Ten uses for chatbots you’re about to see a whole lot more often

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When the idea of chatbots was first envisioned, chatbot programmers and tech bloggers claimed it was going to revolutionize the way brands and customers interacted with each other. Actual growth of the chatbot industry wasn’t able to keep up with the hype leading many to believe that chatbots were just a fad that would soon disappear completely but 2018 is beginning to look like the year that chatbots will really start to live up to the hype. Here’s a look at ten industries that will see a shake-up as a result of chatbots in the coming year.

Customer service

An industry that’s already starting to see an impact as a result of chatbots is going to be further impacted in 2018 as more companies deploy customer service chatbots. These chatbots will handle answering frequently asked questions as well as getting preliminary questions out of the way to get an understanding of the nature of the problem, pulling customer information, and routing them to a chat with a live agent.

Data gathering/analytics

Because short text messages sent over SMS or other messaging platforms are less invasive than phone calls, expect chatbots to be used by companies for the purpose of data gathering whether that’s short cusotmer satisfaction surveys, or requests for information that they need like contact info or demographic info.

Healthcare

Anyone who has ever visited an urgent care clinic or emergency room can attest that wait times are a huge problem in the healthcare industry and treatment is often subpar as doctors and nurses rush from one patient to the next to make sure everyone gets seen. We already know that artificially intelligent computers are more accurate and more efficient when it comes to analyzing scans and detecting diseases. Chatbots will soon be used in the healthcare industry so that people can contact a bot, enter into some back and forth question and answering, and get recommendations on what to do next whether that’s over-the-counter medications/treatments or scheduling an appointment with a specialist.

Personal coach

Personal coaches, whether for health/fitness, finance, or any other area are a prime industry for chatbots since they’re adept at asking questions, recognizing patterns, and forming an understanding of who you are as a person and what your interests and tendencies are. Chatbots can pull from all of this info to customize a plan to help you reach your goals, whatever they are.

Concierge

In the hotel industry, there are many tasks that a chatbot concierge could assist with to free up human concierges to focus on more complex tasks. A chatbot concierge could assist people in booking hotel rooms, finding nearby food options based on people’s preferences, and requesting additional amenities such as extra blankets or pillows.

Sales

Companies are already using chatbots to assist online shoppers by offering product recommendations and assisting with online checkouts. Chatbots will soon be used to follow up with customers who made in-store visits and can provide in-store customers with additional info about products not printed on the label.

Personalized news

Chatbots are already being used by people to get personalized news stories delivered right to them. They can tell the chatbot what topics they’re interested in. But soon personalized news chatbots can be even more helpful. They can deliver local news stories that might be relevant based on your location and can even time the delivery of the news according to your schedule, for instance, waiting until your lunch break or after dinner to deliver the news of the day according to your preference.

Personal assistant

Personal assistant chatbots will be great for internal use within companies to facilitate better collaboration between departments or employees within departments. They can coordinate calendars and set up meetings or reach out to HR or IT for employees when the need arises.

User engagement

Website-specific chatbots are already being used by many companies to help their customers navigate their websites. They initiate a chat session when visitors seem stuck. Expect more companies to utilize these kinds of chatbots. In 2018, the majority of the websites you visit may have a chatbot that is there in the background to help you find what you’re looking for.

Banking

A handful of banks have already deployed chatbots but expect the rest to catch up in 2018. Banking chatbots can tell you your current balance, help you transfer funds between accounts, make bill payments, or set up recurring payments, transfers, or direct deposits without having to visit the bank’s website or open up the bank’s mobile app.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: knowstartup.   com/2017/08/10-amazing-chatbot-applications/

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No, chatbots aren’t stealing jobs, but they are making those jobs more enjoyable

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Perhaps the most successful area in AI research currently is chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs that simulate a conversation with a human. Through machine learning and natural language processing, these computer programs can understand to a degree what people are saying to them and they can formulate responses that are intelligible and appropriate within the context of the conversation. What makes chatbots such an exciting area of study within artificial intelligence research is that it is a practical area of study and one that already has real-world applications and implications. Businesses are already using chatbots in a number of important ways and one of the biggest uses of chatbots currently is in customer support.

Not everyone is excited at the prospect of chatbots being used in the customer service industry and some are claiming that chatbots will take the jobs of customer service agents. Ironically, these complaints are mostly coming from people who don’t work in the customer service industry. And the majority of those who do (80%) say that they’d welcome chatbots into their customer support team and that chatbots would improve their job satisfaction. For a better understanding of why that’s the case, consider the following points.

