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New Era of Customer Engagement: Why Businesses Need Chatbots in 2017

Abhimanyu Godara
Abhimanyu Godara

You don't need a big budget for this emerging technology. You can create a bot yourself.

Customer engagement: a herculean task?

If you’re a business, entrepreneur or a PR firm handling a big client's online engagement, you’re probably having a really hard time getting back to the fans and followers who want to talk to you.

"When will you release your new line of accessories?"

"Hey, I love your products! Please, please, please start an online store!"

"Can you provide an API for us to use?"

You see these common questions on your Twitter and Facebook wall, in Instagram comments, sometimes even email. Finding the time to respond to all of these messages and doing it over and over again is cumbersome, to say the least. You've probably already hired a community management team to handle it for you, but are they giving you the attention your fans do?

Chatbots to save the day

It was only last year that chatbots entered the digital scene. The launch of Facebook Messenger bots definitely played an important role in creating awareness and exposure around bots in general.

Why are chatbots the next logical step for businesses?

Chatbots can scale and present an avenue to have personalized conversations with users and customers in a way that hasn’t been possible in the past. They're automated, they preserve the personality you give them, and they do several functions that are otherwise time-consuming and tiresome.

Large enterprises, small and medium-size businesses, entrepreneurs, marketers, and anyone else needing to showcase themselves or their work while interacting with a huge follower base stand to benefit from bots. Below are four ways bots can fundamentally change the face of customer engagement strategies.

Your bot, your personality: Build a unique online brand

Customers love to know the real people behind a business – look at any ask-me-anything session.

"How does a typical work day start for you?"

"What motivates you to do what you do?

"How do you maintain work-life balance?"

Answers to questions like these give people insight into your personality, and, ultimately, that’s what makes you stand out.

Now imagine if you had a chatbot. Think of it as a digital twin who mimics the unique way you chat and reflects your personality in the process.

What better way to talk about your interests, passions, journey and much more than to have a friendly little bot do it for you?

Selena Gomez's bot on the Bottr platform, for instance, answers a mix of personal and professional questions and is a big hit with young adults and teenagers across the world. If you ask her whether she likes Instagram or not, her bot responds, "I LOVE Instagram! It's my favorite social platform to share special moments in my life with all my lovely fans. I am where I am because of them."

Save Time: The power of automation

If your business has a decent following, it's safe to say that you’re overwhelmed by your overflowing inbox. Most of the inquiries are the same FAQs you see every day.

You've hired and briefed a PR team, allocating them the job of interacting with your users. Now they're the ones tracking the thousands of messages you receive daily.

Sounds like you're making the most of your situation? With chatbots, neither you nor your PR team has to monitor incoming fan messages.

As an example, businesses like H&M, 1-800-Flowers and Domino's Pizza are all using Messenger chatbots to provide instant support to their fans, take orders and even showcase a range of products.

Bots are automated, and once you answer a question, it remembers your answer forever and responds whenever the same question is asked again.

Send bulk messages: Push promotional content

When it comes to advertising, chatbots win over social media event pages, status updates, and official website events by leaps and bounds. You want to promote the launch of a music album, push fans to buy tickets to your upcoming event or simply notify fans about a new and improved update you're pushing? Tell your chatbot, and your chatbot will tell anyone who asks.

The best part? With their marketing abilities, it doesn’t have to be an aggressive affair and can be part of a smooth flowing conversation.


A conversational bot takes whatever you feed it and packages it into visually rich microcontent cards with clearly defined call to actions, which feels less "salesy" and more fan-engagement driven.

For example, you want your fans to watch your latest video ad. A simple "Hey, Brad. Just released a feature with Elon Musk. Would you like to watch it?” works very well. In fact, it's far better than leaving your fans to discover it on YouTube or Facebook, don’t you think?

Sell better, sell more

You know you need to meet your consumers where they are, and given the amount of ecommerce noise on social media, you’re looking for a fresher, more effective alternative?

Enter conversational commerce.

Conversational bots showcase your products in a grid-like elegant layout which is both appealing and straightforward to potential buyers.

Take Tommy Hilfiger, for instance. Their Facebook bot implements a systematic approach to presenting their products after taking in enough feedback from a customer. In comparison, the Starbucks bot uses humor, wit and personality to connect with followers.

Bots sell your merchandise in conversation, provide relevant product suggestions based on your potential customer’s online behavior, or they resolve a doubt a customer might have before making a purchase.  

Bottom line

It’s not uncommon for businesses and brands to use emerging technologies as part of a growth strategy to gain more traction from fans and followers.

As for now, the world is moving toward automation where there's a bot for everything. Contrary to belief, artificial-intelligence-powered bots are not going to replace and rule humans; they're here to help us. A number of businesses are already using chatbots to drive fan engagement, marketing and sales.

So what're you waiting for? Go ahead, create a bot now and see for yourself.

Image Credit: Zapp2Photo/Shutterstock
Abhimanyu Godara
Abhimanyu Godara Member