Last summer I dove into ‘chatbots’ for one of my articles, since I was amazed at the functionality and convenience that these bots could bring. However, even though I was impressed with the functional benefits, I can be extremely honest and say I still don’t use chatbots almost a year later. I don’t use them and frankly, I don’t know anyone else that does either.
For those of you that don’t know what they are, I got you covered. Chatbots are relatively new tech that allows for one-to-one interactions between brands and consumers. Think of them as virtual assistants on platforms such as: Facebook Messenger, Twitter DM’s, and iMessage. You can simply interact with a brand’s page for certain services. Need specific news updates everyday? There’s a CNN chatbot for that. Need recipes for any food you can think of? There’s a Whole Foods chatbot for that. Sounds pretty awesome right? Of course. However, I don’t think we’re ready for these kind of services. As a society, we’re not at the level yet where we need to send a food emoji to Whole Foods for a specific recipe. Sure that option is fascinating and cool, but I’d argue it isn’t very practical. Sure, we could use the Score’s chatbot for game time sport notifications, but you could also just use their app like a regular person.
When I first wrote about chatbots it was almost like a phenomenon. I envisioned a world where we didn’t need to visit company websites or apps and could simply get the bulk of their services by interacting with their bots. I mean why order a Dominoes pizza through their website when you can ask for one on Facebook Messenger? It all sounds really cool until you take a second and think of the alternative. It is already extremely easy to order a pizza online and I don’t think there’s a person alive that complains about this process.
For chatbots to ever actually kick in, they need to lean away from only being customer service oriented. An example of this would be the L’Oreal bot that was released on Mother’s Day. The “Beauty Gifter” was a bot that would ask you questions about your mother in order to recommend the perfect gift box from a L’Oreal brand. For chatbots to survive, they need to provide unique value for customers. If we can get the same functionality from your chatbot through your site or app, we are not going to engage with the bot. It’s as simple as that.
I’d like to know what you all think of chatbots. You can’t deny that the technology is cool, although the question is whether or not it’s practical. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!
Dakarai is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing, and is currently employed as an account coordinator for an ad agency in Toronto. When he’s not at the office, he’s most likely trying out a new restaurant, browsing AdWeek, or binge watching something on Netflix. Dakarai, but you can call him Dak. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.