Chatbots reduce the mundane

Imagine you work in a customer service on a live chat team. Would you prefer that 90% of the questions you’re asked consist of the same five or six questions or would you prefer to tackle more challenging questions that require you to really exercise your brain to help resolve them? And here’s a follow-up question, would your work day seem faster in the first scenario or the second? If you’re like most people who work in the customer service industry, you’d prefer the second scenario. Assisting in answering the same handful of boring, easy questions day in and day out is mundane. It leads to decreased job satisfaction. Chatbots eliminate this by fielding the easy questions for customer support agents so only the more challenging and unique situations make it through to the human customer support staff.

Chatbots make customers happier

When customers encounter a problem or question, they expect a quick resolution when they turn to the brand’s customer service team for assistance. You can probably imagine quite easily (because it’s happened to you more than once) a situation where you initiate a live chat session with a customer support team and have to wait for several minutes to get beyond the automatically generated message telling your your question has been received. When a live agent does come on to assist you, there are still long gaps between communications because he/she is trying to balance several interactions simultaneously. Your customer service interaction with that agent starts of on the wrong foot and only gets more strained from there. Chatbots eliminate this problem by reducing wait times and freeing up live agents to give more attention to the more difficult situations that chatbots can’t resolve. Customers are happier right at the start because of prompt service and the chances of a successful resolution increase substantially.

Happier customers means happier customer service agents.

We’ve come full circle. Chatbots make employees happier and more productive because they make their jobs less mundane. This in turn makes customers happier because they don’t have to wait as long and they’re dealing with friendlier support staff. And happier customers in turn makes customer service representatives even more effective because they aren’t facing an uphill battle in dealing with an upset customer right from the start.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: entrepreneur.  com/article/299237

Six reasons your text message marketing efforts aren’t as effective as they could be

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Text messages are limited to just 160 characters. When you send a text to your customers, it’s crucial that every single word is helping and not hurting your cause. Language in marketing is always important but it’s even more so when the channel calls for very concise messages. The following six mistakes might be keeping you from achieving maximum success with your text message marketing efforts.

Too many words

Even if SMS allowed for more than 160 characters, you wouldn’t want to use them. The nature of the SMS channel demands a concise and clearly worded message that can be read in seconds. The research shows that people will only give about five seconds of their time to looking at promotional content before moving on to something else. You have seconds to get and hold their attention. That means no filler words of any kind.

You use jargon or textspeak

Unless your business is in a highly technical field and your target audience is well educated in it, you shouldn’t be using larger or jargon words. Aim to use language that virtually any person on your recipient list will be able to understand. For the same reason, you shouldn’t be using textspeak either. While clever little acronyms and emoticons might convey more with fewer characters, you can’t count on your audience understanding it and it tends to come across as juvenile and annoying rather than hip.

The wrong focus

Everyone’s favorite subject is themselves. So while it may be tempting to make your messages about your brand and about your products, it will come across as shameless self-promotion. People opt in and stay opted in to receive your texts when they’re getting something out of it. Craft your messages so that it stays focused on the customers and how your brand will make their lives better.

Passive voice

In active voice, the subject of the sentence is acting upon the object. In passive voice, the object of the sentence is being acted upon by the subject of the sentence. People prefer the active voice while the passive voice tends to make people lose interest.

Emotionless language

Good writing is compelling, not just convincing. You should use emotionally charged words that are going to be more likely to get your audience to have an emotional response and more likely to get your audience to take action.

No sense of urgency

Every text message needs a call to action and a sense of urgency. If recipients aren’t immediately persuaded to redeem a coupon or “like” your Facebook page or do some other action, the chances of them remembering to do so later drops significantly. Immediacy is an important trait of the SMS channel. People receive, open, and read text messages within a couple of minutes. If you suffuse each message with a sense of urgency, they’ll be the most likely to take the course of action you are striving for.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: entrepreneur  .com/article/298766

Six reasons your text message marketing efforts aren’t as effective as they could be

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Text messages are limited to just 160 characters. When you send a text to your customers, it’s crucial that every single word is helping and not hurting your cause. Language in marketing is always important but it’s even more so when the channel calls for very concise messages. The following six mistakes might be keeping you from achieving maximum success with your text message marketing efforts.

Too many words

Even if SMS allowed for more than 160 characters, you wouldn’t want to use them. The nature of the SMS channel demands a concise and clearly worded message that can be read in seconds. The research shows that people will only give about five seconds of their time to looking at promotional content before moving on to something else. You have seconds to get and hold their attention. That means no filler words of any kind.

You use jargon or textspeak

Unless your business is in a highly technical field and your target audience is well educated in it, you shouldn’t be using larger or jargon words. Aim to use language that virtually any person on your recipient list will be able to understand. For the same reason, you shouldn’t be using textspeak either. While clever little acronyms and emoticons might convey more with fewer characters, you can’t count on your audience understanding it and it tends to come across as juvenile and annoying rather than hip.

