Across the world millions use instant messaging platforms and speciality players such as Facebook messenger, Whatsapp, Skype etc. to stay connected. The ecosystem is quickly maturing in which, as many users open up to messaging services it indicates that people will happily talk to bots.

Chat bots are riding the rise of instant messaging as also, the fall of apps. People find it difficult to download apps because of the everyday hassle of navigating between apps. The main reason for the sudden rise in chat as a platform for interaction with services is artificial intelligence (AI). AI enables bots to give more accurate answers and enhances a users’ discovery experience and process. Chat bots are the newest, most smartest option for services based on artificial intelligence to talk to humans.

Bots gives users a sense of speaking to a real person. That being said, ideally bots are good at mimicking humans but as a design habit the user should be clearly informed that they are talking to a machine. However, there will need to be enough experimentation in place for bots to find their place in our lives.

Apps vs Bots

Armed with the ability to research a retail brand online, customers are today more knowledgeable than ever before. A striking 80% customers research a product online before visiting a store. Yet when customers visit stores, they’re greeted by sales assistants who aren’t aware of the shoppers’ level of product knowledge, don’t have a system that shows customers what they want and may even fail to recognise what the customer is looking for. Such a scenario could leave the customer feeling disappointed and the brand having lost out on a potential sale.

Need to put the geek in chic

The market for apps is growing and will continue to do so. If there is interest from industry leaders, just like there was for apps, the bot market will also mature. I don’t think bots will ever replace apps, the mobile world is complex and it will always be a mixed affair with apps, websites and bots creating room for themselves.

Bots will, however, grow into being the preferred tool for quicker responses. For detailed experiences, apps will continue to exist.

Indian context

Indians have adapted to instant messaging quite phenomenally and the numbers indicating the same are quite mind boggling. There has been a 113 per cent rise in the number of people using mobile messaging tools since 2013 in India alone. So it makes sense to build services around the same experience for an audience extremely comfortable with this medium.

An example of the power of conversation

The numbers and study we’ve shared below are not related to Talespin but rather to various reports which indicate the power of conversation in business:

When an airline responded to a customer’s Tweet in less than six minutes, the customer was willing to pay almost $20 more for that airline in the future. Similarly, in the telecom industry, customers are willing to pay $17 more per month for a phone plan if they receive a reply within four minutes, but are only willing to pay only $3.52 more if they have to wait over 20 minutes.

To give you a sense of where the industry stands, Drift, the maker of a live chat software recently conducted an experiment and found that only 7% of businesses using chat responded within 5 minutes.

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