Forget Forms, Conversation is King

The marketing industry has experienced digital disruption like no other. The need to innovate, re-think, and reinvent is constant and has been amplified as a result of the global pandemic. 

Average retail conversion rates from April 2020 to April 2021 dropped, and in-person events are no longer a guaranteed method of generating leads. In a world where data is a new form of currency, creative thinking is now forced towards digital solutions.

Form fatigue

Online forms have been the traditional means of capturing online leads in the past. Their direct approach to data collection means that they are still a valuable tool, even in today’s rapidly-changing world. Permanence is a thing of the past in the digital age and as interactions with leads have evolved. Web form fatigue has now settled in. Context is still something that must be considered, however methods of capturing leads must develop with the constantly changing marketing landscape. 

On the business side, web forms cause inboxes to overflow and messages to get lost in an abyss of similar queries. Unsurprisingly, this is problematic and jeopardises businesses losing valued customers as time and attention need to be focused elsewhere. The need for a solution is clear but fixing something that isn’t exactly broken is daunting, especially when it comes to changing a process that has been the norm for so long. 

On the customer side, filling in a form is standard practice but is never something people enjoy. Some may argue that forms have the potential to damage a customer relationship before it’s already begun. They tend to create an additional off-putting barrier to entry, despite their very purpose being to create digital relationships. This is something that needs to, and can, change.

In a market where competitive pricing due to supply chain issues is becoming less important, greater emphasis is placed on customer service and satisfaction. The need for change is now.

Capturing leads by capturing attention 

Digital innovation over the past 18 months has accelerated – mirrored by the attention economy free-for-all, where marketers fight for consumer recognition. With competition for clicks and conversions increasing, now is not the time to overlook real-time conversational marketing tools. The technology is readily available and accessible. It is now a choice businesses are making to accept convention, over more insightful means of generating leads.

Real-time conversational tools such as chatbots provide marketers with the data to learn precisely how a customer would like to interact with a business. They are multi-functional tools with use cases in customer support, entertainment, and data collection. The fact of the matter is, people want to have conversations with and generally trust other people. 

Technological advancements have made two-way interactions possible, even without a human presence. Chatbots can engage in meaningful conversation and deliver responses similar to those of a human. It is no longer a necessity for businesses to hire advanced programmers or technologically savvy staffers to run them. 

No-code chatbots level up the engagement opportunity as deployment is easy, simple, and accessible. Teams do not require technical skills to automate workflows, like they may have previously needed, freeing up time for more important tasks. They do not look to replace humans but allow our time to be used more appropriately.

Data delivery

Aside from finding that labour costs could be cut by as much as 30%, IBM’s digital customer care study – conducted 4 years ago – also found that 80% of routine customer service questions could be handled by a chatbot. Since then, technology has advanced greatly, meaning that businesses can now control conversational flow, allow bots to take actions on behalf of teams, and solicit more valuable information about customer needs. 

A bot’s capabilities can be enhanced through the archive of data that it creates. The data would allow unanswered questions to be stored and analysed, so that correct answers can be provided in the future. The bread and butter of a chatbot’s functionality are to turn raw data into conversation. However, chatbots can also be taught to process the data they receive and supply analytics to teams. This can help businesses to better understand the granular meaning of why their conversion rates are not high enough and identify any blocks for new customers. 

With an aim towards a frictionless experience for customers where convenience and ease of use are the objectives, the use case for conversational assistants become more and more apparent. 

Conversation is king

Businesses can manipulate information to contact cold leads, profile users among categories for better targeting, and flag any recurring issues input by customers.  Companies can then redirect their efforts to the recurring problems to gain a better understanding of key difficulties. 

By not incorporating real-time conversational tools, businesses risk losing vital data insights and enriching their customer relationships.

The data-driven marketing economy means that small margins make a significant difference to the success of a business. Data insights from chatbots allow marketers to make informed decisions. These are tailored to a customer’s needs and enable better triage requirements to improve conversion rates. Chatbot implementation means that speculation is no longer needed and calculated responses developed effortlessly and effectively. This is a solution of its time. 

The digital evolution

Conversational assistants are not just the next trend. They are the next stage in our digital evolution. Just like how CDs have been replaced by online streaming platforms in the music industry, chatbots will replace their webform predecessors. 

The scope for chatbots to support business does not stop at the marketing department. The technology saves manpower, streamlines customer service support to HR and internal communications, and most importantly allows salespeople to do just that – sell. 

Navigating the digital world is still a relatively new phenomenon to us, so we need to make its architecture as simple and seamless to manoeuver as the real world. The scope for chatbots to support businesses achieve their goals is significant and exciting. It’s time for businesses to move out of their comfort zones and embrace the possibilities chatbots present for marketers. 

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