Technology has had an impact on almost every aspect of our life right from the way that we communicate to the way we commute. We have come a long way from communicating through landline phones and travelling using steam engines.
The advancements in technology have also changed the way we reach our customers and market our services. Gone are the days when we used to reach our customers through cold calls and pamphlets. Now, we have entered the age of digital marketing.
Unsurprisingly, developments in marketing have not stopped there. The newest technology taking the marketing world by storm is ‘conversational marketing’.
As it reads, “Conversational” Conversational marketing is the marketing technique which is based on the consumer-centric philosophy. It aims to provide assistance to customers at their convenience.These tools give customer the service and efficiency of talking to a real person and simplifies the process.
How do you do Conversational Marketing?
Conversational Marketing can be done through methods like Facebook messenger, Whatsapp messenger and e-mail. Not a day goes by when we don’t check at least one of these platforms. Therefore, it is only logical to use these platforms to directly connect with customers.
Facebook messengers allow interested customers to connect directly to the representatives of the company. This helps to provide a superior experience to the customer as they don’t have to fill long forms or wait for days to hear back from the business.
Live chat options or windows are also very effective. These allow customers visiting the page to directly chat with one of the executives from the company.
This creates a positive image in the customers’ mind who is interested in knowing about your institution at that point in time. Live chat helps them get their queries answered within minutes. This has also proved helpful in generating more leads.
Future of Conversational Marketing
It is clearly not possible for a person to be available 24*7 for attending the queries of the customer. It also affects the ability to multitask as one person can carry out a comprehensive conversation with at the most two people at the same time.
The bot is able to simulate conversations carried out by man. It can carry out one-on-one conversations with people using both texts as well as speech.
The realm of conversational AI is huge. Speech-based assistants like Alexa, Cortana and Google Home are all examples of the same.
Chatbots are user-friendly and convenient. That is one of the reasons that they are becoming increasingly preferred over the traditional forms of marketing.
Chatbots are able to follow the steps of the customer and can store the relevant customer data. They use targeted messaging services to provide them with a professional and highly personalized experience.
Advantages of Conversational Marketing
One of the most vital and noticeable advantage that a chatbot serves is availability. It may be the time you must be eating the morning bread or it could be the time you must be lying in your bed, the customer can knock in at any point of time.
There has to be a provision to handle these spontaneous show ups!!
Well, a chatbot is a key to it. It is a 24 x 7 marketer for your respective service or product, that can welcome the customer on behalf of your and pave up the sales pitch.
Conversational Marketing is nothing but the availability of the bot at any instance of time on the site. This helps the customer to get the answer as soon as he asks the question.
As we refer to it as a 24 x 7 marketer, it deserves to know all about your product or service, in order to perform the sales pitch. So, how can this be done? Well, it is way easier than training a salesperson, and way more time efficient though!
A bot can be programmed to answer the most frequently asked questions. The bot does it through identifying the keywords and giving the appropriate answers.
If the questions asked are too complex, it gets transferred to representative from the customer service.
A customer usually visits a site when they are interested in the product or service that the website is offering. At such a time, they are ready to invest. If they are greeted by an efficient chatbot which can quickly answer their queries, their chances of investing in the product increases.
2. Human Buying Experience
One of the reasons that people appreciate messenger apps like Whatsapp and Facebook is because of their ability to facilitate human interaction.
Attention, a feeling that no human can avoid! A platform that vends attention to each and every need of its customer never has to face a downfall. In making an online platform more user-centric, a chatbot plays a role of vital importance.
When you are into a selling segment, winning the trust of your prospect customers is inevitable, in order to meet your desired number of conversions.
To build trust, you need to give a reason to your consumer, a reason to visit your platform, a reason to trust your brand and products/services, a reason to buy your products/services and last but not the least a reason to become a regular customer.
Human interaction plays an important role in building trust with the brand. One of the reasons people prefer in-shop shopping is because they know that there is someone to assist them as and when they need help.
Although online platforms are offering the products/services beyond the edge of expectations, this psychological factor has made online portals suffer through hardship.
It is really difficult to create this kind of connection between consumers and brand through online portals. This is why conversational marketing is becoming increasingly popular.
Conversational Marketing techniques help customers to glide through your website. They almost act like the helpful pedestrians while you are trying to find an address.
