Best practices for creating an effective SMS chatbot

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Though there are many different platforms for Chatbots such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, SMS (text messaging) is still the ultimate platform when it comes to chatbots. Because there are so many different messaging services now and it’s impossible to know which one your customers prefer, SMS is the safe option since virtually everyone is familiar with the concept of sending a text through their mobile phone provider. SMS also boasts the highest response rate for messaging services. So if you’re going to deploy an SMS chatbot to assist customers, here are a few best practices to keep in mind.

 

Set clear boundaries

 

When your customers engage with your chatbot via SMS, it should be immediately clear (either by telling them directly or by just making it very obvious) that they are in fact texting a chatbot and not a real person. Additionally, customers should know what they can expect the bot to do and what they shouldn’t expect the bot to be able to do. Research suggests that people are more understanding of a failed chatbot interaction when they have clear and realistic expectations going in. On the other hand, if it’s hard to distinguish between chatbot and human customer service representative customers are more likely to grow frustrated when a chatbot fails to understand seemingly simple requests or questions.

 

Have a fail-safe

 

Make sure to implement a number of friendly denials and error messages. Better for the chatbot to be upfront in stating that it doesn’t understand or can’t assist with a specific issue than to have the chatbot and customer run around in circles getting nowhere.

 

Make it easy to get a human customer service agent

 

Along with that fail-safe, make it as easy as possible for the customer to get connected with a live person when a chatbot is failing to assist the customer. A well-programmed chatbot can often connect the customer to the appropriate customer service agent even if it can’t understand how to answer the customer’s question itself. Don’t make the customer listen to several options and waste precious time like many automated phone response systems do.

 

 

Let bots answer the easy questions

 

Where chatbots excel is in freeing up human customer service agents by tackling the easier issues. When programming a chatbot for your business’s customer service needs, think about the issues and questions your customers are most likely to call in with. If your chatbot is efficient at recognizing and appropriately responding to the most frequently asked questions, that’s going to be a lot more helpful than anything else.

 

Don’t make it weird

 

Too many businesses are caught up in making their chatbots more personable or chatty like human customer service agents would be. As it turns out, customers usually don’t respond well to more life-like chatbots. For one, it blurs the line between human and computer and it sometimes creates unrealistic expectations for chatbots as mentioned above. Also, people prefer their chatbots to sound like bots. It’s unsettling to know you’re talking to a computer when it sounds so much like a real person. So just focus on designing a bot that’s quick, efficient, and has a neutral but pleasant tone.

 

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

 

Source:martechadvisor.com/articles/personalization-chat/meet-your-customers-where-they-already-are-with-sms-chatbots/

Businesses aren’t using SMS marketing to its full potential

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The average smartphone owner will interact with their smartphone in some way over 200 times per day. US consumers are spending 25% of their media time on their smartphones. It stands to reason, then, that US businesses would be spending around 25% of their marketing budget on mobile, but they aren’t. Companies are only devoting 13% of their marketing budget on mobile advertising. Budget allocation isn’t the only disconnect between the opportunity mobile presents and the effort that businesses are putting in. For instance, the majority of video advertisements are simply repurposed from TV commercials and many text messages are simply emails sent via text. The problem is that many advertisers group mobile marketing in with the larger category of digital advertising. But in this day and age, it’s more beneficial to view mobile marketing as completely separate.

 

Mobile marketing: a whole different animal

 

Each marketing channel has different rules of engagement. The people who consume these various media have different expectations about the advertisements they’ll encounter. When marketers treat mobile as a subset of digital, they’re bringing their perceptions of one marketing channel and trying to force it to work with a different one.

 

The reason traditional digital marketing doesn’t work for mobile consumers is because mobile is non-linear. When people watch television, they might channel surf for a while but eventually they settle on a program and watch until it either gets boring or it ends. With mobile devices, consumers are jumping between video content, web browsing, social media, mobile apps, shopping, and texting/calling. The attention span of a mobile user interacting with their mobile device is much shorter that someone sitting in front of the television. Videos and text messages must get to the point faster.

 

The wrong metrics

 

Businesses also need to look at different metrics when developing their mobile marketing strategy. For a long time, businesses have tracked the success of an advertisement by looking at the metric of how many people made a purchase after clicking on a link to the product. This doesn’t work as well on mobile though, because they might encounter an ad while using an app, open up a web browser to do additional research about the product advertised, then open up a shopping app like Amazon to read reviews and then finally complete a purchase. Traditional metrics often overlook this journey the consumer takes before completing a purchase. Businesses have to look at many different metrics to get a sense of how their strategy is working.

