All posts by Pranav Singhi

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Conversational Marketing
A New Paradigm For Marketeers

It is a whole new world out there. The old recipe to Write a tagline, Make a TV Commercial, Make a Poster and paste it wherever you can in the name of ‘integrated marketing’ has turned sour. This does not appeal to the new demographics.

 

What is the New Demographics and what they want?

New demographics comprise of the so called the younger generation of today or like the marketeers like to call it the Gen Z. This is a generation of digital natives, they learned using a smartphone or tablet even before they could talk. They not only understand technology but also speak it, technology has become their native language.
 
The digital revolution has already forced the marketeers to change its strategy from ‘digital first’ to ‘mobile first’. The Gen Z combined with the digital revolution is a puzzle which has forced the CEO’s and CMO’s to realign with their priorities.

 

Messaging is the new medium
After spending a little time amongst Gen Z, the one thing I learned is that they send messages as they breathe, they are mean texting machines. They send messages to each other literally sitting in the same room without anyone else to eavesdrop their chat and in doing so they do not have the slightest sense of social awkwardness. I’ve come to believe they might feel awkward the other way around.

 

Talking about the numbers from business insider, The monthly active users from each of the top 4 messaging apps is more than top 4 social networks combined and is constantly increasing. Now this does not symbolize a trend but rather it signals to a paradigm shift. Goodbye Interruptions, Hello Conversations. To truly leverage this conversational opportunity the marketeers not only have to learn new rules of the game but have to embrace it arms spread. Here are a few of them.

 

  • One-to-One VS One-to-Many

    For the first time in the history of advertising/marketing the brands have the golden opportunity to connect with the customers on personal level rather than broadcasting the brand message. We can no longer use the same message across all platforms. Marketeers will have to tailor every message to the context, timing and the nature of the conversation since no person or platform is created equal.

    With this opportunity comes immense responsibility of rethinking our strategy of broadcasting brand messages. You cannot use the conventional ‘yell and sell’ strategy because messaging is about chat and listen.

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  • The Big Data Game

    One-to-one communication creates a platform to sequence  messages in a natural,contextual and a human way. This gives us tons of personal insights and actionable data. The aggregate of conversational insights is  more valuable because it is much more structured which allows the marketeers to break it down into smaller units and sub-units of data (conversions, phrases, to words) that is easy to comprehend and execute on. This actionable data puts any marketeer into the game of big data, which if used wisely would give revelations like never before.

    This is the only reason why conversational marketing has become a potential goldmine for marketeers which only an ill-advised imbicible will overlook.

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  • Picture Perfect VS. Available
    Unlike Gen X, the Gen Z has a high affinity towards the real and raw thanks to applications like periscope & snapchat which define the new social currency. Therefore always being available for your customers has become more real and important than being picture perfect. Conversational marketing tools such as chat bots give the brands a native advantage of being always available without requiring a lot of resources and attention. They give your customers 24×7 access into your world where you define the conceptual and functional boundaries, which might not always be picture perfect.

    The sense of being available at the time of need works as an invite to the customers messaging network giving you unprecedented access to their needs, wants and psyche. In the new world being genuine and instantaneous is much more important than perfection.

 

Messaging truly is king. Conversations will become the new engagement metrics of the modern day, it’s time for marketeers to review their priority list as shouting might turn out to be a losing game in this new paradigm. The later the brands jump on to the bandwagon, the further behind they might find themselves in a few months or years.

 

Messaging as a new marketing medium has endless possibilities and is like a blank canvas waiting for the new gen marketeers to explore it, exploit it and paint it the way they like.
 

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How Bots Will Work

Chat bots are computer programs designed specifically to communicate with users as if it were human. Chat bot is still in it’s early days and yet a lot of people have stated the chat bots to be replace webpages.

 

From an outsider’s perspective chat bots look extremely simple as it is nothing more than a bunch of decision based flow charts with predictable outcomes but we beg to differ. We have spent a lot of time in understanding and building our playbook for How Bots Will Work?  and this blog is a sneak peak into what we figure as the points of extreme caution in building the chat bots.

