Are Chatbots the future of Market Research?
Just as the adoption of the internet and the spread of social media fundamentally changed the way we interact and communicate, the next wave of change is at our doorsteps: Chatbots. And it’s poised to overhaul our current perceptions and use of artificial intelligence.
Interacting with Chatbots
Last April, Facebook announced at its annual F8 Developers Conference that it would be opening its Messenger Platform API for the development of Chatbots. Chatbots are mini programs designed to interact with customers on a one-to-one basis. There’s no need for a human being actively managing the conversation in real time. Think of interacting with a brand or organization just as you might have a text message conversation with a friend. A friend with an ability to parse text and respond to inputs. Not just simple yes/no questions and multiple choice requests. But also using natural language processing limited only by the programming and the AI engine behind it.
With the rise of chatbots, brands can feasibly fulfill the promise of social media. Personal, trackable, scalable conversations and insights. All directly from the people your organization is aiming to serve.
Chatbots and Market Research
Rather than sending your customers through a call center or hoping they’ll find what they’re looking for on your website. If communication with your brand could be as simple and as easy as sending a private, one-to-one text message. Just imagine the possibilities. Imagine being able to send notifications about new products, offers, news or shipping alerts. Sending it to exactly the right people in the same way. No standalone app required. Just natural, intuitive conversation with the people you need to reach in the way that feels the most comfortable to them.
Market research is about conversations with people. Boil down all of the statistics and number crunching to its core purpose. It’s about finding out what people think of an idea, product, brand or way of life. It is about getting to know a group of people.
What better way to get to know someone than to reach them where they’re already communicating with their closest friends?
With chatbots, respondents can easily and painlessly answer survey questions within their favorite messaging app or service. Whenever a research company has a new study available, panelists can get a notification directly via that messaging app to their smartphones, without having to download a separate app. Incentives, audio/visual inputs and live online chats for qualitative research can all be handled directly through the messaging app as well.
And how do the costs, demographics, survey experience, and data collected compare with a more traditional online survey approach? Research conducted at Michigan State University, in collaboration with YouGov, using identical consumer electronics surveys administered on Facebook Messenger via Messenger bot and via YouGov’s more traditional online email-based panel, found a sweet spot between the two methods. Brand recognition from current panelists aided in adoption and response rates for the Facebook Messenger chatbot, and the chatbot added significant value in terms of mobile survey-takers and overall experience ratings.
At SPARC, we regularly use chatbots and chat functions to conduct Market Research. In many cases, a combination of quantitative and qualitative benefits is evident. All at a fraction of the cost of a traditional qualitative approach.
If you want to know more, perhaps even have a ‘chat’ about the options to use these tools… be sure to reach out to us!