Features like live chat and chatbots help in establishing a rapport with the customer. They help in building the trust level that human interaction offers.
3. Cost Effective
A head count is a very crucial number in terms of growing ventures, as it has to maintain the acute balance between the company finances and wedges of the employees.
Customers are nothing but the fuel agents that help a venture grow, so a company has to take care of all the needs and queries that the customers are coming up with.
In order to deal with customer queries, companies tend to hire special teams who can look after and resolve them. They have to cater to the demands of the customers whenever they arise.
In addition, if a company wants its services to be available around the clock, they have to invest in extra manpower. On the other hand, representatives can handle a maximum of two inquiries at the same time without jeopardising their efficiency and customer service.
These problems can be resolved by Conversational Marketing tools like chatbots!
Chatbots can carry out the conversations smoothly and can refer the customer to the sales team whenever the questions get too complicated.
An efficiently trained bot can work parallelly to 10 agents, though it needs back up when the complexity grows high. Ultimately, the company gets to collect a great number of leads in the bucket, by the end of the day, which it probably have missed without utilizing chatbot.
Chatbots eliminate the need for a person to sit behind a desk 24 x 7 to provide customer service. At the same time, it also does not compromise on the effectiveness to deal with problems.
4. Time Efficient
With the help of internet applications like Google and Siri, humans nowadays have everything that they require at their fingertips when they ask for it. Because of this customers also expect their questions to be answered no sooner than they ask it.
Conversational Marketing tools help to do just that. Due to their availability and accessibility, they can answer the questions of the customers when they need it. This saves a lot of time and helps to generate leads.
5. Customer Information
In traditional ways of marketing, while taking follow-ups on the query or site visit, the person managing the correspondence has to pull up the various details of the customer.
They will then have to constantly confirm the details with the customer which quite frankly can get very irritating.
This kind of correspondence gets tiring and repetitive because every time the person’s details need to be confirmed before handling their inquiry.
Advanced tools like chatbot have the ability to save customer information as well as the details to their query. This information can be made available at any time suitable to the administrator.
This removes the repetitiveness caused by filling of forms and helps to provide a superior customer experience. This information can also be used by the company to analyse various consumer data.
6. Unlimited Correspondence
As we have discussed earlier, there are limitations to the capacity of work that a human can do. A single team cannot effectively handle all the issues that come up to them, for every time!
This problem does not arise with the use of chatbots. Since the data in chatbots is pre-fed, they can carry out any number of conversations at any given moment of time, with the same effectiveness and efficiency.
This eases the load on the customer service team and they can function more smoothly with the problems that ultimately come to them.
Ultimately, to have a chatbot installed on your website boosts the morale of the customer service team and the whole Customer Relationship Management process can be smoothed out.
Conversational Marketing in Education
With the changing times, most of the educational institutes have their institute websites up and running. This helps them expand their reach and attract more students.
However, the same problems of dealing with queries arise. This becomes even more prominent when the university markets to students who do not live in the same time zone.
The tools of Conversational Marketing like chatbots have been known to be very efficient in dealing with these problems. Once they are programmed they can be placed on the website to help students any time of the day.
These bots are initially trained to spot the keywords that are used by students like “courses” or “admission”. Once the bot is trained it can easily handle the queries that are asked by the students.
For instance, If a foreign student wishes to know about a particular course in India, he can visit the website. While surfing the website a question arises. But due to the difference in time zone, no one at the university is able to offer him assistance.
In such a case, an active bot would be able to guide the student through the website and answer any basic queries that may come up.
If the student puts in the question, “What is the fee structure for BBA course”, the bot recognises the words ‘fee structure’ and ‘BBA course’ and helps him reach the place where he can find his relevant information.
This helps the student’s queries get answered and also improves the image of the institute in the student’s mind.
The bot would also help to take a lot of workload of the administration and they would not require a person to be constantly available to clear the doubts of the students. This would also allow them to cater to more students in less amount of time.
We are living today in a fast-paced world and the techniques of marketing have changed along with the world. The normal e-mails and form fillings just don’t attract customers anymore.
Therefore, it has become important for even educational institutes to update themselves with the changing times.It is time to get smarter with marketing by adopting the advanced techniques of conversational AI.