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The Experience Brands Weekly #147

Looking for success with chatbots? Keep it simple

A recent Forrester report identifies the growing interest in chatbots for marketing activation, but warns successful examples are currently thin on the ground.

One of the key issues Forrester identifies with the present crop of brand chatbots is their ambitions outstrip the capabilities of the technology.

While the chatbots of the future will be driven by increasingly sophisticated AI technology, those we see now are mostly responding to keywords, looking for the most appropriate answer from a pre-formed list. When customers get errant replies from a bot or the bot fails to escalate an enquiry in the way a human would, they naturally become frustrated and abandon the interaction.

However, there are some effective examples from both in the world of brand marketing campaigns and customer service.

One celebrated example of branded Messenger execution, that bucks the bot trend, is Nike’s On Demand that instead gives users the chance to interact with real human trainers who help them to achieve their sporting and fitness goals.



A successful application of chatbots is KLM’s use of them in the flight ticket purchase journey. Through Facebook Messenger, customers have the option to receive booking confirmation, check-in notifications, boarding passes and flight status updates. In online retail chatbots are being trialed by Currys PC World to help shoppers navigate complex category choices online.

Essential Retail reports that are enjoying significant success with the use of a chatbot within their App which answers the queries customers have while shopping.

“Our customers have taken to Very Assistant in a big way,” Jonathan Wall, eCommerce Director for told the publication. “Over 180,000 people have engaged with the chatbot since we launched it late last year and you only need to look at the comments next to our app reviews to know it’s a feature people love.”

If we look to propositions like Thread, the digital service that promises men a personal styling experience using a combination of machine learning and human curating, we can see the potential for chatbots to learn from customer preferences and begin to provide a personal shopping role.

Ahead of better AI support that ensures the best possible user experience, however, it’s clear that brands can’t just jump in here. They either need to make the kind of human, community/customer management commitment evident in Nike On Demand or acknowledge the present limitations of the technology and refine their Messenger offering to a few simple and predictable customer interactions, as epitomised by KLM’s service.


Other Bites:

H20+ MiLi Skin Moisture Meter

H20+ have created the MiLi Skin Moisture Meter, bringing a whole new level of technology and personalisation to the moisturiser market. Available in Sephora’s New York flagship store, the palm-sized gadget connects to your phone via Bluetooth and a special app to deliver a reading after 5 seconds, then giving you a bespoke product recommendation based on your skin. Bringing technology to consumers to help them find the product that’s right for them.



Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health: Immunity Charm

The immunisation completion rate in Afghanistan is just 50%. To help tackle this, the Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health have the launched the immunity charm – a bracelet on to which a coloured bead is added for each different vaccination a child has. Tapping into the cultural tradition of good luck bracelets, and allowing medical professionals to communicate without the need for a paper train. A simple idea driving real change.



Samsonite: Weight Tag

We’ve all been there. When your suitcase is overweight and you are faced with the airport floor shuffle, or a huge extra charge. To help people avoid this pain point, Samsonite have created the Weight Tag – a luggage tag designed to hold precisely the amount of weight allowed and not a gram over. Providing consumers with a way to check the weight before the check-in desk and Samsonite with the opportunity to get their brand out all over the world, whether people had Samsonite products or not.