M&C Saatchi’s Head Of Tech Asks, “Australian Brands, Can We Have A Chat?”

M&C Saatchi’s Head Of Tech Asks, “Australian Brands, Can We Have A Chat?”
SHARE
THIS



In this opinion piece, M&C Saatchi’s head of technology- Anton Mills discusses chatbots and why Australian brands should be using them – especially leading into the silly season.

The festive season is upon us and for brands, its go-time. Their whole year to date has been a warm up to this season. I’ve purchased all of gifts and my flights are booked to visit my family for the holidays.

Anton Mills

Anton Mills

It’s the time of year where we travel, eat and spend more. In 2015 Commonwealth Bank found that the average spend over December 1st to January 4th for someone in New South Wales was $1,339 (1).

This was split across gifts, sales, food and drink, entertainment and travel. In New South Wales alone its a $7 billion dollar market. While the spend is increasing its getting harder and harder for brands to convince users to download their applications and use their web experiences.

Three years ago I had 30+ apps on my iPhone. As web technology has advanced, my app list has dwindled to just 14 apps as I now spend most of my time shopping directly through mobile web experiences. Why is this? In one word, ‘friction’.

The friction in this instance is the amount of steps for me to perform a task and the amount of potential for me to change my mind. As a user, the friction of going to the app store and installing an application is higher than the friction of visiting a website. For brands, the more we ask our customers to do, the more we fail at retaining their attention.

This year has seen a fascinating paradigm shift in the way that brands are interacting with their customers. The defining moment for me was shortly after purchasing my flights, when my new itinerary was sent to me directly through Facebook Messenger. I was even able to respond to the message from the service as I asked to switch my allocated seat to a window seat. I was rewarded with a “Sure” as the software switched my seat for me— precisely as requested.

This was huge. I didn’t have to call customer support, load an app or browse a website looking for the customer support section. The airline had interacted with me in a way that was near friction-less. Not only that but the entire experience felt very personal, as if typing with a friend. There was no new interface to learn, no barriers to entry. This was a technology that could service everyone and it’s called a chat-bot.

Currently the chat-bots that are in use are mostly within the customer service capacity but Paypal have announced their new integration within Facebook Messenger, with Visa and Mastercard following closely behind. This will open up the potential for chat-bots to provide an end-to-end service for brands, from purchase, distribution and customer care.

There is also a major shift in social platform usage. People are spending more time in social messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp than more traditional social platforms(2). Both of these platforms dominate in Australia, with around 1bn active users globally(3)(4). Microsoft will soon release their new social messaging platform with chat-bot support and even Twitter have announced their new foray in to the ‘Conversation as a Service’ space(5).

These factors combine to mark an exciting opportunity for Australian brands to engage customers. Instead of the usual ‘Let’s build an app’, what if I had a chat-bot interface to a flower shop where I can ask “Can you send a bouquet of flowers to Anna at 220, Somerville Street?”. The win as a customer is that the process is quick, frictionless and it has freed my time up for other things. Now that its not only provided a service but done it in a way that was exceedingly simple and valuable, I might be far more likely to say hello next time it messages me.

Here’s hoping that by next Christmas my new chat-bot friend will be the one to ask me if I’d like to make a similar trip again, and take care of all the small details for me.

1. https://www.commbank.com.au/about-us/news/media-releases/2014/festive-spending.html?ei=gsa_generic_festive

2. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-messaging-app-report-2015-11?IR=T

3. https://www.statista.com/statistics/260819/number-of-monthly-active-whatsapp-users/

4. http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/20/12235476/facebook-messenger-1-billion-users-milestone-ios-app

5. https://blog.twitter.com/2016/speed-up-customer-service-with-quick-replies-welcome-messages-in-direct-messages

Latest News

A young boy nerd shouts at the top of his voice to his co-worker through a megaphone trying to talk some sense into him. The young nerds are dressed in bowties and glasses. Retro styling.
  • Opinion

Smart Speakers: The Voice Of A Generation

In this opinion piece, Growth Tank management consultant David Willey looks into research on the usage of voice assistants and access to smart speakers for Generation Z, Millennials and Generation X in Australia. We hear a lot about how Millennials, and now Generation Z, are changing the game on marketing by adopting the latest technology, including digital voice […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Host/Havas Bags Work For Oroton
  • Advertising

Host/Havas Bags Work For Oroton

Host/Havas staff forced to takes lessons on accessorising after snaring Oroton's creative account.

Glenn McGrath & Mike Hussey Join Macquarie Media’s Cricket Commentary Team
  • Media

Glenn McGrath & Mike Hussey Join Macquarie Media’s Cricket Commentary Team

Macquarie Media has announced that two of Australia’s cricketing greats, Glenn McGrath and Mike Hussey, are the latest additions to its cricket commentary line-up. McGrath (pictured above, right) and Hussey (pictured above, left) will join Darren Lehmann and Ian Chappell in the Macquarie Macquarie Sports Radio commentary box this summer, as part of the company’s new six-year […]

SBS Chooses Fairfax’s Andrew Mudgway To Lead Its Commercial Strategy
  • Advertising
  • Media

SBS Chooses Fairfax’s Andrew Mudgway To Lead Its Commercial Strategy

Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) has announced the appointment of Andrew Mudgway as its national sales manager for TV and digital. Mudgway joins SBS from Fairfax Media, where he was responsible for the publisher’s national digital and print sales team. He brings more than 25 years’ experience to SBS, having also held positions at IPG Mediabrands, […]