Before the pandemic, we were all used to talking to real humanswhile we researched – and purchased – products and services. As we browsed a physical store, a representative might have asked if we had found what we were looking for, or even had the audacity to make a recommendation. We all knew the etiquette behind these kinds of exchanges – two people having a normal (if not contrived) conversation.
But even before 2020, more of those conversations were happening online — not with an actual human. Through channels like online chat or even text messaging, brands have made tremendous strides in expanding their methods of outreach and engagement with prospects, making it feellike that store rep who’s “just trying to help.”
According to Drift, a leader in conversational marketing, the use of chatbots increased by 92% in 2020, during the early stages of the pandemic. In 2021, eight out of ten respondents to their survey reportedhaving a conversational marketing solution, 74% of those who did not indicate that they would like to add one.
Overall, the conversational AI market is expected to reach $32.6 billion by 2030.
The number and ubiquity of these types of platforms indicate that this is more than a trend. Corn, anecdotalis one of us feel as if these solutions were fully mature and capable of replacing more traditional marketing efforts? Are we excited to chat with a robot instead of a human? Or are we more likely to end up with an accidentally humorous transcript that demonstrates a lack of understanding and communication?
Drift reports that all is not well, as positive user experiences with conversational marketing solutions fell 10% in 2021 compared to 2020. That’s not to say that number won’t rebound in the years to come, but this is obvious: using AI to imitate a human is difficult. The endless directions in which a live conversation can go means the AI must have the intuition and breadth of knowledge to cover this range of possibilities.
Another way to enter the conversation
While some more direct conversational marketing platforms focus on equipping their channels (chatbots, most often) with this range of knowledge, at Yext we focus first on building this knowledge base on the backend of your business. We didn’t coin the term Knowledge Graph (thanks, Google), but we took on this concept of centralizing, organizing, and managing your information from one place. As marketers, content is king – but only if it’s accessible. These silos need to be broken down, creating an open base of all your brand information and facts.
This is our critical first step, before we even try to have that conversation with a client. From there, our use of AI extends to our search platform, which can understand the nature of a question and suggest an answer based on how the search is worded and what is stored in this Knowledge Graph.
We know that every customer journey starts with research. Many platforms that fall squarely into the conversational marketing category are pushing their AI-powered channels to hold the user through this linear journey.
Searching is all about bringing up the right information, while giving the customer the autonomy to modify or continue entering search queries. Maybe the customer’s line of questioning isn’t completely linear. Is this method as conversational as a chatbot asking for your name and professional information? Probably not. But when these channels (be it your website, apps, andchat surfaces) have this robust Knowledge Graph to draw upon to retrieve and deliver relevant information, that conversation can be productive – even if it’s not enoughas charming as your favorite AI robot.
To learn more about how you can use a Knowledge Graph and AI-powered search platform to engage in conversations with your customers, Click here.