Have you ever used Facebook messenger to speak to a business or brand, and the speed or stiltedness of the conversation gave you a sneaking suspicion that the person on the other end may actually be, a robot?

This is a chatbot, and they are becoming more and more common. Used for entertainment, customer service, sales and marketing, they give the customer a more convenient way to access information without having to waste time searching through content. They also allow conversation to happen outside of your normal trading hours.

Chatbots are not about fooling the user into thinking they are talking to a real person, but more to engage with customers and make the interaction between a business and users more convenient and even have a bit of fun!

Digital marketing has come a long way, and chatbots have allowed us the capability to order a pizza, a taxi, book concert tickets or even buy the new iPhone, all through our messenger apps such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat, kik etc.

So what is a chatbot and how do they work?

A chatbot is a software application that processes the text presented to them by the user and responds according to a set of rules or specific commands through to a series of routing blocks, for the purposes of simulating a conversation with them. Algorithms used can interpret what the user has said and determine an appropriate response.

There are also chatbots that use machine learning and artificial intelligence, and these understand language and not just commands, getting smarter as it listens to conversations.

Chatbots started off as a simple greeting tool which sends “hello” or “how are you”, and has grown into a customer service stream for business. They are also a great tool to promote products and services.

The future of chatbots

We are still in the early days of chatbots and while there are many easy to use platforms out there to simplify creating chatbots, there is still a lot of growing pains to work through to ensure a seamless integration.

Chatbots are quickly becoming the future of marketing and customer support, and we’ve outlined a few chatbot examples below to give you an idea of how they can work for different industries.

Let’s see some Chatbot examples!

There are countless chatbots out there, and they all do different things. You can see and search through a list through Botlist, but we’ve listed a few examples below so you can see how some work.

Poncho

This chatbot sends personal weather forecasts wherever you are, but with a twist. Because why settle for a twice daily temperature update when you can have horoscopes and funny GIFs too! Just be warned, those CatLibs are addictive…

 Chatbot example weather

Lara

Lara from Match.com (a dating service in Europe and the UK) is a very popular and well known chatbot. Lara asks you through Facebook Messenger for your details then analyses up to 50 categories of criteria, including astrological signs, people’s imperfections and hobbies.

Once you’ve set up your profile, the bot will continue the conversation by asking what you’re looking for. She then analyses this information and recommends a series of different matches, with their profile image and basic information – and a link through to their profile.

Instalocate

Instalocate is a personal travel assistant where you can get flight status and delay alerts. They can even help you apply for compensation if your flight is delayed and provide information on your customer rights.

Example of a travel chat bot

Freddy from HelloFresh

HelloFresh (a fresh meal kit delivery service) wanted to build an experience through Facebook Messenger with the goal of reducing the average wait time for their customers.

Their chatbot experience includes quick reply buttons with suggested topics, and a gallery with links to recipes and their blog.

They have also used a feature that allows the bot to respond to specific comments (or even every comment) left under a Facebook post- if the user says a certain word then the bot can send them an automated message – perfect for those users who have specified they are interested in a certain marketing promotion or campaign.

Chatbot example food delivery

Beagle Bot from West Coast Pet Care Centre

While it’s not live yet, the Living Online team is creating a chatbot for one our clients, West Coast Pet Care Centre (a pet boarding and training centre in Perth).

Staff wanted an easy way to keep in touch with customers outside of trading hours, and a chatbot that uses quick reply buttons and suggested topics, as well as Artificial Intelligence Rules to reply with specific answers is perfect for them. If you want to know how much animal boarding costs or what time they hold dog training then Beagle the Bot can answer that for you – 24/7.   The option to speak to a human is also available.

West Coast Pet Care Centre Chatbot

Other chatbot examples

So now you’ve seen how chatbots are capable of so many things, and the technology is only getting better and better. Chatbots can:

  • Remind you of important meetings (Hello Jarvis)
  • Share news articles with you based on topics you choose (CNN)
  • Be your companion or friend (Mitsuku)
  • Show you makeup tutorials (Sephora)
  • Share music (Spotify)
  • Tell you how much you’ve spent on restaurants in the last month (Mastercard)
  • Order coffee and tell you when its ready for pick up (Starbucks)

While most of these businesses are only available overseas, we are excited to see these same capabilities start to become available in Australia too.

Are you ready to take your Social Media marketing strategy to the next level?

The Living Online team are constantly on the pulse of new technologies and innovations, such as the use of chatbots for our client’s social media campaigns. If you would like to leverage our digital marketing knowledge to reach your business goals, then contact us today.