When I want to buy something online, I go through a bunch of processes before I actually make my decision. I am sure you know what I mean.

 

It is true, we are saturated with a lot of products and having such a wide variety to choose from is sometimes overwhelming. I know this and marketer around the world know this.

 

You have got to persuade people to buy your product and services, or as we say, “guide customers through the choice-making process” and now more than ever you have got to be creative about it hence the rise of chatbots.

 

For those who are not familiar with the term, “Bots” — as people have begun to shorten them — is a software program or a virtual assistant that can have human-like conversations with customers to help them take decisions.

 

Among the three types of chatbots namely, commerce, service and content bots a lot can be done. Commerce chatbots can expedite transactions on behalf of users by engaging in a conversation. Service chatbots can do a job on behalf of the user or answer their questions, just like a traditional customer service representative and Content chatbotscan impart information, such as the weather forecast, or tell stories in a dynamic and conversational way.

 

It is interesting that they can be fully integrated inside Messenger Services such as Facebook Messenger, Kik and Skype and the list of their potential uses are quite a lot.

 

This software could be a game changer in terms of sales and supporting consumers across industries in Ghana like Travel, Financial Services, Healthcare, Utilities, Retail, Media, Education, Fashion and lot more.

 

Here is a list of some companies globally that I found interesting and have successfully used chatbots in their operations. Let me know what you think.

 

1.    Iceland Air has created a Facebook Messenger chatbot that helps people book flights that stopover in Iceland. Users can start a conversation with the bot via the message tab on the brand’s official Facebook page.

 

2.    KLM is now using Facebook’s chatbot platform Messenger for Business to communicate with passengers before departure. Customers can check-in, receive their boarding pass, get travel updates and request seat changes through the Messenger dialogue box. Customers can ask questions 24 hours a day and in 13 different languages.

 

3.    EBay has launched a chatbot on Facebook Messenger that allows users to browse through the billion items available on the retail platform by asking the bot questions or uploading a photo.

 

4.    Sephora, Beauty brand is using messaging app Kik to engage potential customers in one-on- one conversations. Customers will now be able to get makeup tips, browse and buy products by chatting to the company’s bot.

 

5.    Taco Bell launched a food ordering bot on workplace messaging platform Slack earlier this year. It allows users to place a pick-up order from within the platform. TacoBot can answer questions, recommend items and organize group orders – a task that can otherwise be a lot of hassle.

 

6.    Spixii has created an insurance chatbot designed to sit within an insurance company’s app. The bot converses with a user to gain information about what kind of cover they need before recommending a policy. It can even detect when someone engages in an activity not covered by their insurance policy and then prompt them with a message.

 

7.    Lemonade, Insurance company, currently offers home insurance, operates both on the web and on mobile. It promises to get new customers insured in around 90 seconds by using a conversational UI called Maya. This Chabot interacts with people in the app (or on the website), asking questions like ‘do you own or rent your home’ and ‘do you have a fire alarm’ to ascertain the type of insurance required and the c.

 

It is true that some say chatbots may one day take over from app but there is a lot of skepticism about that seeing as there is still room for improvement with chatbots.

 

I think despite the skepticism surrounding chatbots; marketers should not dismiss the idea of using them more.

 

Bots provide brands with a way to reach young audiences in a dynamic way and build more meaningful relationships with their customers.