Chatbots are complicated programs. They can be found on Facebook, business websites, and popular messaging platforms such as Kik or Whatsapp. In our #MarketingMonday segment, we covered how not to use chatbots. Now we will cover how best to use these bots in your marketing strategy. But before we get started, there is one thing you need to keep in mind: not all bots are created equal.
While the purpose of a chatbot is the same across the board–efficiency–there are two main functions in a bot: to converse and complete tasks. However, certain bots excel in more specific areas. Depending on your strategy, there will be different chatbots to employ. Here are seven different types of bots to choose from:
- Optimizer – Essentially the mother of all chatbots. The optimizer’s main objective is to make a task easier to complete while also being fast and efficient. If a chatbot makes a task longer than it normally would otherwise, then it’s not optimizing and thus not doing its job.
- The One-Trick Pony – A bot that accomplishes a unique set of tasks. These bots perform specific tasks really well and aren’t quite suited for a wider range of functionality outside of those preset tasks.
- The Proactive – An excellent news anchor for the 21st Century, this type of chatbot is designed to provide the right information at the right time.
- The Social – These bots are designed to be used within a group of people. They add some type of value in a group conversation.
- The Shield – These bots block unwanted interactions by swapping one party of the conversation with a bot. For instance, if you have a customer service grievance, a bot will act as your business’s customer service representative.
- The Chatty – These bots exist to start a conversation for the sake of starting a conversation. Note that having a conversation and completing a task are two different things.
- The Super bot – These bots are intelligent and can accomplish both functionalities of a bot extremely well (to converse and complete tasks).
(Dotan Elharrar, a Product Manager at Microsoft AI & Research, described the seven different types of chatbots and their purpose on his Linkedin
Creating a Chatbot Strategy
There are three important questions to ask yourself before choosing a bot best for your strategy. Take time to mull these questions over, since a poor strategy can be a huge turnoff for the people interacting with your bot.
- Is the chatbot used to converse, completing tasks, or both?
- What type of chatbot is most conducive for my strategy?
- What is the best way to use the chatbot within my strategy?
Ideas on How to Employ A Chatbots
Here are some ideas to highlight the potential of whichever type of chatbot you decide to use.
Optimizer bots offer tremendous potential to accomplish tasks pertaining to e-commerce. We advise any business with an e-commerce functionality (platform) to use a bot. Instead of using different landing pages to process online transactions, take advantage of the functions these bots provide. Optimizer bots are capable of walking the user through the entire transaction process: receive payments, setup shipping, and handling, and send a receipt via email. This offers a more simple, streamlined experience for users instead of having users engage with multiple web pages.
The One-Trick Pony
If a brand wants to increase awareness this would be an excellent bot to employ. This simple bot should offer a fun interaction with no real other purposes. For example, a book store could have a “Book of the Day” in which a bot is programmed to tell users about the book, its author, and the store’s price for that book. The function is simple yet effective. If a user attempts to expand the capabilities of the bot, we suggest fun and witty programmed responses that bring the conversation back to its original topic.
This bot has amazing potential in two use cases: e-commerce and information sharing. A proactive bot would be great to notify people about what they care about in advance:
- upcoming sales
- news stories
- weather updates
- traffic alerts
For example, a fashion designer can use bots to inform his customers of upcoming fashion trends. Poncho is another good example of proactive bot functionality: Poncho is a bot (within its own app) that alerts its users of the day’s weather and changes in the forecast. This bot provides information far enough in advance for it to be useful. A bot updating you on the rainy weather while you’re already walking through the rain isn’t too helpful.
These are great conversational bots. Mainly used for interactions, social bots encourage a group of people to engage with the bot and each other. Like all bots, social bots must perform a function that benefits its target audience.
The tourism industry would be a great industry to use this technology: a group of friends discussing an overseas vacation in a group chat can plan their trip with a bot. The bot can suggest flights, attractions, hotels, and upcoming events at the destination within the group chat.
Organizations that heavily rely on social media and group chats can also benefit from social bots. These bots have an incredible range of possibilities:
- set up lunch dates
- share information
- play games
- facilitate ideas between multiple people
The most important thing to remember about social bots is their benefit to a group setting.
Shield bots are great for removing yourself from unwanted interactions, such as handling customer complaints. Don’t expose an employee to a customer’s rage: avoid a volatile with the help of a bot! The best way to use this type of bot is when tasks are routine since you don’t want to over complicate the jobs of these bots. Shield bots have a wider range of capabilities than unemotionally dealing with consumer rage. Another function that shield bots excel at is filtering. An agency can equip a bot with preset questions to identify potential website leads, weed out casual browsers and funnel them both to the proper channels, thus saving the agency time and money through the Shield bot.
The chatty is a true balancing act: how do you find the sweet spot between wanted and unwanted interactions? Since the functionality of “chatty” bots is to chat, it’s hard to find the appropriate time to use them. You never want to flood the user with useless notifications. The aim of chatty bots should be to make enjoyable conversation.
Comedy Works, a comedy club in Denver, could use Chatty bots for their website: every time a user opens up a new web page, the bot tells a joke or highlights an upcoming act with a link to a Youtube video. It’s important to make these bots sophisticated enough to handle the appropriate dialogue but simple enough to accomplish its purpose.
If you want high powered functionality, the super-bot is the way to go. They can accomplish complex tasks and entertain users with their ability to communicate. Super-bots are the best of both worlds. If you’re not aware of the capabilities of these bots take Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, or Windows’ Cortana for example. Each bot is an interface complex enough to entertain users (Alexa can sing songs to you!) as well as point them in the direction of the nearest Japanese restaurant.
We hope this blog was useful and informative. If you have any questions, suggestions, or recommendations please provide them below. We’d love to hear from you!
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