Building a chatbot for your brand is easier than ever


As is always the case with new technologies, chatbots have become more affordable and practical as their use has become more widespread in the business world. When chatbots first became a thing, the cost and difficulty associated with designing one made them prohibitive for all but the biggest brand names. Today, even the smallest small businesses can benefit from a chatbot.

Why you need one

Chatbots are useful even for smaller businesses. For one, they free up human resources. People who want to ask a question about your business or inquire about an order, or complain about issues they’re having with a product you sold can initiate a chat session with your company’s chatbot over SMS or a social media messaging platform. For smaller businesses that don’t have 24/7 support, this chatbot could, at the very least, acknowledge a customer’s inquiry and submit a request ticket to human support agents to handle during business hours. A chatbot will also be able to resolve easier issues and answer frequently asked questions without any assistance from humans thanks to machine learning and natural language processing.

Chatbots also have a lot of the same functionality that mobile apps offer but with a number of key advantages. Chatbots are easier to develop and maintain than a mobile application and chatbots don’t require users to go to an app store and download a file which takes up space on their phone since chatbots operate solely on chat-based applications that most smartphone users will already have.

Open-source chatbot projects

Open-source chatbot projects are chatbots that anyone is free to use. The only problem with open-source projects is that they’ll most likely need to be modified in order to work with your company’s vision for the chatbot. Modification will require some knowledge of coding and most small businesses would have to outsource that to somebody for a cost.

Chatbot maker software

Recently, chatbot maker software has been springing up. This software operates a lot like website builders like Wix or Weebly. An advantage to this method is that it requires no coding whatsoever. The software takes care of the coding part for you. You simply use their interface to design your chatbot the way you want and it translates your design into code. This too will require an investment but it will cost a lot less than developing your own chatbot from scratch or modifying an open-source chatbot. Functionality will be more limited than these options however but probably sufficient for the average small business.

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5 Reasons to Start Using SMS Marketing



There are a hundred different ways to focus on marketing to your audience, and it can be hard to keep it all straight. However, if you aren’t using SMS Marketing, you will regret it. Everyone has texting. Why not use it to communicate more easily with your current customer base? Here are 5 reasons you need to start using SMS marketing.

1. Wide Reach

While social media marketing, for example, is a great way of reaching customers who are on those platforms, what about the customers who have chosen to use other social media platforms or who don’t use social media at all? By using texting as a basis for marketing, you’ll be able to reach nearly everyone since there are very few people who don’t have SMS on their phones.

2. Reach customers quickly

Almost all texts are opened within the first 3 minutes they are recieved. If you have a flash sale or are trying to reach out to customers with important information they may want or need right away, a text is the best way to reach them. It will be the fastest way to get information to a customer.

3. Ensure your message is read

Texts have a 98% open rate, which means you can assume customers are actually seeing the information you send them. What kind of advertising options are available that will guarantee that 98% of your customer base will actually see your message? It’s really the best way to reach your customers.

4. Millennials and future generations

The millennial generation make up over 75 million of consumers in the US, even more than the number of baby boomers. They are tech-savvy and spend a lot of time on their phones. Technology use is growing rapidly among millennials as well as Generation Z. And future generations are expected to spend more time on their phones every year. So why wouldn’t you want to spend some time focusing on texting and reaching them on the one device you know they’ll always use? It’s the best strategy to reach the largest demographic audience out there.

5. Communicate more easily

One reason why texting is such a great way to market to customers is because it can also be used for two-way communication. Customers can text in their questions and get immediate responses from AI Chatbot instead of having to make phone calls or wait on emails. Plus, texting can be done on a customer’s own time while other people are around or even while they are at work. Businesses and customers both benefit from easy text communication.

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Get Personalized Marketing with Artificial Intelligence



Marketing to customers has evolved over the years to the point where customers not expect complete personalization. There are a lot of ways to do this, but the most effective and efficient way is through the use of an artificial intelligence company. Here are some ways you can use artificial intelligence to improve your personalized marketing strategy.