 

  1. Bots are meant to make life simpler
    The bots should be able to lead you to a valuable result with minimal inputs from the user. The bot should be aware, and even anticipate the needs of the user by leveraging previously stored information. Integrations and contextual relevancy are the key for an experience that saves time, effort and stress with minimum friction, if not for this how are bots better from websites or apps that came before it.
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  3. Start simple and focused

    The number of paths the conversation can take increases the potential for dead ends. Every bit of information you show competes with relevant information thus decreasing the relative visibility of the information. It is better to build a focused chat bot with a clear value proposition rather than filling the container with more than what it can hold and creating a mess. Chatting with a dumb chat bot is no different than an IVR, Nobody likes it!

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  5. Bots need to be self explanatory

    The bot needs to be designed smartly to incorporate a learning curve for the new users, not only should the bot inform the user of its capabilities but also present with opportunities to explore other features of the bot. You cannot expect a new user to figure everything out on its own.

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  7. Personality makes an impression

    The first impression does matter and giving your bot a personality will help you make an impression on your users. There is clear distinction between the content and the deliver, i.e. the what and how. Every business needs to define its relationship with its user and this will define the personality of the bot, for instance a law firm will have a very professional relation with its user while a fashion store needs to have more a friendly approach, these personality traits need to be reflected in the bots. If you muss out on this key element, you will have successfully accomplished in creating a unattractive and un-interactive alternate to an application.

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  9. Interaction should be short and simple

    Chat bots represent a transition from GUI to no UI, long messages sent to fast are difficult to comprehend and moreover you don’t want your users to have to scroll back up to read the entire messages. Also the user tends to skim the messages rather than reading it all in case of long messages increasing the chance of missing important communication. Contextual and previously stored information should help shorten the complicated flows and allow repetitive tasks to be done as simply as one click.

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  11. Create an hybrid experience

    GUI replaced the text based terminals for a reason, some tasks are simply faster with touch or click. Though most of the users are accustomed to use text for communicating, but it not be efficient for all use cases. Structured information is a very interesting way, however over reliance on structured messages may quickly lose the conversational element and alienate the user into an artificial world. Structured messages can efficiently be used as a guiding tool. For example rather than asking user to type his response in a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, you can use structured message with two buttons.

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  13. Suggest the next step

    A smart bot should suggest the next steps to the user, this will not only help you steer the conversation in the desired direction but also help users discover additional functionalities. To top it off you plan your flows properly you can avoid bombarding the user with a wall of information and help them move forward. For example when your bot responds with a confirmation of an travel ticket, that bot can suggest booking of hotel rooms along with it.

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  15. Always reply back

    Basic human courtesy is whenever somebody communicates with you, you always respond it might be a simple gesture of acknowledgement or answer to its question, likewise make it a point that your bot responds to the user input every time or you will never be able to provide a human like experience to the user. The last conversations by the user not only demand an acknowledgement from the bot, but also present a unique opportunity to upsell, or bridge the gap between you and your user by showing you care.

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Try ZiPi, You’ll Love It!

The world is going crazy about chat bot enabled conversational commerce being the next big thing. While the geeks have their reasons to believe this claim, I have a different outlook to it. Though principally we all agree that for anything to become the next big thing there is only one reason and that is the mass acceptance by the users across the globe.

 

Leaving the geeks in their world of thoughts we the mango people really want one thing to make our day to day life simpler and interesting. In this blog I will be talking about some mango features of chat bots along with how and what ZiPi is onto to make us fall in love with it.
 

  1. It is easy to use
  2. Man is a social animal and the beauty of chat is that it is personal yet disconnected. We use chat so often these days that it has become inherent in us and therefore the acceptance of chat interface comes more naturally to us. ZiPi oozes this same natural acceptance, getting anything done over ZiPi is as simple as chatting with a friend making it extremely easy to use.

 

  1. It makes life simpler
  2. ZiPi clears the clutter on your phone and solves the problem of low mobile storage. ZiPi platform is self sufficient replacement for most of the apps on your mobile phone such as for Restaurants, Cabs, Movies, New, Recharge and many more making it a complete one stop solution. ZiPi securely stores all your vital information so that only the required information is shared when it is required without you having to enter it time and again or being worried about misuse. These are just a few and you will see some more when you use ZiPi such as easier and faster ways to get things done.

 

  1. We understand you better
  2. ZiPi is like a friend to us, the more time we spend it the more it knows us better. The more you use ZiPi it keeps on learning about your preferences, size, favorite food, color, restaurants, your routines and much more. So basically every time ZiPi gives you a suggestion it will start getting closer to your expectations and gradually will start understanding you only the way your best friend would probably understand.