 

Location-based marketing

 

Many businesses are now experimenting with location-based marketing that will automatically send special offers via text when people are near that business location. This is one of the most promising mobile marketing strategies and it’s proving to be especially effective since it takes advantage of one of the most unique features of mobile: its mobility.

 

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

 

Source:    forbes.com/sites/baininsights/2017/05/16/fixing-the-disconnect-in-mobile-marketing/#6a4823e14dbb

Three things you can learn about SMS marketing from direct mail marketing

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SMS marketing is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal, but only when you’re using it in the right ways. One strategy for using SMS marketing more effectively is to offer variety in the types of messages you’re sending. In this aspect, you can learn a lot about SMS marketing from direct mail marketing strategies. Here are three direct-mail techniques that apply equally well to SMS marketing

 

1. Offers that motivate

 

The most effective direct mailers resonate with customers. These are the ones most likely to motivate customers to act on them. There are a few qualities that a motivating message will have:

 

    • Personalized. Customers should feel like the message was directed straight at them even if it was sent to thousands

 

    • Exclusive. Recipients should feel pampered—like they’re getting special treatment that other customers don’t get. You can accomplish this by making certain offers exclusive only to those who’ve opted in to receive your texts

 

    • A clear call to action. Don’t leave it up to the customers to realize what you want them to do, come right out and tell them.

 

2. Appointment reminders

 

Every missed appointment is a missed opportunity for a sale. It’s also lost productivity. For years, companies have been using direct mail to send appointment reminders. Studies show that a simple appointment reminder can reduce no-shows by about 35%. SMS is an especially effective channel for appointment reminders since it’s immediately received once sent and much more likely to be read. Not only will appointment reminders improve productivity and increase profits, it can be a great lead-in to getting customers to opt-in for promotional text messages as well.

 

3. Coupons

 

Coupons are the oldest marketing trick in the book but they’re still the most popular because they work. In 2015 alone, American consumers redeemed a total of 2.5 billion print coupons in stores. Approximately 87% of Americans report using print coupons that they receive in the mail. The numbers for SMS coupons are even more startling because they’re more immediate. While the average direct mail coupon is held for 17 days before being redeemed, SMS coupons are more likely to be used within the first few days. Though you might assume coupons are old-fashioned, they’re still a powerful marketing tool especially when combined with newer marketing channels like SMS.

 

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

 

    Source: business2community.com/digital-marketing/3-things-can-learn-text-message-marketing-01813543#pfSpQi7qkk1VdsRy.97

Making customer Service More Important

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You probably already know that customer service is essential to a successful business model. However, most businesses don’t make it a priority. The problem is that customer service ties into all the other parts of your business including sales and marketing. It is on the front end of the sale and the back end too. A customer will make judgements about your entire company and whether or not it is a good one based on a few minutes working with customer service. So why aren’t businesses making it more important? Here are some ways you can do just that.

 

Hire the right people

 

Part of making customer service a more important part of business is making sure you hire the right people to do the job. While some candidates may be able to put on a show for their interview, most will be themselves giving you a good idea of their personality. If they aren’t respectful and polite to you, then how can you ever expect them to be that way with customers? Look for good signs like dressing appropriately, saying please and thank you, never speaking over you. Better yet, if they take an interest in you or the company with questions of their own, then you know they will be able to make a customer feel comfortable during an interaction. And if they can persuade you to hire them, they probably will do okay in the job.

 

Get the right technology

 

Customer interactions are not restricted to one type of conversation over the phone or in person with your representatives. In fact, most people prefer to have multiple ways of communication to best suite their current needs. For example, having customer service texting available makes it easy for your customers to interact with your business on their time and without having to set aside extra time during the day for a lengthy phone call. Social media interaction gives them a chance to either promote or put down your company based on their experience and also gives you the opportunity to respond to it. Email communication makes it easy to voice a long opinion about something and even attach documents to explain better.

 

In every situation, there is a different way your customer wants to speak with you. Making sure you have the technology available to meet those communication needs will make customer service much more important to your company and more valuable to your customers.

 

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

 

Source: customerthink.com/5-traits-that-reveal-a-customer-service-mindset/3 Attachments

 

 

Personalizing SMS Marketing with Emojis

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SMS messaging is a powerful means to spread your marketing message to the masses. Millions of people have cell phones and use text messaging as a means to communicate. In fact, Forbes reported in 2013 that more people had cell phones that toilets. So if you are trying to decide between marketing through SMS messages or through bathroom reading material, you can be assured that marketing through SMS messaging will reach a whole lot more people.

