The latest developments in the rapidly progressing world of communications technology, you may have heard a lot about chatbots lately.
And if you haven't, chances are you've interacted with one before, possibly even without realizing it.
Just as the adoption of the internet and the spread of social media fundamentally changed the way we interact and communicate in the early part of this century, the next wave of change is at our doorsteps. And it's poised to overhaul our current perceptions and use of artificial intelligence.
Last year in April, Facebook announced at its annual F8 developers conference that it would be opening its Messenger platform API for the development of chatbots, mini programs designed to interact with customers on a one-to- one basis without the need for a human being actively managing the conversation in real time. Think of interacting with a brand or organization just as you might have a text message conversation with a friend‚??-‚??with that friend's ability to parse text and respond to inputs ranging from simple Yes/No questions and multiple choice requests, all the way to natural language processing limited only by an AI engine and the programming behind it.
With the rise of chatbots, brands can begin to feasibly fulfill the promise of social media‚??-‚??which I see as personal, trackable, scalable conversations and insights directly from the people your organization is aiming to serve.
Rather than sending your customers through a call center, or hoping they'll find what they're looking for on your website, imagine the possibilities if communicating with your brand could be as simple and as easy as sending a private, one-to- one text message via their social networking app of choice. Imagine being able to send notifications about new products, offers, news, or shipping alerts to exactly the right people in the same way. No standalone app required. Just natural, intuitive conversation with the people you need to reach in the way that feels the most comfortable to them.
When it comes down to it, market research at its core is about conversations with people. Boil down all of the statistics and number crunching to its core purpose, and it's about finding out what people think of an idea, a product, a brand, a way of life. It's about getting to know a group of people.
What better way to get to know someone than to reach them where they're already used to communicating with their closest friends?
With chatbots, respondents can easily and painlessly answer survey questions from right within their favorite messaging app or service. Whenever a research company has a new study available, panelists can get a notification directly via that messaging app to their smartphones, without having to download a separate app. Incentives, audio/visual inputs, and live online chats for qualitative research can all be handled directly through the messaging app as well.
And how do the costs, demographics, response rates, survey experience, and data collected compare with a more traditional online survey approach? For my capstone project to complete my master's degree in market research at Michigan State University, I recently conducted a proof-of- concept experiment to find out. I conducted identical consumer electronics surveys, one administered entirely on Facebook Messenger via Messenger bot, and the second administered via a more traditional online approach using my company's online email-based panel. What I found was a sweet spot between the two methods‚??-‚??where our brand recognition from current panelists aided in adoption and response rates for the Facebook Messenger chatbot, and where the chatbot added significant value in terms of mobile survey-takers and overall experience ratings.
Source: Chatbot News Daily