Use of Chatbots

One of the easiest ways to personalize a customer experience is through the use of chatbots. Whether using them through a texting platform or an online chat platform, a chatbot will communicate with customers based on their needs. In fact, 49% of survey respondents said that they prefer chatbot communication through text, chat, or messaging than other methods of communication. It’s nice because it allows a person to communicate through text instead of speaking with a representative, and the information is clear and concise. Plus, the chatbot can read the information and produce a response based on the data the computer has about the customer and the product making it more personalized than a conversation with a person.

Automate Advertisements

While there are many methods of marketing, not many are as effective as social media marketing. There are a couple of ways to go about this that will really boost your company’s ability to personalize to the customer. First of all, social media ads are now extremely effective because they target consumers based on their online habits and give ads to the people most likely to be interested in your product or service.

Second, a great way to advertise is through influencers who take your product and advertise it to their customer base. Artificial intelligence can help you determine which influencers your customer base is most likely to be following as well as what types of ads and language from those people will be expected from your customers. It is a really fast and easy way to reach people who may not even know about your product but who would definitely be interested.

Personalized digital experiences

People don’t just want their online experience to be personalized anymore; they expect it. While people used to be nervous about online trackers that track their activity in order to provide personalized ads, we now see customers expect businesses to learn about them and personalize what information they are getting. Artificial intelligence plays a huge role in analyzing the data and determining what information a customer most likely wants to see.

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Source: bizztor .com/in/marketers-can-use-ai-boost-personalization-digital-marketing/

Social Media Marketing in 2018: Mistakes to Avoid



In 2018, social media marketing will become more important than ever. With AI chatbot working flawlessly with social media platforms and people spending more of their time on social sites, it makes sense for businesses to utilize the online resource for marketing. Here are some mistakes to avoid in the new year.

Avoiding artificial intelligence

Many businesses have already started to work with an artificial intelligence company to get it integrated with their marketing efforts. However, a lot of businesses are still avoiding it. This is a huge mistake, as using artificial intelligence on social media sites can boost your efforts significantly. You’ll be able to more effectively analyze what is working, change your marketing routine, and even interact with customers without having to have an employee there answering questions constantly.

The other reason this is important is because AI can analyze data for you and give information about what tactics are working in real time, so you can change your methods quickly to avoid wasted time.

Focusing on likes, shares, tweets

A lot of businesses focus too much on trying to get more likes, retweets, or even shares of their content without realizing that a like doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as a customer. Someone might like your status without ever even realizing you are a business trying to sell a product. Make sure you focus more on engagement with customers with the purpose of sales rather than just getting a like on a post.

Sticking with one social media site

There are a lot of social media sites out there, but most businesses stick with one, usually Facebook. The problem is that your customers are on all different types of social media channels, and while having a Facebook account is important, using other social media sites will broaden your customer base as well as make it easier to interact with customers all over the Internet. With that in mind, don’t post the same content on every single social media channel every time. Different social media channels have different purposes, and businesses need to use them accordingly.

Whatever you do, make sure to use social media as a part of your marketing strategy in 2018. Don’t get overwhelmed or scared of it. Just dive in and figure out what works for your business and what your customers want on social media platforms.

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Tips to Train New Customer Service Agents

Getting new customer service agents trained can be frustrating. There’s a learning curve that takes time, and it can be frustrating for customers to deal with the new employee who may not know what they are doing. However, there are some ways you can train new customer service agents that will speed things up and improve their customer interactions in the meantime. Here are a few tips.

Use of technology

Customer service is only as effective as their technology they have available to help them. Make sure your new agents have an are properly trained on all the technology they will use to do their job. This includes training them on how the artificial intelligence technology works. If you don’t currently have an artificial intelligence startup working with your customer service department, that is a big mistake. Not only can AI chatbot answer customer questions through text and chat, but the right artificial intelligence can also listen to a customer call or chat and give recommendations on how to respond properly.

