Thanks to social media, the days of having to patiently wait for a customer service agent to assist you (as you miserably listen to irritating hold music) are few and far between. Over the last few years, social platforms like Facebook and Twitter have created outlets for consumers to experience faster and more personal customer service. This has resulted in the ever-growing demand for speedier, more flexible, and even more personal online interactions.
The Rise of Artificial Intelligence
In the last two years, consumer tweets directed at brands and customer service accounts has increased 2.5 times (Twitter). In order to keep up with this high demand, brands have become increasingly competitive in ensuring they deliver the exceptional customer service their fans feel entitled to. This competition has paved the way for one of 2016’s most popular buzzwords: “Chatbots.”
For those of you scratching your heads, “chatbots” are computer programs designed to simulate natural human language to deliver simplified consumer experiences. Recognizing the power of these bots, Facebook announced that they would begin providing developers with the ability to construct Messenger bots back in April, providing fans with the option to message businesses in the same way they message their friends. As of May, there are “tens of thousands” of developers building Messenger bots, and about 5,000 Shopify merchants are already distributing order confirmations and shipping alerts via Facebook Messenger (TechCrunch).
How are Brands Using Chatbots?
Ironically enough, 1-800-Flowers has been one of the first brands to adopt this new technology. Known as one of the first retailers to use a 24/7 toll-free telephone number, customers can now place an order by sending the brand a text.
News outlets are also taking their social presence to the next level. Rather than flipping through the channels or searching online for the day’s headlines, users can simply text the CNN bot “latest news” to learn what’s going on in the world.
In addition to Facebook, messaging apps like Kik, Slack and WeChat are also being used to personalize online customer service. With the increasing demand for immediate communication, how will your brand adjust its digital customer support strategy?
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