We know that SMS messages are a powerful means to market to people. You can get marketing material in people’s hands within seconds or minutes that the message has been sent. But what kind of messages will be most impactful to those receiving your messages? To know what to send, we should understand how people like to message others.

Texting with Emojis

According to a report from Appboy, a customer relationship suite for marketers, the use of emojis is rapidly increasing in a variety of mediums. They also reported that people and brands use different types of emojis. For example, when people send messages back and forth, face emojis are the most frequently used. Emojis are used by people as a means of self-expression and to express their emotions. But no matter what emoji is used, the point is that people are using emojis. Despite the brevity that text messages already allow, emojis make messaging even more simple. When some texts a friend a joke, the friend can respond and say, “haha, that is so funny,” or they can simply respond with a laughing face emoji. Or if someone wants to show agreement to a message they received, they can write a message back or they can simply send an emoji of a thumbs up.

How Companies Use Emojis

Brands use emojis more to gain attention or to evoke an emotion. Companies want emojis to catch the eye of the receiver in their marketing messages. It is significantly easier to get a message across to someone if you have their attention. So are emojis a good way to catch people’s attention?

Since people use emojis within their own texts, companies have the opportunity to use the growing fad to their advantage. And companies are. Use of emojis in marketing messages has grown 20% a month, on average, this year alone.

Best Practices for SMS Message Marketing and Emojis

There is no harm in throwing an eye-catching emoji in your SMS message market campaigns. But if you do, there are ways to work them to your advantage.

Pair your company and brand with a correlating emoji. If you sell ice cream, make use of an ice cream emoji. For example, Domino’s Pizza used this idea to run a pretty successful Twitter campaign: they invited customers to order something by tweeting the relevant emoji. Use emojis that will make the most sense to your marketing campaign.

Most of all, make sure you know your audience so you know what messages to send and which emojis to use. Younger people might appreciate emojis more than older people will. Make sure the emojis you use match the audience and the message that you want to send.

People are using emojis in their various means of messaging. Companies have the opportunity to personalize their marketing messages and catch the attention of their readers if they use emojis that relate to their audience and to their message.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Sources: forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/03/23/more-people-have-mobile-phones-than-toilets/#589123565699

appboy.com/blog/emojis-used-in-777-more-campaigns/

marketingprofs.com/charts/2016/29617/the-emojis-used-most-by-brands-in-marketing-messages

socialmediatoday.com/marketing/marketing-emojis-8-dos-and-donts

SMS Messages Reach Everyone Everywhere

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If you are wondering about whether SMS messaging is an effective marketing approach, you need to consider where you audience is and what they are paying attention to. If you go anywhere and stop to just look around or watch people, what do you see? People on their cell phones. Which means people are sending and receiving text messages.

People are constantly bombarded with marketing campaigns. When you walk through the mall, you see big signs for clothing sales, new products, and delicious food. Some of those signs might be bordered with neon lights or bright colors. But where are people really looking? They are looking at their phones. Whether they are walking through the mall and simultaneously pulling up a coupon from on online ad or they are comparing prices at another store, people are constantly on their phones. Reaching people on their phones might be the most powerful and effective approach to get people’s attention and market your campaign.

Reaching your Audience through SMS Messaging

SMS messages are short and powerful messages that can be sent directly to a customer or a potential customer. The reach of SMS messages is endless. People can read SMS messages while walking down the street. They can read SMS messages while on the bus, or on a train, or on a boat. You might even reach them while they are driving a car (though for safety’s sake, we hope you cannot reach them then). You can reach people in the most private situations: while they are lying in bed, while they are eating a midnight snack, or even while they are sitting on the toilet. People read texts more often then they read the weekly ad or an email or a social media post. So if you are still wondering if you should market through SMS messages, consider the people you can reach at any moment of the day wherever they happen to be.

The Limitations of SMS Messaging Marketing

While marketing through SMS messaging is effective, there are limitations that should be realized. For example, federal regulations require that people opt in to receive marketing messages before a company can send them any messages. Do not make the mistake of sending messages to people who have not officially opted in to receive text messages. There is a hefty fine for anyone who breaks the regulations defined under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. In fact, Papa Johns and Clickatell Inc. are both facing lawsuits by consumers who claim they received text messages before they opted in or after they opted out. So if you do decide to reach your audience through SMS messages, make sure you know and understand the regulations.