Focus on one type of interaction

Some people will hire a new recruit to work in customer service and then immediately have that person start working on all interactions with customers. They will answer calls, texts, emails, chats, and even have face to face interactions. Not only is that extremely overwhelming for your employee, it can make that agent far less effective without the ability to really learn any one part of the system well. When hiring a new recruit, start by putting them on one interaction; give them time to learn one part very well before asking them to start working on something else.

Don’t waste their time

An employee who is sitting at a desk reading a list of dos and don’ts probably won’t let the material sink in and probably won’t be good at their job. An employees success can be just as dependant on the training they are given as it is on the employee themselves. Group trainings and one on one trainings, especially in the beginning, can be very helpful. Make sure all information they are getting is necessary and that you are presenting it in a way that shows why the information is valuable in a customer interaction.

Use role-playing wisely

Sometimes, role-playing can be very helpful in getting new agents to understand how they should interact with customers. Don’t expect that they will automatically know all the answers to all the questions that come their way. However, they should know how to respectfully and cheerfully greet and work with customers to get a solution, which is the main purpose of a role playing effort.

Teach creativity

A customer service agent’s biggest job is to be creative and come up with solutions to problems. They need to be able to listen to the customer, understand their needs, then find a solution that satisfies the customer without sacrificing too much for your business. Creativity is extremely important to this process. The work environment should be conducive to creativity, and training exercises should include creative thinking to encourage this type of thinking.

Avoid threats of job loss

One way to quickly scare any employee is to threaten job loss for lack of performance. While this may be necessary in some situations where employees are showing a lack of commitment to the job and company, a new employee might be too afraid of the job loss to really be able to perform and learn the necessary job functions.

Many customer service departments really struggle with the balance in this area. In fact, many will threaten job loss to agents for things that are outside of their control entirely. It can cause customer service agents to lie or to do illegal things to try and keep their job secure. One example is Wells Fargo where their pay and jobs were based entirely on how many new accounts were opened, causing employees to open many fake accounts in the names of their customers and getting in a lot of legal trouble for it down the road.

Ultimately, with the right training and equipment, a new customer service agent can be just as effective as an old one. Just make sure they have all the tools and information they need available to them right from the start.

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6 Ways Brick and Mortar Stores can Build an Online Audience



Being online isn’t just a convenience for customers; it has become a necessity. Your business should already have an online presence of some sort, it may be hard to figure out exactly what that is. Most businesses should be trying to focus on online sales, but just building an online audience to get them in store is also valuable to a business that doesn’t want to sell their services online. Here are 6 ways a brick and mortar store can build their online audience.

1. Use Automation Tools

Artificial Intelligence tools make it easier than ever to automate marketing to customers. It can automate texts, emails, and even social media posts. With a machine learning company, AI can analyze data from customers and use that information to give recommendations on the type of content your audience will respond best to and even how to personalize that data to each individual customer. With automation tools, businesses who may not be as familiar with online selling are able to quickly and easily adapt to being online.

2. Get a website up and running

If you don’t already have a website online, get it started now. Many customers won’t come in until they’ve checked out your website to figure out what you have to offer. And often, customers assume a business without a website or with an outdated website is a bad store or isn’t a place they want to visit. For example, when searching for gymnastics schools available online, a customer is going to pick the one that has a nice website that is easy to navigate and is updated over the one that doesn’t have a website at all or even that has an outdated, old site.

3. Show your products online

Whether or not you want to actually sell online, showing your products on the Internet will get an online audience more interested in your products. For example, a fast food restaurant may not be able to actually sell online, but they’d still want to list all of their food items and nutritional information online. People are at the point where they do a lot of online research before making decisions about what to buy, even if it is as simple as deciding where to go for a burrito.