The wrong focus

Everyone’s favorite subject is themselves. So while it may be tempting to make your messages about your brand and about your products, it will come across as shameless self-promotion. People opt in and stay opted in to receive your texts when they’re getting something out of it. Craft your messages so that it stays focused on the customers and how your brand will make their lives better.

Passive voice

In active voice, the subject of the sentence is acting upon the object. In passive voice, the object of the sentence is being acted upon by the subject of the sentence. People prefer the active voice while the passive voice tends to make people lose interest.

Emotionless language

Good writing is compelling, not just convincing. You should use emotionally charged words that are going to be more likely to get your audience to have an emotional response and more likely to get your audience to take action.

No sense of urgency

Every text message needs a call to action and a sense of urgency. If recipients aren’t immediately persuaded to redeem a coupon or “like” your Facebook page or do some other action, the chances of them remembering to do so later drops significantly. Immediacy is an important trait of the SMS channel. People receive, open, and read text messages within a couple of minutes. If you suffuse each message with a sense of urgency, they’ll be the most likely to take the course of action you are striving for.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: entrepreneur.   com/article/298766

Customer Service Problems: What not to do

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There are a lot of things you can do right in customer service. Make the customer happy, show them you care, and let them get involved in your business. But what about the things you shouldn’t do? There are almost just as many things not to do as there to do. Here are 5 things you should avoid doing unless you want customer service problems.

1. Do not mess up on tape

Of course mistakes are going to happen. We are all just human and human mistakes are a part of the game. It is especially true that a lot of mistakes happen in businesses where the person on top can’t always be in control of what the employees are doing all the time. However, even if we all make mistakes, customers aren’t very forgiving, especially when the proof is blatant and on camera. This is the main problem airlines have been having lately where it seems like all interactions are being recorded in order to ensure customers are being treated fairly. Make sure you are doing your best not to make mistakes, but it is especially important avoid messing up on tape.

2. Don’t mess with the elderly

Our elders have a lot to teach us and should be respected. And while most people probably don’t actively work to take care of the elderly, they definitely expect businesses to do so still. Recently, Verizon shut off an elderly woman’s service because she didn’t make her payments when, in reality, she forgot to make them and was in negotiations to get everything settled as quickly as possible. There are actually rules in place to prevent this, but it happened anyway leaving an elderly woman feeling alone on her birthday because friends and family were unable to call. This is the kind of thing that people go nuts over and really cause an uproar from your customers. Do whatever you can to take care of all your customers, but be especially mindful of the elderly.

3. Don’t let pride get in the way of service

Too often, businesses or employees are so worried about their image that they are unable to simply apologize or take a step back to figure out whether or not they are really wrong. I’ve seen first hand how customers are quickly turned away and unwilling to ever return because an employee at the company was unwilling to simply say sorry. And honestly, you may not always be right. But remember there is a certain cost to acquiring a customer, and unless they are going to keep costing you money instead of making it for you, then it is worth it to suck it up and say sorry.

4. Do not limit paths for communication

Too often we are seeing businesses that want to cut corners when it comes to customers service and are avoiding adding too many paths for communication. Instead of having to keep up with all the different social media channel, customer service texting, emails, and phone calls, they simply tell customers to call if they need anything. The truth is, customers want to be able to contact you in whatever way is most accessible and easy for them to access, which means you need to provide as many opportunities to be reached as possible. The key to customer success is ensuring customers are feeling heard.

5. Do not avoid ratings

Many businesses simply avoid ratings sections of Google and websites that give ratings to their business. That is the wrong way to go about it. Not only should you encourage your customers to give you positive ratings, you should interact with your customers through social media ratings and rating websites to figure out how you can clear up the issues they are having and how you can help them be better satisfied.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: consumerist.  com/2017/08/21/verizon-shuts-off-customers-service-on-her-84th-birthday-against-state-rules/

 

SMS marketing checklist: 15 best practices you need to follow

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Nine out of every ten text messages are opened and read within three minutes of being delivered. But if your business is in the habit of sending ineffective, irrelevant, or untimely text messages, you’ll see those numbers drop and you may even see open rates decline and opt-outs increase. The following 15 best practices can ensure that your customers will be excited to receive and read your texts.

Include your company name

Even if you register a shortcode, the average person won’t memorize the five or six digit number and remember who is texting them. You don’t want to count on them saving your shortcode as a contact and assigning a name and you don’t want customers to have to search through old texts to find out who’s texting them so make sure your company name is in every text you send.