Once you understand the limitations of SMS messaging, you can design an effective marketing campaign. SMS messaging limitations should not stop you from marketing via text messaging. If you have any concerns about the worth of SMS messaging marketing, remember that billions of text messages are sent, received, and read every day and that a global audience is in your hands since you are sending messages directly to the devices that are in people’s hands.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Increasing the Practicality and Efficiency of Chatbots

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AI chatbots are used more and more to expand the reach and efficiency of customer and company relationships. AI chatbots, simply put, are software programs that imitate human conversation. AI chatbots are used in various mediums and by many companies. You can order a pizza through a restaurant chatbot or send in a customer service complaint via chatbot. There are incredibly useful, since they can be accessed and utilized at all hours of the day.

AI chatbots can have a frustrating side though—they are not human. They try and imitate human conversation, but they are a software program. In fact, chatbot programs failed to successfully fulfill 70 percent of user requests. That means that seven out of ten people who tried to communicate with company via chatbot, left the conversation without getting what they wanted, and likely left feeling very frustrated.

Facebook is encouraging those who utilize chatbots through social media to simplify the chatbot efforts to converse with users. Or rather, Facebook is telling people to make their chatbots less chatty. People who interact with chatbots are usually looking to quickly receive an answer or order a service. Since one of the advantages of chatbots are increased efficiency, people want to save time and effort—they are using a chatbot rather than calling someone. So if they come to the chatbot looking for a quicker and effortless response and end up getting messages that are not helping, users are going to get frustrated quickly, even to the point of avoiding chatbots. That is why Facebook is encouraging chatbot developers and users to scale back on the conversational aspect of the chatbots and provide more interactive menus for users to get to what they want more quickly.

Facebook itself is updating the chatbot feature options. Facebook is leaning away from the free-ranging chatbot, one who converses freely with users, to a more practical chatbot, one that quickly gets the users what they are looking for, whether it is an answer to a question, to receive customer service, or to buy a product or service. Companies should take advantage of Facebook’s findings and scale back to simply the chatbot conversation options and provide users with a more useful chatbot interface.

Companies who are currently utilizing chatbots should not be discouraged by Facebook findings of failed user and chatbot experiences. Chatbots are in the initial stage of launching. A recent Yahoo news article notes that only four percent of digital business professionals use chatbots. So while chatbots are still a work in process, their use will continue to grow as they are programmed more effectively.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Sources: yahoo.com/news/facebook-wont-force-chat-chatbots-044554369.html

fool.com/investing/2017/02/28/facebook-incs-chatbots-hit-a-70-failure-rate.aspx

AI: The newest trend in customer service

Purple Man Quality Customer Service Communication

Customer service trends are constantly changing based on the technology available and what customers start expecting businesses to do. For example, customers expect to be able to communicate with a business on social media, which means you have to have social media customer service agents ready and willing to help customers. Customers are beginning to expect to be able to text customer service, so your business has to offer that as well. But what is becoming the newest expectation and trend is using AI to communicate with customers.

Salesforce recent AI, Einstein

Einstein was introduced by Salesforce as a way to help customer service departments increase efficiency and get a better understanding of what their customers need. The artificial intelligence at salesforce has been in development for a long time, but now we are starting to see how the technology emerge in different ways at the company.

With Einstein, for example, a business can route calls to the best customer service agent based on the AI determination of what the caller needs. Einstein also compiles data for managers to view in order to figure out how everyone is doing. Not only is it a valuable customer service tool, it is also a valuable tool for managers.

Other uses for AI

Artificial Intelligence at Salesforce is new and expected to improve, but we are also seeing it many other places. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have started AI Chatbot services for businesses to use when messaging customers. There are also businesses using AI in their ordering process, including Starbucks who launched an app that allows customers to say what they want just to have AI break it down and order the drinks.

The best AI Chatbot available right now for every business is text customer service. It is an amazing way to communicate with customers because nobody at your business has to be readily available to answer questions. It also saves a lot of time because your customer service representatives aren’t wasting hours answering repetitive questions such as information about store hours or daily specials. And customers don’t have to waste hours waiting on hold while your representatives answer other people’s questions. Instead, customers text those questions in for an immediate response.

Don’t forget real people too

As much as we are a society progressing towards AI use in the workplace and with customer service, don’t forget that sometimes your customers just need to talk to a real person. Make sure you have real representatives readily available to answer calls when a customer needs it. You won’t be able to get rid of your customer service agents by adding AI to your business. But you will be able to cut down your access to real people to regular business hours instead of having to have someone all the time. Or if you didn’t have someone all the time before, now you have the ability to answer questions 24/7. You’d be amazed at how much you can do for your customers by simply adding artificial intelligence to your customer service department.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: techcrunch.com/2017/02/13/salesforce-brings-ai-to-service-cloud/

3 Marketing tools to not give up

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With technology pushing us further into the future every day, you may be questioning whether or not your current marketing strategies are worth the time of day. And while it is true that new tools coming out are often more effective in reaching your customers, some of the old tools will never go out of style. Here are 3 marketing tools you shouldn’t plan to give up on anytime soon.

