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Chad Oda, Chatbot Developer and Podcast Host

 

Julian: Today we’ve got a guest from California called Chad Oda. Chad is a chatbot developer. You might need to tell us what that means Chad.

Chatbots Are A New Tool For Your Marketing Tool Box

 

Chad: Yeah, absolutely so Julian’s referring to chatbots. Maybe some of you have heard of them. They’re getting quite popular these days in the marketing space as a additional tactic to add. Chatbots effectively sit on one of the most popular messaging channels being, facebook Messenger. They essentially are these like automated response tools. Right now some of them are rule-based whereas some of them also use artificial intelligence called natural language processing.

It enables you to effectively scale conversations with hundreds of thousands or even millions of people and your audience. It’s a very engaging tool .I would say probably one of the most intimate channels you can leverage to engage your audience.

 

Chatbots Increase Open Rates, Click-Throughs & Engagement

 

Julian: So, we all know about these kind of email automated emails so basically Facebook Messenger is something that we use where we are sort of we’re quite happy to check the messages. So would that be part of why this is powerful, may be more powerful than email?

Chad: Absolutely, I can actually give your audience some statistics here so if we think about email marketing right it’s sort of been dominant for the last you know decade 15-20 years at this point. The thing with any channel is that you sort of run up with this dilemma you know as these channels become more saturated you have signal versus noise right and when there’s more noise versus your signal or your brand trying to get through to whatever heads segment you’re trying to talk to inevitably you know the end user begins to condition out email and that’s why we’re seeing such poor email open rates these days I think it’s like 20 percent open rates on a really really good day but typically it’s much lower and you know if you think about that if I send an email to a hundred people only 20 people open it but even worse you know I think is to look at the average click-through rates from a sort of industry benchmark you know they’re they’re around point six percent open rates. I mean click-through rates so let’s say that twenty people actually read it out of the hundred people he said you know. Now there’s like a very small percentage that actually clicks through to whatever are called actually a half you know whereas with chatbots you know this is sort of the dominant messaging channel that everyone seems to be on these days.

Whether it’s Whatsapp or Messenger or Slack or Microsoft teams from an enterprise perspective and the open rates and click through rates are phenomenal so we’re seeing you know upwards of 80 to 90 percent open rates we’re seeing you know over 60 percent click-through rates in a variety of circumstances and you know I think this is just sort of the new channel that is just very compelling and you know everyone’s using it every single day.

 

Chatbots Will NOT Replace Email

 

Julian: Yeah, I mean I wonder whether whether it will replace email or just be a tool that you can use in you know in addition to email the only thing I’ve got I wonder about the chat box stuff could because it’s so personal and you’re used to getting messages from friends so that I wonder whether you know certain types of messages may be not suited to chatbot but but some maybe are have you noticed anything like that.

Chad:  I definitely think there are you know I think first and foremost I think it’s probably I think it’s probably really important to note you know it’s like, this is just an additional tactic it’s an additional tool to the toolbox that you know us as marketers or us as business owners are going to be leveraging. I think in no way shape or form will you know chatbots completely erase email you know I think there are still definitely circumstances to use both you know because you know when you think about a company you want to be on as many channels that’s your segment or your target audience is going to be on you know so I’ve seen several campaigns in conjunction with chatbots and I’ve seen email actually as a driver to get people onto the chat pot and to also use chat BOTS to capture email.

 

Chatbots Allow More Message Frequency

 

They definitely can be used in conjunction to sort of amplify whatever marketing can campaign you’re running although to your point specifically you know I think you know you can definitely get away with more frequency on messenger it’s a more intimate channel but at the same time there’s a discretionary factor of curtailing and curating that content specifically for that audience so there are things in messenger you just simply cannot do.

 

Chatbots Allow Intelligent Engagement

 

With email for example if you want to get some sort of intelligence in regards to you know inquiring with your end-users how is the experience or you know we’re thinking about releasing a new product it’s going to be in red green or blue which one do you like the most. So there are very sort of specific engagement things you can do in chatbots that you just simply can’t do an email and also the other thing to note on top of that too is we have to create native content for the channel right whereas an email you can get away with more long-form content you would just not want to replicate that same content in the same way you put it in a chat pod.

People don’t typically write paragraphs and paragraphs and paragraphs so I don’t know if maybe that sort of answers the question a little bit.

 

Chatbot Integration With 3rd Party Apps

 

Julian: The other thing I was gonna ask you the last time I looked at chatbots at that time you weren’t able to connect them up with other apps like schedulers. Is that still the case or  are they able to connect up and trigger things.For example book appointments and capture emails?

Chad:  I think you know so I guess I’ll sort of provide a little history here you know so chatbots really in their current form have really you know driven a lot of visibility since 2016. That’s when Facebook had initially released the beta messenger chat program.

There are probably 34,000 bots that existed 2017 there was a hundred thousand bots on messenger and this year at f8 they announced there’s three hundred thousand bots. As we see the ecosystem sort of emerge and mature a little bit we are seeing a lot more versatility with these chatbots.

Plug-and-play scheduling sort of experiences in these chat as well as integrating them to you know back-end systems you know that is all getting to be a bit easier at this point but there are going to be certain use cases where you will still require the skills of a developer or a programmer to make those custom functionalities actually work.

 

Chatbot Functionality Versus Cost

 

Julian: Is it something that only you know reasonably large businesses can utilize or can like one-person companies can they afford the development and how much does it cost to get set up?

Chad: I think that’s a really valid point you know sorry I think before we can maybe talk about that I just want to make a distinction in regards to the type of chatbots that exist within the ecosystem themselves and I think that will sort of help frame the conversation a little bit. Right now there are really two main types of chatbots now.

 

Chatbot Natural Language Processing

 

Chad: The most advanced chatbots are what we call sort of chatbots that are driven with natural language processing and that is a subset of artificial intelligence and it has a really fancy name but you know it’s actually quite simple and when we sort of talk about it from a conceptual standpoint so if we think about it it’s really just natural language processing so the natural language is being processing is getting processed and effectively we are trying to extract the meaning automatically out of a sentence you may type or some words that you made say to your Alexa and you know from that the chat bot can take some sort of action so that’s I would say the most advanced type of chatbots and we typically see more of those chatbots  in the enterprise space and you know with that there is a higher degree of complexity which more expensive and you know longer maintenance and things of that nature.

Now on the other side of things in the sort of marketing SMB size scale companies we’re seeing a lot of these more basic rule-based bots and you have to think about a rule-based bot as you know you’re moving down the conversation or a decision tree and you’re not using a lot of free text whereas with the NLP chatbot you can really type whatever you want and it should be able to understand a certain set of things the rule-based chatbots most of them are sort of driven by button responses so you know may get to a certain point in the conversation and say you know does that sound good to you and there may be a button that says yes or no and that will continue the conversation.

Now these rule-based bots that we’re seeing a lot of SMBs and marketing agencies adopt a lot of those are built with platforms such as chat fuel or manychat which are very very affordable and really require no programming necessary.

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