4. Focus on your Niche

When building an online audience, your goal really should be to find a specific set of people. You aren’t looking to recruit everyone on the Internet; you simply want the customers who are most likely to make regular purchases from you. Artificial Intelligence can help a business determine their audience, but it is essential to figure out what your niche is and market towards those people.

In doing this, a business has a much better idea of how to best market online. One example would be for a company that sells baby clothes. The business would want to use influencers on social media who have new babies and a good following and then have them advertise those baby clothes in their social media accounts. Using influencers is an extremely effective way to reach customers, especially given that it is a really great way to focus in on a niche and influencers who already seem like they would use your product or service.

5. Have a customer portal online

When your customers come into the store and make a purchase, they already like what you have to offer. Offer a customer portal with something useful to them. For example, you could have a customer portal that keeps track of all their receipts, so they don’t have to. The portal might also give recommendations or allow customers to make a grocery list before heading to the store, as many grocery stores have available. A customer portal also saves a business time because the customers can get answers to their own questions without having to call in to customer service before making a trip.

6. Make online communication easier

People are starting to prefer communicating with businesses online. If they are unable to do so, they may simply work with another competitor that will communicate with them easily online. Using chat on social media is one of the biggest ways customers are starting to reach out to businesses. If you aren’t already on social media, it’s time to make a big change. Customers also like being able to communicate through text and email. And of course, they will still make phone calls. For small businesses, artificial intelligence chatbots can be used to answer questions through chat, text, and email making it easier than ever to make these options readily available.

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Six things to know about Gen Zers this holiday season

Young and happy urban people having fun with digital tablet


The year 2017 may very well be the first one in which Generation Z is more important to retailers than millennials when it comes to holiday advertising. If young people are an important part of your customer base, then here are six things you need to know about this particular demographic heading into the holidays.

They do their homework

Gen Z likes to research and read reviews and weigh options before buying; 80% of Gen Z holiday shoppers say that they research a product online before buying it and as the price of the product increases, the likelihood of researching it first goes up. More than half of Gen Z holiday shoppers said they began researching products in October or earlier.

What this means for businesses: make any relevant information about products you sell online or in stores readily available. Especially try to promote good reviews of those products.

They can be impulsive

At seeming odds with the previous point is the fact that Gen Z can be quite impulsive in their shopping habits. This is the generation that coined the phrase “YOLO” after all. 70% of Gen Zers say they make impulsive holiday purchases especially when they see a good deal, that’s higher than any other age demographic.

What this means for businesses: make sure there are plenty of “stocking stuffers” on display through the store and especially near the point of sale so they can discover last minute ideas as they’re about to check out. Online businesses can offer an online equivalent by offering a deal as shoppers head to their cart to complete a purchase totaling more than a specified amount.

They’re open to suggestions

Fifty-nine percent of Gen Z holiday shoppers said they routinely make purchases based on a retailer’s recommendation. Since they were born and raised in the social media age, they’re also heavily influenced by the recommendations of peers, bloggers, and vloggers.

What this means for businesses: Feature a deal of the day leading up to Christmas or the New Year. Publish a top ten list for popular products. Get the right influencers to promote your brand and encourage your loyal customers to share your brand and products with their friends.

They’re picky

On average, Gen Zers are four times as likely than the other generations to leave a store without making a purchase at all because they can’t find exactly what they’re looking for. They’re also the most likely to return an item in the week following Christmas.

What this means for businesses: Make sure you have plenty of stock for items that are sure to be popular. You might poll your target audience to know their preferences as Christmas approaches. Make sure you have plenty of staff to quickly and efficiently manage after Christmas returns.

They leave positive reviews

We’ve already covered how important it is for Gen Zers to see other people having good things to say about your products when they’re weighing the decision to buy. Lucky for you, Gen Zers are also the most likely of all the age demographics to write those kinds of reviews for you. An incredible 72% say they will write a good review for a brand when they have a positive experience.