Personalize the message

Try to segment your phone numbers database according to demographic or interests so that the messages you’re sending feel more personal. A one size-fits all message doesn’t work when one recipient is a 14-year-old girl and the other is a 60-something-year-old man.

Start with a hook

You were taught in school to begin every essay with a hook. That’s good advice for a two-sentence text as well as a five-page paper. The first sentence, phrase, or word should get the recipient’s attention.

Make sure each and every text offers value

There’s never a situation where it’s okay to send a text that does absolutely nothing for the recipient. You’re sure to get opt-outs if you do that. Whether you’re offering a great deal on a product or sharing insightful information or sending a shipping notification, every single text must be doing something to improve the life of the recipient in some small way.

Use clear and concise language

Texts are limited to 160 characters. You can’t afford to be wordy. Carefully proofread each text before sending and make sure there’s not a single word that you could remove without negatively impacting the clarity of the message.

Use dynamic and compelling prose

Study up on creative writing and make sure your writing is interesting and compelling. Use power words like surprising verbs. Play around with syntax to create interesting sentence constructions. Vary your sentence length. Use intentional sentence fragments. Have fun in constructing your text messages.

Use, but don’t abuse, all caps

ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME MAKES IT SEEM LIKE YOU’RE YELLING. You don’t want your recipients to feel as if they’re being yelled at. You can use all caps for a single word here or there to create emphasis.

Include a call to action

Don’t leave it up to your recipients to guess what you’re getting at. Tell them to redeem that coupon, or to click over onto your Facebook page, or whatever it is you want them to do.

Use a URL shortener

A URL shortener is a great way to make a link to a webpage or video look more appealing and it also makes it easier to stay within the character limit for SMS so your text is delivered in a single message and not broken up.

Include opt-out instructions

It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law. Keep it short and sweet though: “Reply ‘STOP’ to opt-out.”

Make sure offers are relevant

Going back to segmentation of your phone number database, you can ensure that you’re only sending offers that are relevant to the people that you’re sending them to.

Make it sound urgent

If recipients don’t act right away, they’re likely to forget about it and more recent texts will move yours to the bottom of the inbox so make every message seem urgent.

Be mindful of timing

No matter how good the offer, people won’t take kindly to receiving it early in the morning or late at night. People are also less receptive to texts received during stressful situations like sitting in traffic or business meetings. Aim for lunch hours, early evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Avoid text speak

Just because all the kids are typing huge strings of letters that are actually acronyms doesn’t mean you should. Though they help keep your character count under control they’re also likely to be misunderstood by a sizable percentage of your recipients.

Don’t use emoticons

Seriously, just don’t. They’re a waste of valuable characters. Including a 😉 uses three characters and adds nothing of value to the text.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: business2community. com/mobile-apps/12-text-message-marketing-best-practices-business-using-01893467#cRHesEtMBtzioeD8.97

 

Five aspects to every good digital marketing strategy

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Digital marketing is all about predicting the next big thing. But while different trends come and go and as different channels and platforms grow in popularity then disappear, certain foundational principles of good digital marketing remain. Here are five of them.

A good data strategy

A key advantage to digital marketing is that customer behavior always leaves a trail. You can track how long a website visitor lingers on a landing page before clicking elsewhere. You can see how many mobile coupons sent via text are redeemed. You can track the impact of a particular digital ad on web traffic. All of this is data and all of it is useless if you’re not paying attention to it, making it available to the right people in your company, or making adjustments in response to it. A good digital marketing strategy requires a good data strategy. You need to have a plan for tracking, sharing, and reacting to all the data your digital marketing efforts create.

The right marketing channels

Digital marketing isn’t a channel, it’s a network of many different ones and what works for one won’t work for others. Even within a subcategory like social media, there are dozens of platforms each with their own demographics. A good data strategy will require a good understanding of the channels available to you and knowing which ones to spend your time and money on to reach your target audience and achieve your marketing goals.

Segmentation of your audience

You can get better results if you’re not treating your entire audience as one homogenous whole. Instead gather demographic information and segment your audience according to gender, age, and interests. This allows you to offer more relevant and personalized advertising to your customers and you don’t waste money on ads and offers that certain segments of your customer base won’t be interested in.

Propensity modelling

Propensity modelling is all about looking at behavioral data (what do customers end up buying after looking at this particular product) to try and guess what a customer is thinking and what they’re going to do. A targeted ad sent at just the right time can be the difference between success and failure.

A consistent message

Whether it’s banner advertisements, an emailed newsletter, or a text message, there needs to be an underlying message that is consistent across all channels and consistent with your brand’s image that you’ve worked so hard to establish.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: martechadvisor   .com/articles/content-marketing/six-essential-aspects-of-successful-digital-marketing/