbots are a way to advertise new products, services, sales and special offers.
The flexibility of chatbots make them an attractive tool: they can be integrated into social apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Telegram and besides being so easily accessible, they pass unsolvable problems to human service employees. Customers find it more agreeable to express their needs in a conversation rather than working on an app. According to a Gartner report, less than 15% of customer interaction will be performed by human employees by 2020.
However, chatbots are currently based on simple texts and predefined selection lists and structures. Some answers might be pretty dull and customers could be led to an employee after wasting time trying to explain a situation to the robot. The good news is bots are evolving to natural language processing. With no download, installing or upgrading, bots will be able to act on a person’s behalf, doing shopping and scheduling.
Merging the technologies
Apps can feel impersonal, while chatbots offer less functionality in a long-term relationship with the client. An efficient marketing strategy needs to incorporate chatbots to the existent web and mobile apps. Thus, bots can streamline certain processes and improve first customer contact by offering instructions and fast answers, while apps can perform more complicated procedures. This way, chatbots will not replace apps but upgrade them.
Innovation in digital technology is evolving at alarming speeds and it’s influencing the way businesses to work. It’s a challenging time for entrepreneurs and managers to stay tuned to the latest tech trends and pick the best lasting solutions out of the opportunity pool.