What this means for businesses: Don’t be shy about asking for a review especially when it’s clear the customer has received great service and seems happy about their experience. You can also encourage social media check-ins by offering a small freebie or discount at the point of sale.

They’re kind of into smartphones

No surprise here. The average Gen Zer spends about three-and-a-half hours a day on a mobile phone.

What this means for businesses: Businesses absolutely must have a mobile-first approach to digital marketing this holiday season and moving forward. Emphasize mobile channels in your marketing budget like SMS and location based marketing. SMS is a great way to notify your customers of great deals since 90% of all text messages are read within about three minutes of being sent.

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Holiday Email Marketing Tips


Some of the most shopping people will do during the year will happen in the next month. So how can your business make sure you are a part of the biggest shopping season of the year? While email marketing has been looked down on by marketers for a few years now as a less effective way of marketing, it has actually resurged as an extremely effective method. Most customers will check their emails for promotions before deciding where to shop, and it could be the one place that reminds customers your product is a good fit as a gift for others. Here are some holiday email marketing tips for your business to follow.

Personalization is key

One of the most effective ways of advertising, and something that customers have come to expect from businesses, is through personalization. By working with a machine learning startup, businesses can set up computer programs to analyze data and give recommendations to artificial intelligence, which can then create and send out personalized emails to customers. It will send emails when the customer has put stuff in their shopping cart but didn’t finish checkout offering discounts likely to get them to come back. It can send marketing ads targeted towards families vs single individuals. It can even send emails to customers who haven’t come in a while and offer an extra promotional savings to come back. This type of email marketing will benefit your company and keep customers happy.

Build a strong, quality list of customers

A business is going to have a much better conversion rate from customers getting emails than they are from random people stumbling onto their website. That’s why it is so important to build a strong, quality list of customers who opt-in to receive the emails and who are most likely going to be long-term customers. Here are some ways you can build your email list:

  • Offer a promotion: A good promotion and a promise to keep customers up to date with the latest promotions is going to be the easiest way to get customers to sign up.
  • Advertise to customers on your site: If someone has been on your site for more than 10 seconds looking around, an auto pop up ad offering an immediate discount in exchange for an email is one great way to get customers on your list who are truly interested in your product.
  • Use social media: Use social media to advertise your promotion for signing up for an email club.
  • Post perks upfront: Customers who know they are going to get a free meal on their birthday or who know how often they can expect to get emails are more likely to sign up right away. Transparency is important in our society, but especially if someone is going to sign up for an email service.
  • Advertise with bloggers: Bloggers who post deals online are always looking for more things to post about. Give your company information and what promotion is being offered in exchange for an email, and have them post it on their blog. All their followers who are interested in the perk will sign up immediately.

Look at the data

The best part about email marketing is the ability to see exactly what happens with the emails you send. This data can be used to then focus your future marketing efforts to ensure a better conversion rate. One nice thing about machine learning is the ability to record and analyze this data on its own without any human having to look it over. The machine will then pump out future recommendations based on how the emails have been taken in by customers. The information, such as whether or not the email was opened at all, how many times it was opened, and whether or not a customer clicked the links to get to your website, will help you determine what should be changed in your future holiday marketing emails.

Take advantage of all opportunities

There are many different opportunities to offer a great deal, and it’s your company’s job take advantage of them. For example, sending emails telling customers exactly how many days there are left to order and have a gift arrive before Christmas is extremely helpful to them, especially as we near the 25th. In all communications with customers, offering a discount or promotion of sorts peaks a customer’s interest.

Make your call to action clear

One of the most important parts of an advertising campaign is the call to action, though it is even more important in an email to a customer. If they open the email but don’t understand what exactly it is your company wants them to do, they definitely aren’t going to buy anything. Make it clear exactly why you sent the email in the first place and what you want them to do after they’ve opened the email up.

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Source: huffingtonpost.  com/entry/why-you-should-be-paying-more-attention-to-your-holiday_us_5a1ef90ee4b00579aa29f9ba