This guestpost was written by Benjamin Merritt from It’s Alive.

Chatbots, also called bots or agents, are programs that enable brands to automate conversations: the most known use case is basically asking a question and receiving an answer instantly. You can find them on social networks and websites or apps.

ItsAlive is a platform that enables people to build chatbots without any coding language for Facebook.

Chatbots aren’t new. People have actually been playing around with this principle for years. What’s new are mainly two things.

First, social networks are enabling chatbots to empower conversations for brands. The best example being Facebook, who opened it’s Messenger API 2 years ago and allows tech teams and companies to build chatbots directly within Facebook Messenger. Which now has 2.3 billion users.

Second, user behaviour and trends are evolving: people less patient, more eager to contact brands (330 million people contacted brands through Messenger last year). However, brands simply can’t be available all time.

Plus, brands have been investing so much money into social media to build and engage with communities. Now they are looking for new and more effective-reachable ways to engage with their audience.

We were one of the first platforms to be 100% focused on building Facebook chatbots.

One of our main strength is that we are a SaaS platform designed to build manage and deploy Facebook chatbots, but we also provide services: consulting, designing, developing features and/or connecting API’s. We work with big corporations but also creative agencies to create tailor-made bots.

We believe in UX more than in AI.

AI isn’t ready for chatbots and people aren’t ready for AI. AI is great, but not for bots. AI bots require important resources and time, and most people find these bots deceptive. Brands that work on cracking AI and having the best NLP like the GAFAs will handover their research later, they actually already do but we prefer focusing on the User Experience, the conversational flow, the great value of the chatbot, driving the user instead of guessing what they are going to say.

As a result, we saw brands paying 200k € for AI chatbots that are deceptive and less user-friendly while here at ItsAlive, we can create chatbots with a much smaller budget which leaves much more space for great content and creative promotion.

We have had brands that asked us for bots although they were not sure if and why they needed them.

At ItsAlive, our job is not only to provide bots but also to get a better understanding of the brand challenges, processes and content strategy. This way, we can find solutions that will augment their communication channels.

I’ll give you 4 examples of chatbot strategy we do for our clients today, keep in mind bots are great when they focus on one or two of the following.

  • Brand awareness: You have a brand with values, heritage, you have great products and services and already have already developed creative campaigns all over the internet. Think of your chatbot as a new way to tell your story. A one-on-one conversation between you and your audience, without the videos and Gifs spoiling your newsfeed.
  • Building loyalty: you work hard on your content strategy and formats. You publish videos and articles weekly. When you post on your Facebook page, you have a natural reach of 1 to 5% (if you are lucky). Remember that people can subscribe to a chatbot. Your chatbot could offer personalised, daily or weekly content delivered directly to the app people use every day with their friends!
  • Acquisition strategy: bots are great tools to generate leads. A new way to ask people questions, gather insights and pick the brains of your customers. Plug your chatbot to your CRM. Create some ads to drive people to your chatbot and you will have a fully automated lead generation.
  • Customer care: This one is easy, yes people ask for the same questions everyday, stop wasting time and automate most of your FAQs.

If there is  one thing to keep in mind and that is important for all strategies: content is key.

Driving the conversation is essential.

People believe bots are only good for replying to frequently asked questions and that they actually replace humans.  It’s wrong!

Bots are here to augment your customer experience but not replace human interaction, it is important to keep in mind that you should always leave the option to pause the chatbot and speak to someone.

Another important one: people think they can trick users and make the “the bot human so people don’t know it’s a bot”.Never do this. Except for a few laughs. It will only create disappointment and drive users far from your bot objective.

We created this chatbot for IWC’s 150 years anniversary.

Its goal is purely to tell the great story of the brand using lots of rich formats and storytelling

Plot chatbot

Telling people how long they will wait at the airport security check with real time data.

This guestpost was written by Benjamin Merritt from It’s Alive.