 

  1. It gives hope for a brighter tomorrow
  2. Now let us imagine a scenario where I as a mango person book a flight from my hometown Indore to Mumbai using the Travel Bot on ZiPi and as soon as my reservations are made I receive a recommendation for a few hotels in Mumbai based on what ZiPi knows about my previous hotel bookings, now I’m only a click away without the hassle of searching. This is not it as soon as I switch on my phone after landing in Mumbai the Taxi Bot asks me if I would like to take a cab to my hotel and by the time I pick my luggage and step out of the airport my cab is already waiting for me, it is time to sit back and relax. This is only possible with a single platform solution for everything like ZiPi, it sure looks like a brighter tomorrow.

 

  1. It makes you smarter and cooler
  2. This is one very important factor for us mango people, it is usually the reason why we try something new. I have already told about how ZiPi is smart and makes us smarter but let me tell you one more thing, ZiPi has a close resemblance to movies, do you remember Jarvis, yes Ironman’s smart computer which does everything for Tony Stark. Similarly, we have Alfred, Batman’s private valet, now doesn’t ZiPi look like a great combo of Jarvis and Alfred? When you have something in your pocket what the super heroes of our era use, don’t you feel a lot cooler and powerful?

 

Leave the rest but I would surely give it try only for the last point but you can have your pick. Try ZiPi, you will love it!

 

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BOTIFY YOUR CUSTOMER’S EXPERIENCE

‘Bots are the new apps’ is the word out in the streets of not only the Silicon Valley, but across the globe. Bots represent the next paradigm shift in marketing technology & user experience. Though many believe it’s early to differentiate signal from noise, we see bots unleashing a wave of innovation not only for brands but for the local and home run businesses as well.

Running on the front lines in the country for not only building a scalable and easily accessible bot technology, but also to get the brands and business to adapt to this shift. We feel that the bot technology has the potential to redefine the user experience.

From what we have learned we have listed a few ways we think that the bots can revolutionise how brands and business connect & interact with their customers.


  1.  Improve Customer Service

     
    Customer Service is a low hanging fruit as today the corporate giants are spending a fortune on their customer service executives either directly or outsourced. Even after rigorous training and exorbitant costs achieving creating delight remains a challenge. Consumers don’t want to go to a FAQ page to find answers nor do they like being on hold.

    While interacting with customer service the customer expects someone to understand his problem and provide the best solution since there are only a set number of outcomes, bits can prove to be cost effective eliminating the user wait time.
     
    In our opinion the current bots lack empathy and strong command on language but with the speed that we are making progress in the technology it will not be long before high quality of customer service can be standardised with bots.

 

  1.  Facilitate E-Commerce


    One-On-One curated experiences make bots a great sales person facilitating the e-commerce industry. It is expected that consumers asking a bot questions about the product will go a step further and complete the transactions via the bot as well.

    Bots offer brands an opportunity to fulfill orders quickly and efficiently because of the conversational format. There is no new interface to install and learn, it is like talking to a sales person in the store you walk into to make a purchase.

     
    E-Commerce business would require the bots to answer a broad spectrum of questions and thus in the initial stages the business will have to spend both time and money programming it.

 

  1. Enhanced & Personalised User Experience


    Bots enable brands to give the consumers what they want and when they want it. 
    They bridge the physical and digital worlds and deliver incomparable experiences
     
    Bots eliminate many hassles that consumers face such as installing apps or staying on hold while calling brands. Because of the procedural structure that the bots follow the make the business feel more efficient, informed and reactive to consumers’ queries and issues. Further if the structure of a bot is well laid the user will achieve its goal faster with fewer number of clicks. Time, efficiency and number of clicks are some of key influential factors to an enhanced user experience while the conversational element offers the brands a potential to build great relationships with its consumers. Loyalty members are already devoted customers, bots help deepen their relationships with the brands and businesses by means of personalised redemptions and promotions.

    The bots can be compared to newborns, while personalised experience can be interpreted as a wisdom that comes only after years of experience. It is important to plough the seeds of the wisdom right from the beginning so that in the times to come the bots will be able to deliver enhanced and personalised user experience and we as developers of the technology need to nurture it to that level.


  1. Conversation at Scale

     
    People post, tweet, write reviews, fill out complaints but it comes up to a human to respond every time which from brands with millions of followers become impossible while for a local business takes up too much of its time. While people are fed up holding in queues on call with the call centre bots allow brands and business to have conversation at scale.