1. Email Marketing

With text being such a prevalent source of communication these days, it seems almost as if email is becoming less valuable. Even businesses are using more texting to communicate around the office than ever before. However, email can still be just as valuable as ever before. Here are some reasons why:

* Mobile makes it easier than ever to stay connected to your email

* Deals through emails affect a customer’s shopping decisions

* Everyone still checks their email every day, even if they don’t have mobile alerts set up

* Modern marketing requires a variety of ways to stay in touch with customers

2. Text Marketing

If you thought text marketing was ever going out of style, you were mistaken. SMS remains one of the most common and fastest forms of communication, even with all the new technology being added. Add to that the fact that companies are incorporating easy texting capabilities into smartphones and personal assistants, and you can be sure it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Just think, how easy will it be in the future for a customer to contact you via text if all they have to do is ask their personal assistant to send your business a text? They won’t even have to pick up their phone, and they can get immediate answers to their questions.

3. Billboards

While print advertising seems to be going out of style, the truth is that people still drive to work every day past a ton of billboards. With mobile-free laws being put in place, drivers have nothing better to do on their drives than look at the billboards on their way into the office and back home again. By placing a billboard in the right place, you can get a ton of coverage and really increase your number of customers.

It is also a good way to get current customers into your shop. It is a call to action reminding them you are there and you have something they want. For example, you could get customers in for lunch that day simply because they saw your billboard on their way to work and decided they wanted it for lunch.

There are even electronic billboards you can use where you can pay to have your ad shown at specific times of day or for a certain length of time. Check it out and see what is available in your area.

Diversify your marketing

Just remember, reaching your customers these days is not about putting all your eggs in one basket. No one form of marketing is going to be your saving grace. You need to diversify and use different forms of marketing if you want to have a maximum impact and reach the most customers. Whether marketing to current or new customers, being in multiple places will help make sure you are head of the competition.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: entrepreneur.com/article/287227

Marketing to a business? Follow these trends

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Your marketing approach is determined entirely by your audience and their needs. That is why your approach can change if you are focused on marketing to another business instead of the average consumer. You are dealing with someone who understands marketing trends themselves, so it is important you reach them in the right ways. Here are some trends you should follow for successful B2B marketing.

Marketing to one person

Remember, even if you are offering a service to a business, ultimately there is one person who will make the final decision in most companies. Even if there are a few employees that share the responsibility, you are still marketing to that specific person and their needs. With all that in mind, you want to use traditional methods of marketing such as:

* Social Media Marketing: Everyone is on social media, and they expect to be able to find you there. Your activity says a lot about your business, so other businesses will look for you there to see what they are getting.

* Mobile Marketing: Since you are working with individuals still, they will be doing research on their mobile devices. Optimize your website for mobile, and get text marketing set up. Being able to reach customer service through texting is a huge advantage, especially for other businesses.

* Influence Marketing: Endorsements are still very useful, even if the person who is endorsing your product isn’t a celebrity so much as someone in your industry who has experience. Try to find people who are influential in the industry or who your customers may be following on social media sites such as Twitter.

* Artificial Intelligence Chatbot: Using AI Chatbot to communicate with another business makes their interactions with you clearer and less frustrating, which is a win-win for both of you.

Branding consistency

One thing that is especially important to a business as a customer is that you are being consistent in your branding throughout all platforms you are using. Whether they are talking to a salesperson before the deal or a customer service representative afterwards, they want to feel like it is the same company. Make sure your design branding is consistent throughout your website and all social media sites as well. It also helps people to remember you.

Ultimately, your goal as a business should be to create an experience for other businesses that keeps them coming back. Everything from initial interactions to follow up calls after work is completed should reflect the same energy in your company and should give a positive experience to the customer.

Use marketing automation

Automation is everything in today’s business world, so adopt it in your business. It is an especially effective way to manage all your marketing to other businesses and to control what you are doing. There are a hundred different ways you can use automation to bring in leads, communicate with customers, and manage marketing tactics. Just start with one at a time, and you’ll quickly discover what you do and don’t like to be automated.

Ultimately, reaching a customer in the B2B community is similar to regular interactions, but should be tweaked a bit based on the business you are trying to reach. The most important thing to do is figure out who the person is that makes final decisions and market to their wants and needs.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2017/01/20/13-marketing-trends-for-2017-that-b2b-marketers-need-to-understand/#331700ff5341