{Re}Emerging Digital Media
Description:
Near future predictions for emerging and {re}emerging digital media.

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{Re}Emerging Digital Media

Summer 2017

Chatbots: Where Customer Service Becomes Custom

by: Ashley Elgin

Chatbots
Your latest purchase just arrived and it’s the wrong item. In theory, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a solution. But sometimes it’s not that simple when dealing with busy customer service departments. The options for contacting a brand have previously been calling, emailing and, most recently, Tweeting at the brand.

Anymore, these methods lack the instant gratification consumers crave. But chatbots are an appealing customer service tool.

Bots are technically ads served as customer service chats on compatible social media platforms. These bots aren’t people behind the computer, but are capable of answering your questions as if the bots were real humans. The personalization of the chatbot experience puts the custom in customer service, which is game changing to brands, media buyers, influencers and consumers alike.

The main type of chatbots affecting consumers are on Facebook. For a consumer, an ad would appear in their newsfeed and they could open it to communicate with the brand. Facebook states, “Bots can provide anything from automated subscription content like weather and traffic updates, to customized communications like receipts, shipping notifications and live automated messages all by interacting directly with the people who want to get them.”

Conversely, there are many benefits of chatbots to consumers. In 2016, Burberry had a holiday campaign that allowed users to watch a story, use a gift finder or select live chat. The balance of bot and human interaction can help customize the user experience. Chatbots can equally help with customer service issues and cultivate new relationships to increase sales, by describing the product selection.

Brands already have their own twist on chatbots, and Facebook isn’t the only platform that uses the bots. Also In 2016, CoverGirl created an influencer chatbot for the teen-messaging platform, Kik. According to Adweek, the influencer chatbot was created after a teenage American dancer, model and TV personality Kalani Hilliker. The brand is upfront that she is actually a bot. And unfortunately though she is not actually Hilliker, she gets more like her with time.

These chatbots are a great way to interact with customers, and collect user data. If a chatbot is working, the brands will know based on the ad results. The demographic and ad performance data will help brands target more effectively, which will increase impressions and decrease the ad spend.

The usage of Chatbots will affect influencer marketing and customer service strategies positively by saving time and offering a personalized experience. The personalized experience will further be improved by analyzing user data.

Consumers can determine whether they would rather have more privacy or tailored ads. In return, social media platforms and brands will fully understand and convey the data collecting process. If both parties are OK with the data and the experience is better, then it’s a win-win for consumers and brands.