There’s a dark side and a beautiful future built around every new tool and technology that comes along. For all the brilliance of marketing automation, artificial intelligence, and chatbots, there are all kinds of ways to use these tools to alienate and upset your customers, as well. As with all pursuits, we have to look at the intent of your execution and make sure you’re not annoying the people you most want to serve.
I use marketing automation of some form every day. I sent out automated newsletters to my subscribers. I schedule anywhere from 20-30 tweets to go out every day from my Twitter account. There are all kinds of parts of my business that are automated. But in each of these cases, I’ve built a system that also allows me to connect and interact directly with people who engage with that information.
My newsletters come from an account that people can reply to, and I do. I write back anyone who writes to me (provided their email merits a reply and isn’t spam.) When I fire off my automated tweets throughout the day, I engage with whoever replies or communicates.
I’m a bit of a broken record about Poncho the weather cat being a favorite chatbot of mine. Why? Because this service (I wanted to say because HE) is funny. They perform a very basic service, telling me the weather, in a way that gets me to engage with a robot platform three times a day. That’s engagement! Three times a day I click the message Poncho sends me.
That’s what you need to build if you’re going to create a chatbot of any kind. If you’re going to earn the right to communicate via your robot with actual humans, you must build into the conversational design of the product a lot of fun and worthwhile engagement. The goal of your chatbots is to entertain and inform. Both of those. Not one. Both.