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Growth Through Purpose ™
Growth Through Purpose ™

How to Strengthen Consumer Engagement with Purposeful Chatbots

In today’s media environment people are overloaded with advertising – from paid social media promotions, to cell phone pushdown notifications, to website ads – and it’s increasingly difficult to capture your audience’s attention. Simultaneously, expansive amounts of data provide advertisers with incredible insights on individuals’ preferences, which enables targeted personal advertising.  Programmatic messaging – that is, personalized automated conversations with consumers that foster a one-on-one experience – is fast emerging as a powerful communication tool that can scale user engagement and conversions.

Chatbots are becoming a popular way to interact with consumers especially via instant messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger and Google Chat. Although robotics hasn’t quite mastered the human touch and Facebook is struggling with user chatbot fulfillment, investment in artificial intelligence and Millennials’ interest in automated messaging makes it likely that chatbots will be an integral part of the future.

Although you can entice people to begin a conversation with your chatbot via an online advertisement or notification on your own website, consumers have to opt in to enter the conversation.  To successfully deploy automated personal messaging it is critical to know your audience, fit into the media environment and craft versatile and compelling scripts to answer a wide range of responses.  What’s more, to deepen connections with your stakeholders you must offer them true value and demonstrate your shared vision.

Here are three ways to engage consumers with meaningful personalized messaging:

1) Offer solutions, not sales: If you can help someone solve a problem they will be much more likely to listen to you than if you are trying to convince them they need a new product or service.  This is especially true for personalized conversation platforms in which people are actively speaking with your brand.  Having a one-on-one dialogue with your consumer is like entering into their home, be sure you’re not asked to leave because you push unwanted solicitations. Instead, you want to be asked to stay to discuss all the great advice you can offer to help them solve a problem.

A brand using automated conversations to help people solve problems is the recently launched DoNotPay app. DoNotPay’s founder Joshua Browder deemed the app “the world’s first robot lawyer,” and it has already helped users avoid over 160,000 parking tickets. The chatbot is now helping refugees secure emergency accommodations and claim asylum by simplifying often difficult and confusing associated paperwork.  Essentially, by providing people with solutions to real world problems via automated communications you can awaken massive potential for consumer engagement, which can not only provide insight into consumer preferences and strengthen stakeholder emotional connections but also scale your social impact.

2) Provide timely support: No one wants to be incessantly bothered with robot messages; however, at the right moment an automated conversation can be the perfect approach. Thus, it is crucial to find meaningful windows of opportunity to give people what they are looking for at the times they need it most.

A company doing an excellent job of using timely automated chatbot conversations is Touchkin. The brand’s Wysa app, which is also available via Facebook Messenger, helps people with anxiety and depression improve emotional intelligence and mental health. Wysa monitors physical indicators like sleep then actively reaches out to offer support during times of disturbance.  What’s more, the platform offers weekly updates, mindfulness exercises and uses artificial intelligence to learn what works for each user.  Ultimately, by using data to understand what your target audience needs, wants, and when they want (or need) it is critical to building and maintaining meaningful customer relationships.

3) Use purpose to ignite consumer insight: Consumers want a better world, not just better widgets. Today, people are more responsive to a call for purpose than a request to answer a survey.  Automated conversations are great ways to learn about what your stakeholders care about. In turn, you can create purpose-driven products and services that reflect your target audiences core values and inspire contributory consumption.

The SURBO chatbot is a great example of an automated messaging service changing the way companies receives consumer feedback. While the app is not directly focused on purposeful insights, brands could use it or develop their own interface to inspire stakeholders to provide insight into what social causes the company should stand behind. Fundamentally, welcoming consumers to participate in shaping your purpose-driven impact while using robotic messaging services can help your brand not only increase consumer feedback, but also invite your stakeholders to be co-creators in building a better world.

Automated direct communication is a powerful way to connect with consumers who are often bombarded with unwanted advertising. What’s more, providing your target audience with value and purpose is a powerful means to go beyond traditional sales schemes and not only strengthen relationships with your stakeholders but also distinguish your brand as a purpose-driven leader.


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Title image via Flickr courtesy of user Simon Blackley at