Deepening engagement with chatbots
Chatbots often use a 'Pokemon Go' type of engagement pattern, where a rush of initial success is not maintained over time. That’s because today’s consumer is savvy enough to quickly exhaust a bot’s canned responses, and with them the novelty and usefulness that the bot provides.
But there are some exceptions, and their model shows us how chatbots can become an important tool for consumer engagement. The most successful bots deepen engagement by offering natural language and free form chat. If it seems more lifelike, we are much more likely to keep it around, either as a tool or as entertainment.
Today, we as consumers are spoiled with an abundance of choice. This means that chatbots will see a large usage drop off if they haven't been carefully thought out and thoroughly tested. When developing a bot, we should always look at what has already been done and ask ourselves "what's next?"
Despite these challenges, chatbots are on the rise. According to AdAge, “Research from Forrester showed 5% of companies worldwide said they were using chatbots regularly in 2016; 20% were piloting them; and 32% were planning to use or test them in 2017.”1
Apple has Siri. Amazon has Alexa. The list goes on. In many ways, these digital assistants are chatbots in their own right, and they have had explosive growth and found a meaningful and lasting place on our phones and in our homes. The opportunity to provide quality content is already in our hands – provided we deepen the engagement with utility, entertainment and a rewarding experience. If we don’t, consumers will quickly find another bot to have a chat with.