The name is Bot, Chatbot: How to shake up conversions with stirring conversations

The name is Bot, Chatbot: How to shake up conversions with stirring conversations 800 450 C-Suite Network

Think back to five short years ago: Facebook IPO’d; Oxford American Dictionary named “gif” its word of the year; and your only options to order pizza were by phone or on a website.

Five years! It seems like forever ago.

Now, Facebook stock has only gone up since its much-decried stock market debut, gifs are old hat (though the “jif” vs. “gif” pronunciation debate rages on), and you can order pizza by text, chatbot, Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana and more.

It’s not just pizza. New technology is changing the way we behave as consumers and marketers. The landing page, once the internet’s gatekeeper and conversion hotspot, is becoming unessential. It’s a middleman that’s growing middle-aged and might not know what “the cool thing” is anymore.

The new conversion platform for brands and commerce?

Conversation.

From AI with love

Where the conversation happens matters.

According to a 2016 Ovum study, 53 percent of American and German respondents stated that they favor talking with businesses through chat apps versus the phone, mainly because of speed and convenience.

Meanwhile, 50.6 percent of consumers responding to a 2016 Ubisend survey said they believed that a business should be able to respond to their queries 24/7.

So, we have soaring usage of messaging apps, and a considerable number of our customers who believe we should be contactable 24/7. But staffing a customer service center 24/7 is costly and expends human capital by the bucketload.

Enter stage left: chatbots.

Take stage center for explanation purposes: XiaoIce, sometimes dubbed “Cortana’s little sister.”

Created by Microsoft (my employer) in 2014, XiaoIce is an AI chatbot that is based in part on Bing’s search technology. She’s designed to have a high IQ, as well as high EQ (Emotional Quotient, or emotional intelligence), to help her build strong bonds and connections with humans.

She’s able to remember and learn from previous conversations, and she is sensitive to emotions. For example, if you chat with her about a relationship ending, she’ll put you on a 33-day break-up recovery plan, checking in with you throughout.

To say she is popular would be an understatement. In just her first three days, XiaoIce was added to 1.5 million conversations on WeChat. On Weibo, she’s one of the most popular celebrity accounts. Can you imagine a bot having celebrity status? She has approximately 40 million users in China, with incredible engagement stats. The average conversation with her lasts 26 turns, and one out of four users has even said “I love you” to her!

What we learned from Xiaoice is that people want their tech to be approachable and to adjust to the way we communicate.

WeChat has proven just how profitable that can…