No matter if you consider 2020 to be the start of a new decade, or you’re among those that think it’s going to begin in 2021, one thing is for sure: we’re at the doorstep of a new era. Conversational marketing is becoming increasingly more prominent, and here’s a handful of statistics to prove that:
- As of 2019, 66% of customers claimed that they prefer to contact companies through messaging apps. A similar number answered that they are using this channel increasingly more with every year.
- There are 300,000 active bots on Facebook Messenger, and the number is growing very fast. It is hardly a surprise, as intuitive and code-free chatbot building platforms are increasingly more popular.
- Conversational marketing is not just about typing — 40% of adults use voice search at least once a day.
Stats are one thing, but we’ve decided to dig deeper nevertheless. We’ve asked some experts from the conversational marketing field to share their thoughts and predictions for the upcoming decade. What can we expect to see in the coming years, and what are going to be the main conversational marketing trends? Keep on reading to find out!
I think that conversational marketing will be more and more supported by AI. That doesn’t mean that humans will be immediately replaced but most types of conversations are repetitive. Hence, humans can train computer systems to become better assistants in handling real-time conversations with customers. This also means that the cost of using conversational marketing will decrease because it will become a commodity and you don’t have to employ a large team of service agents responding to people in real-time. Instead, there will be only an initial effort of training your system which then results in low maintenance cost.
Will Cannon, CEO and Founder at Uplead
The further development of AI will make it easy to learn about customers’ needs and wants and suggest products and services tailored exactly to what they look for. Providing free educational content on top of answering service or product-related questions will be another thing to look out for. We can expect the voice search and voice bots to become a standard. Customers’ feedback will be used to personalize the future experience of the buyers even more. The technology will be “humanized” and imitating real human contact.
Arek Ponski, Founder at TeamBuzz.io
Conversational marketing channels that need to involve human agents, e.g. live chats, are time-consuming and not very cost-effective. Here’s where AI comes to the rescue.
Leveraging natural language programming (NLP) and machine learning algorithms brings long-term benefits. Although it requires quite a lot of effort (and expertise) at the start, it’s sure to prove fruitful in the future. The longer the chatbot is around, the smarter it gets — and the less human intervention it’s going to need. As Will from Uplead has mentioned, it will eventually lead to a situation where you won’t need to hire an entire customer service team. You’re only going to need a few people to take care of supervision, and the chatbot will do the rest.
It is no surprise that excellent customer service is the key to building a successful business. In the years that follow conversational marketing will continue gaining popularity. Companies will introduce smart chatbot solutions across all channels so that none of the customers’ questions will be left without an answer for longer than a few seconds.
Arek Ponski, Founder at TeamBuzz.io
Conversational marketing is certainly set to grow in the new decade, as more businesses realize the benefits of directly engaging with potential and current customers. Businesses will continue to look for ways to begin these conversations as quickly as possible, and in different points in their customers’ experience. I think one place we’ll see this is in customer support for SaaS businesses.
There’s a lot of potential for integrating chatbots into administrative controls like web panels in order to help troubleshoot issues. Chatbots will also be more effectively deployed to support general users as well. This isn’t only about improving customer support, but also a great feedback mechanism for businesses. By effectively gathering and analyzing the data they’re receiving from support chatbots, they’ll be able to better tailor their products to meet customer needs and even develop more effective marketing strategies.
Nikola Baldikov, Digital Marketing Manager at Brosix
This one’s closely connected to the previous trend. People tend to seek assistance in the manner they interact with other people. Because of that, they turn to Messenger and live chats. They want the answers here, and they want them right away. And that’s not all: if they’re not going to get what they need through one communication channel, they will head to another.
This is why omnichannel support is an absolute must nowadays. Your client may want to get in touch via email, through social media or chat on your website — and all of these channels should be working seamlessly. As Nikola from Brosix has mentioned, chatbots can do the majority of the legwork for you. If trained right, they can answer the most frequently asked questions very effectively.
In 2020 and beyond personalization will continue playing a big part in the world of business. Conversational marketing will be taken to another level. It will no longer be just about chats imitating real-time conversations but we can expect the introduction of the voice-based solutions in customer service. Companies have to do their best to make their customers feel seen, listened to, and taken care of, and nothing works better than giving them a chance to interact in real-time with the technology that closely resembles human contact.
Kas Szatylowicz, Content Manager at Digital Olympus
“OK Google” or “Alexa” are becoming increasingly more natural phrases in our everyday speech. Our lives are also getting increasingly busier, and the users appreciate how voice assistants allow them to multitask. Once a thought pops up in their minds, they don’t have to stop what they’re doing. Instead, they can just call the voice assistant and get an instant answer to their query.
Brands and marketers are well aware of the massive organic audience that messaging apps make available to increase and develop their two-way conversational marketing capabilities. I’ve heard messaging apps being referred to as the fastest-growing online behavior.
Keep an eye out for WeChat over the next few years — it’s massive in China and, there’s a good reason. WeChat, dubbed ‘China’s app for everything,’ delivers an advanced punch when it comes to conversations; it enables users to engage with the brands they are passionate about, digital payment services, call a cab, or even make a doctor’s appointment. You can do all this without ever leaving the app, wherever you are and whenever you want. The likes of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, the two largest global competitors of WeChat, are frantically trying to catch up.
Vince Bucciachio, Founder at SociallyInfused Media
Last but not least, even the biggest channels (such as Messenger) won’t remain the biggest players forever. Sure, they’re important and they’re gigantic, but as Vince has mentioned, it pays off to keep your eyes peeled for the newcomers. Apps like WeChat have one big advantage over Messenger — they are designed to cover every aspect of people’s lives. They allow you to get everything done — from handling your payments of all sorts to applying for a travel visa. This is a huge opportunity for conversational marketing and a goldmine of inspiration as well.
These suggestions are just an indication of what’s going to happen in the field of conversational marketing. We highly encourage you to keep an eye on the current happenings in the industry. One of the best ways to stay up to date is to watch our recurring Conversational Marketing Updates on YouTube. See you there! 🙂