Let’s face it – millennials matter. Why do they matter? They spend significantly, they decide which businesses are awesome and which ones need to go. They are very clear about what they want and how much it actually costs. Millennials have grown up surrounded by technology and are practically digital natives.
Not only do they not get tied up by technology, they actually use it as a perk. They are not very keen on sharing detailed information about themselves (well, at least out of social media platforms), but expect you to provide them with highly personalised services. Yes, they are tough.
Now, what needs to be considered is that with this level of confidence and intelligence, millennials hold the power to decide which technologies were born to survive. It is also notable that they are already used to chatting and seem to quite like it. In fact, they prefer to ‘text’ rather than ‘talk’. From the marketing perspective, this means, millennials are trusting bots and it is time for brands to find out why and how chatbot services can be used to better connect with them.
Millennials prefer to talk to bots…
A study conducted by CARAVAN shows that millennials openly state that they prefer to rely on chatbots for simple solutions. Two out of five millennials will depend on chatbots for rather than humans for simple tasks like ordering food, online shopping, scheduling meetings, etc.
They like chatbots because…
- Bots integrated with the apps (like Facebook Messenger, Skype, Slack etc.) that are already installed in millennials’ devices, making it easy for them to avail services instantly without needing to switch to another platform at any point of the buying process. They are used to the technical and lifestyle convenience of chatting with bots since the days of AOL Instant Messenger. Now, ‘talking’ to bots comes naturally to them. Did you know, nowadays, on an average, millennials spend nearly an hour a day on Facebook’s mobile app?
- Instant gratification – that’s what millennials are constantly looking for. With every new technological breakthrough, their demand for an immediate reply has grown. Bots can provide them with just that. That’s why, when given a choice between calling on a number, sending an email and asking a bot, most millennials prefer to go for the last option.
- Chatbots leverage the power of conversations. One often overlooked fact is that millennials are not just constantly connected, they are constantly communicating too. Whether they are checking Instagram, Tweeting, scrolling through Facebook, competing of Pokemon Go or messaging on WhatsApp, they are communicating in some way with others. More than their elders, millennials crave to share their voice, participate and want to be heard. They obviously expect answers too. As said earlier, they do like to talk, only with bots. Now chatbots not only help them communicate or hold conversations but also enable them to complete other tasks, thereby simplifying their daily lives. What’s not to like about that?
When you think about it, it is really the millennials who start the ‘chatbot revolution’. Their trust and their demands were two of the most vital driving factors behind advancements of chatbots. Now the points to be noted here are:
- The history of chatbots isn’t exactly a short one. However, it is only recently that the technology has become efficient enough to support fully-operational artificial intelligence – (AI) based solutions.
- Businesses always keep an eye out on the likes, dislikes and demands of millennials. Brands are always on the lookout for new technology that would meet those demands.
- The technological landscape is fairly ready to adopt new features into the ecosystem of popular messengers.
Businesses are now considering what is it exactly that millennials want from chatbot technology and how brands can cater to them.
Strengthening customer service
Owing to the convenience, most consumers prefer to buy stuffs online on a regular basis. It is definitely a faster and smoother process. Yet, when sometimes orders go awry, brands are still handling the issues like they have always done – through emails, phones or, at the very best, social media. As a result, it takes too much time to reply to complaints, queries and requests. The delay can often be misunderstood by clients, they may think that the brand does not care about them.
A chatbot, on the other hand, can field questions round the clock. It can do so repeatedly, constantly, tirelessly and most importantly, accurately. Minor issues in e-commerce can be easily solved by a chatbot. E-commerce brands using bots can easily gather information, understand the context and provide solution, thereby improving customer service & retention.
Simplifying sales and targeting
Many times, consumers come across some products online but don’t feel like navigating a company website to find that product and purchase it. It is then that brands need to reach out to the consumers right where they already are – social media platforms. ‘Conversational commerce’, a new word used to describe the process of purchasing through online conversations and brands can use this to connect to customers.
Chatbots can connect with customers through messenger apps and chatbots. These bots can look at the user’s browsing history, purchasing behaviour and then curate a list of products for them, which the user is most likely to purchase. It does not just mean only increased sales for brands, but also amplifies targeting capabilities in an overly competitive scenario.
Take the example of Taco Bell. Taco Bell released a bot that allows users to place orders through conversations on social media. Last year, Domino’s allowed customers place pizza orders via social media. Domino’s also has it Facebook Messenger bot which can help users order their pizza easily. And it goes without saying that customers ordering from a brand on social media is the best possible endorsement for the brand.
Chatbots are readily becoming efficient assistants to their users. Very soon, chatbots will be able to make travel bookings, schedule meetings, deliver documents, nurture sales leads in the initial stages and resolve minor technical issues. Imagine how much more productive that can make one in the workplace. Bots can be accessed at anytime anywhere. Millennials are already skipping the regular Google search to find answers from bots in a conversational interface. Developed smartly with sophisticated analytics, interacting with workplace-assistant bots can prove to be immensely helpful for users.
Many brands are currently pondering how chatbot development will impact their strategic plans, many others have already embraced this technology. Meanwhile, millennials are mastering the chatbots swiftly. Thus, not thinking about implementing bots right now can adversely affect a brand’s marketing efforts in the next few years. Each brand, however, must find the right balance of bot and human. A smart blend of humans and technology is certainly required to have a competitive edge in the future of digital business.