You’d have to agree, customer service has taken a *yuge leap this decade. From human backend interaction to artificial intelligence assistants – chatbots have officially taken over the world and people are ironically enjoying it. Over 80% of the 800 decision makers surveyed by Oracle said they are already using or they want to use chatbots for business by 2020.
The Chatbot Abode
Before we explore the branded chatbots, let’s learn where the chatbots live? There are five destinations they can take rest in:
- Social networks
- Virtual assistants
- Messaging apps
- Native websites
Brands With Revolutionizing Chatbots
Here are the ten brands using chatbots to change the way we deal with customers on all three levels of the buyer’s journey including awareness stage, consideration stage and decision stage.
Sephora is a renowned chain of beauty and personal care stores located in America, France, Middle East and UAE. It features over 250 brands along with its private label including a range of products targeted mostly at women.
The beauty brand has three chatbot assistants:
- Sephora Reservation Assistant – handles appointments for makeover
- Sephora Visual Artist – provides online face retouch with brand products
- Sephora on Kiki – a guide with tips, quiz, reviews, suggestions and solutions
These bots are not only prompt in providing assistance to customers, but are also engaging and entertaining. The Vice President of Sephora shared three things the brand learned from developing its bots: a) they’re not complicated, b) they survive on experimentation, and c) they’re a different social experience.
Bot Highlight: face recognition technology
Yes, she’s a doll alright but I’d say she’s a brand. Manufactured by Mattel, Barbie is a household name popular among both kids and adults. In fact, the craze is so over the top that some collectors spend thousands of dollars to hoard exclusive editions embellished with real stones or based on a unique theme.
Now the only thing missing from these plastic dolls was an ability to interact with its buyers on a one-on-one basis. Well, the Ai-powered chatbot Hello Barbie just nailed it. How many times do you get a chance to talk to a doll like a real person?
Script writers, developers and voice-over artists have all come together to create an unmatched experience for Barbie lovers. Her algorithms are pretty smart because they remember you from previous chat, so you don’t have to remind her about your details.
She is equipped with 8,000 phrases and 200 responses about music. It’s akin to voice search assistants like Google Home or Amazon Echo. The Hello Barbie doll is Wi-Fi enabled and speech recognition capability.
Bot Highlight: smart doll assistant
3) Whole Foods
We can’t deny our obsession with acronyms and emojis! Emojis are available in different styles and colors, based on a variety of themes. They originated from Japan and are now popular worldwide. Seeing the emoji user market, Whole Foods came up with a chatbot that helps people find recipes and locate items in store using food-related emojis.
Well, this is surely a fun experience for customers especially those who are avid emoji users or perhaps millennials – the young lot with buying power. The only limitation is that it’s on Facebook Messenger, so the customers need to be the users of this platform to access this fascinating service.
Bot Highlight: conversation via emojis
Who doesn’t like a great cinema time? An American ticketing company, Fandango created a chatbot on Messenger and Google Assistant that allows buyers to find local theatres, watch film trailers, and check out the week’s trending flicks.
If you’re a fan of movies then this bot is good start to stay updated. The online assistant shows you program timings and where you can book tickets. So instead of calling the theatre or going online to website, you can simply use this option. In January 2018, the bot was geared with a payment option.
If the company uses technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality then the trailers can reach next level.
Bot Highlight: array of services complete buyer’s journey
5) Victoria’s Secret
Searching for the perfect bra size and style can be a total pain at times, especially if you’re unsure. Keeping this in mind, Victoria’s Secret created a chatbot called VSPINK that helps buyers with the most agonizing aspects of bra shopping. So, basically you’ve got a friend that there with you every step of the way: from figuring out your size to telling you what style will suit which occasion.
The branded bot is aimed at teenagers and young adults, perhaps millennials who make up 40% of Kik Messenger’s population. Surely with artificial intelligence and improving algorithms the chatbot has potential to become better.
Bot Highlight: solving critical problems
Remember micro-moments introduced by Google? Well, that was only the start of how consumer behavior is changing in the digital world. People are becoming increasingly demanding and impatient. In this scenario, a stationery ecommerce company, Staples partnered with IBM Watson to introduce the Easy Button and it has another bot on Facebook.
With the Easy Button, customer can office and school supplies whenever they want. This red button is an iconic part of the pop-culture and the company had initially introduced it as a desk decoration with slogan “don’t stress it – press it”. And now the same device is packed with intelligence, cognitive computing and a voice user interface to learn about customers, interact with them and predict future needs.
Bot Highlight: Button with High-tech Feature
7) Johnnie Walker
If you get the wrong whiskey in your system, you’re up for an adventurous ride. Drinking alcohol is unlike other beverages because there’s a lot of taste-testing involved, and every person has a peculiar palette in it. Thus the booze brand, Johnnie Walker developed bots for Amazon Echo and Facebook Messenger.
After age confirmation, the bot helps the users by providing knowledge about liquor, selecting the best whiskey for them based on a series of questions, or give ideas and recipes to create a mocktail.
The unique part of this bot is that it shares interactive and instructional videos and photographs to make the experience entertaining as well. The bot voice is akin to that of a bartender: casual and conversational. If you’re a customer rather than just a learner, you can even make orders.
The brand just need to make sure that the bots work properly without glitches. If it’s able to conquer that then it’s a good app for its target market. Surely, something different.
Bot Highlight: a bot as bartender
Part of being in this digital world is to be aware. For this purpose, people usually use social media marketing platforms nowadays because newspapers are old-scene. Observing the changing habits of consumers the online news platform, Quartz launched a chatbot on a popular social networking application.
People love conversing about political, social and economic issues and this is what the company aimed to tap on. As per Quartz reports, the bot is designed to gather data about user preferences overtime and mold the news stream accordingly. The experience involves various news beats and fun challenges.
Obviously chatbot journalism isn’t quite right as yet. At the end of the day, it’s a machine and you need update it.
Bot Highlight: bot journalism
9) The Cheesecake Factory
A US-based restaurant chain and distributor of wholesome cheesecakes, The Cheesecake Factory is a great place to eat. Apart from America, the company operates in Dubai, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.
Alright, so if you’re a foodie then the Messenger Bot is for you. With the chatbot, you can complete your buyer’s journey with pay and checkout via the Masterpass. The app automatically detects your location and finds nearest restaurants near you. If you’ve got friends who love to dine out, then the bot helps you send them a gift card.
Bot Highlight: purchase and share gift cards on app
Now before you jump at me saying this website isn’t a brand, then let me tell you it is according to this definition “a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.” So, ahem bear with me.
Hotes.com is an online platform where you can do your booking from. It’s even got a mascot named Captain Obvious, and he’s the face of the chatbot. Within the app, the bot throws questions at you, challenging you to win up to £500 in real. You can redeem these and use them to purchase your bookings. The game is generally easy and questions aren’t related to tourism.
I think it’s a great idea, although you need to be a Facebook user to enjoy this leverage. Then again this acts like a loyalty program exclusive for people who play.
Bot Highlight: play a game and win real vouchers
Have you ever talked to a chatbot? Share your experience with us.
All Vector Source: Freepik