Texting and chatting have become so ingrained in our daily lives that, these days, most people get genuinely upset when they receive phone calls. The convenience of mobile communication has made us greedy about our time, and spending minutes on the phone for something that can be accomplished via text has become just downright offensive.
For that reason, marketers are now turning to messaging platforms to improve communication channels for sales and customer service conversations. In fact, a report by Twilio found that 9 out of 10 consumers want to use messaging to communicate with brands.
“[The] report highlights a growing divide between consumers and brands,” said Manav Khurana, VP of Product Marketing at Twilio. “Consumers message more than they call, email or even post on social media but businesses are still trying to reach them via the channels they no longer use. To keep up with consumers, brands must adopt messaging as a channel and begin communicating with customers in the same way people communicate with each other.”
As a result, chatbots have become one of the hottest marketing tools in 2017; helping marketers not only reach their audience, but do it at scale. Companies like United Airlines, Pizza Hut, Denny’s Diner, Focus Features, and Patrón, just to name a few, have implemented bots on social media to field customer service issues or help consumers seek information more quickly.
United Airlines, for instance, has a chatbot called “AutoPilot” for looking up your flight status without having to leave Facebook and Twitter. Do you want to find the closest Denny’s Diner? Send a Direct Message @DennysDiner on twitter, and you can even start an order while you’re at it.
But not so fast, marketers; if the lightbulb for a bot idea has just gone off, you might need to think twice.
The Growing Use of GIFs and Emojis
Chatbots work great for simple or transactional requests because they remove the boundaries of different apps and websites. But with chatbots, what we gain in convenience, we lose in emotion, especially in a time where expressive communication is more important than ever.
According to a new survey by Tenor, the world’s largest GIF-sharing platform, there is an increasing of amount of texters that expect better ways to express emotion. The survey found that 7 in 10 Americans (71 percent) use visual expressions such as emojis, stickers or GIFs when texting.