As businesses strive hard to win the personalization race, the focus has turned to enhance the quality of engagement with prospects and customers alike. If you think personalization has run its full course, think again. It’s still evolving. With more brands and businesses jumping on the bandwagon, it still has a distance to go. You’ll need to work harder to differentiate your business from the competition in the race. Otherwise, you’ll be among the many in the sea of sameness.
In the B2B space, the challenges are steeper and sharper. This is best epitomized by the finding shared by CEB. It reported that 57% of the buying process is completed before a sales conversation is started. Thanks to marketing technology, this is possible. The encroachment of B2C marketing practices, which includes personalization, into the B2B space has added to this. In research conducted by SalesForce, it concluded that B2B businesses aren’t immune to B2C marketing practices. One it highlighted was 4 in 5 business buyers expect real-time communication. So, where is personalization in B2B headed towards?
One of the buzzwords in 2019 is conversational marketing. It is an extension of the personalization race. Not too long ago, conversations in the sales and marketing context were closely associated with a post-purchase experience, also known as customer service. The information age, however, has created a knowledgeable and savvy society. Today, people know enough to ask more. They compare and contrast, then pose more questions. With the prevalence of online reviews, tutorial videos and digital product guides, more information is just a swipe-and-click away.
In addition, people have grown accustomed to instant gratification. It’s not good enough to have answers fast, it’s got to be immediate. Now that texting, namely Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or Instagram Message are accepted as a communication tool, time to response has shrunk further. Slowly but surely, the monologue in marketing has given way to dialogue.
The seeds of conversational marketing have been sowed. It is changing the landscape of personalization. The benefits it brings to both customers and businesses are tremendous, aside from the instant gratification. Chief amongst them is a brand’s or business’ ability to nurture a relationship earlier. This leads to a deeper appreciation of customers’ needs. As a result, it places the brand or business in a better position to anticipate the latter’s needs. It has been reported that by 2020 over 7 in 10 business buyers expect their needs to be anticipated with relevant suggestions to follow. The barriers to providing excellent customer experience are slowly being eradicated. What can we expect as a result of this?
With brands and businesses outdoing each other to provide that great customer experience, the competition for increased market share is more intense. Add increasing commoditization of products and services, the battle for the wallet will boil down to the greater customer experience through holding better conversations with customers as well as prospects. The age of marketing transparency is on the horizon. To facilitate this, the dialogue must rise in quality. Enter Chatbots!
By 2026, the global chatbot market is expected to rise to USD10.08 billion in market value. It’s the clearest indication of the massive potential of a chatbot as customer experience becomes more intuitive and seamless. Chatbots are appearing in almost every digital interface people have with brands and businesses. Its capabilities are increasingly versatile too. In this article, we will examine how chatbots should be integrated into your web design and application.
1. Stay in the race
This is the most basic contributor of a chatbot, not just to your web design but brand aura too. An Oracle survey showed that 1 in 2 customers want to access a business 24/7. If you aren’t open to queries in the least, expect to be nudged out by competitors who are.
2. Greater personalization
As mentioned at the outset, personalization is a deal-breaker. The better it is, the higher are your chances of converting prospects to customers, customers to loyalists, loyalists to advocates. For example, conversational chatbots enhance the quality of engagement, making one feel they are communicating with another individual. It’s less instructive, unlike a CTA that reads Call Now! or Sign Up Now!.
3. Attentive and prompt
10 seconds or more for a video to load up and the site will lose 50 or more visitors. This is the work done by Professor Ramesh Sitaraman of the University of Massachusetts. We have grown impatient in the digital age. Imagine the loss when your website isn’t able to respond to a query. Chatbot, especially those built-in with AI and machine learning capabilities, can address this problem. While it may not be able to address every possible permutation of a query, it might be more acceptable to visitors after a while to accept a call from a customer service or sales representative later.
4. People-centric user engagement
The holy grail of user engagement is perhaps one where people are dealing with ‘people’. To meet the rising expectations people have of the ideal customer journey, it’s only with someone on the other end can these expectations be met. That someone is the chatbot. It can delight customers easily with the help of AI and machine learning.
With chatbots, every conversation becomes a source of insights about the customer. To this end, data collection becomes a natural occurrence. Every question and response builds a mountain of data that can help the business serve customers better. In the least, they can serve as hypotheses to be investigated in greater detail. Recall the point mentioned earlier about the need B2B customers have of businesses to anticipate their needs and respond accordingly.
We foresee 2020 to be the leap pad year for chatbots. As with every marketing technology, it will be accessible and affordable quickly. Whatever the size of your business, now is the time to start looking into chatbots. Speak to a consultant today to learn of the potential application of chatbots in your web design.