Chatbots are changing the lives of many. Little by little, more consumers are exposed to the wonders of our intelligent chat interfaces. It seems, for the chatbot trend, there is no slowing down.
As a company, we focus on developing chatbots for mid to large companies. Most of the time, the companies we work with already have a brand. Our job does not stop at developing and delivering the chatbot. We also work alongside the company to make sure their chatbot and their brand align.
In this article, I want to talk about the impact of chatbots for brands. Where does the impact hit? What are the opportunities to grab and the pitfalls to avoid?
A new dimension to branding
It's clear: chatbots bring a whole new dimension to branding.
When we think of a company's brand, we tend to think of colours, website, logo, or even tone of voice on social media. A brand like Innocent, for instance, has a vastly different tone of voice on Twitter than Microsoft.
Chatbots bring new, uncharted territory for companies to explore in terms of branding. On top of defining what your brand looks like, you need to define how your brand speaks.
For brands like Innocent, Microsoft, and anyone else looking into chatbots, there is now a need to figure out how an automated robot would speak for them. Though they can start to build this conversational dimension of their brand using the guidelines their employees already use, they will need to define one level deeper.
How does your brand speak? How should your chatbot speak when it doesn't understand something? How should your chatbot start and end conversations?
This is an exciting revolution for branding experts. It is a fantastic new channel to explore with unique aspects to discover and define together, as a brand.
The advantages of chatbots for brands
There are many advantages for companies to deploy chatbots. Obvious statement coming from me.
I think the main advantage for brands to deploy a chatbot is to explore uncharted territory.
Imagine being there at the start of the internet, making your company's very first website. Imagine being there at the start of social media, making your company's first Facebook post or tweet.
Think of the possibilities both these tech revolutions brought to businesses worldwide. We are now at the start of a similar revolution. Chatbots allow you to get creative in ways you never could before. They allow you to explore new ways of interacting with your customers. They allow your customers to interact in new ways with your brand, something that never happened before.
Developing your brand's conversational dimension is not as easy as it sounds. You may think you can get away with speaking to a few of your best reps and copy the way they speak to clients into the chatbot. After all, they do a good job at it and they hold conversations, right?
Yes, but no.
Your chatbot is going to be a fully automated, always-on machine that your customers are going to talk to. As smart as your chatbot is, it will not come up with ways of handling brand new issues by itself if confronted to it. It is not human.
You need to define ways in which your chatbot interacts. You need precise guidelines that go beyond lingo and punctuation. Your chatbot needs its own personality.
Like I always say, the best way to achieve greatness with chatbots is to start slow. No one is asking you to release a perfect chatbot. You can start slow by focusing on simple tasks. You can start slow by giving it simple personality traits.
There is always time to ramp up and refine later on.