Chatbots were all the rage last year, but 2017 didn’t become the automated paradise marketers may have imagined. Despite a mad dash to embrace the new technology, marketers and consumers alike have been slow to adopt chatbots as a go-to source of engagement. Now, many brands are backing off, or at the very least, don’t know where to begin.
In a recent study conducted by LiveWorld, 60 percent of marketers said they hadn’t used chatbots to interact with customers. When asked why they didn’t use the technology more frequently, 58 percent said it simply wasn’t enough of a priority and 43 percent said they lacked a strategy. Just 40 percent expect their chatbot usage to increase.
“Trying to do too much too soon risks creating confusing and inauthentic interactions with customers,” Matt Valle, senior vice president of consumer products and services at Magid, told AListDaily. “More complex give-and-take interactions will take much longer to develop and will require human intervention for the foreseeable future, negating much of the promised benefit.”
For hospitality brand Marriott, chatbots are still an important part of their engagement strategy and have been for some time. Toni Stoeckl, global brand leader and vice president of Marriott’s Distinctive Select portfolio, told AListDaily that the brand found success through trial and error.
“We sort of have to [give ourselves] permission to try new things. It’s okay to have it not work out and move on to the next thing,” said Stoeckl. “The fun part of emerging technology is that it’s always emerging and always changing. What may have been perceived as the value of chatbots in the past and what they would be used for has evolved. That’s why we do a lot of fast testing and proof of concepts to learn how it could actually impact marketing or provide value to our guests and travelers.”
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