    While a call centre executive can handle only a single call at a time the bots can eliminate this problem all together. Further on security sensitive and privy information such as card details or medical status entering into a bot is as secure as entering it on payment gateways.

     
    With the current state we may still not be able to replace the executives working in call centres with the bots, but  bots will certainly share their burden and make higher time available by forwarding only selected queries for processing to executives, reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency by many folds.

 

  1.  Opportunity for Service and Utility Integration

     
    Bots offers brands and businesses for unparalleled opportunities for service and utility integration which in turn enhances user experience. While the utility apps such as weather, live scores etc. are more or less the same across the ecosystem the service apps change for each business. Since the bot platform does not require installation for every new app the entire ecosystem enables interconnectivity.


     
    Integration of several bots will increase business for all the bots while delivering a seamless and hassle free user experience for example a customer books an airline ticket from a bot. The same bot can not only enable booking via integration with a hotel booking bots but also make way for cab booking and restaurant bots. For the user it becomes a complete solution in one single bot while there are four bots that actually are in play.
     

    The opportunity of integrating bots will be the fastest to grow the bot ecosystem and as the number of brands and business bots increase the integrations will scale.

 

The Future Of Bots

 

The bots have already started to surprise and delight consumers. The customer service as I mentioned above should work as the introduction of the bots to the consumers but the potential of the bots exceed far more to wider consumer needs.

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MOBILE MESSAGING FOR MORE CUSTOMER SUCCESS

The last decade has seen tremendous innovation in the communication and technology and there have been many who have tried to either leverage or revolutionize the way the business interacts with its customers, but only few have truly been able to leverage this advancement in communication technology. A lack of understanding of these communication platforms and user needs has lead to consumers turning off notification settings, ignoring messages or deleting email to limit the interruptions by the brands as much as possible.

 

One of the latest and popular communication platform today is Mobile Messaging as it takes the interactions with the customers to a new level – The Personal Level. It is imperative that local businesses  to multinational brands brush up their skills and become aware of how the consumers are using the mobile messaging platforms. It’s important for brands to pay attention to the rules of engagement and adjust their tactics accordingly so that it can be used in a way that feels natural and engaging. Otherwise, mobile messaging will fade away like ] previous technologies and will just become a communication channel for consumers to avoid.

 

The opportunity is wide open for everybody to leverage mobile messaging effectively for more customer success. However the brands/businesses will have to take the lead in bringing the customer closer to a point where the communication becomes meaningful. The brands need to keep in mind 3 key factors to ensure a smooth communication shift

 

  1. Service
    Each brand or business, irrespective of what they make, sell, discover or distribute is a service business and the key to success is a customer centric approach to enhance the customer experience. It is important the customer is kept first and the business is kept second, keeping this approach will always keep the mobile messaging relevant and will not compel the users to opt out of it.


  2. Customer Needs
    Understanding your customer and his needs is paramount. Some brands do understand their customers but most of them don’t, because it is only possible after taking a service oriented approach. When you start to put the customer first you understand their points of pain. Reaching out to the customer at the very moment of his need the business can convert the customer pain to customer delight almost instantly.

    Let us take the example of Mumbai where one fine morning the BEST busses went on a strike, at the very moment when there was chaos in customers mind, OLA reached out to it’s customer with a rate cut on fares keeping in mind the bus strike. Ola reaped the benefits of this great customer empathy in the greater run.

     

  3. Being Human
    Corporates love to control everything. They fear losing control even by giving their employees even the slightest flexibility to act according to what they think is right. Filtered content and corporate dialogues has created a rift between the user and the brand. The success has been seen only in the cases where the brands have taken the effort to deliver human responses.

    Mobile messaging presents a great opportunity for the brands to be conversational and human in their interaction at the same time. This opportunity will die out in vain if the brands stick to using the same predefined and well rehearsed lines while interacting with the user. The human connection through mobile messaging can only be built with certain freedoms to the communication teams of the brands. More the freedom the stronger your relations with the customers.

 

We are in the middle of a communication shift and it can either be an opportunity for the brand or a gamble sure to go bad. Adapting an approach where the focus is more on delivering value to the customer rather than being self centred will pave a way for a relationship where the customer would love to listen what a brand wants to say or else it will not be long when the mobile messaging platform is flushed out of the system like email and telemarketing.

 

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