Chatbots: A Massive Missed Opportunity for Enterprises

By Tim Fujita-Yuhas, OpenMarket for MarTech Advisor

Tim Fujita-Yuhas, Director Product Management and New Product Strategy at OpenMarket discusses that new research unveils a massive missed opportunity for brands that are not leveraging SMS-powered chatbots to engage with customers. After polling over 1,500 mobile users in the US and UK, the new research from OpenMarket is as a wake-up call to enterprises

While the year is still young, if you’re not using SMS chatbots in your communications strategy, you’re already missing the mark. A new study that polled over 1,500 mobile users in both the U.S. and UK confirms the massive missed opportunity this customer engagement technology offers.

Despite the majority of respondents noting that they would find the ability to text with their preferred businesses “very useful,” and nearly half (49 percent) of consumers desiring to engage more conversationally with businesses through SMS, the reality is that businesses have not yet taken note of this demand. Those industries missing out on prime engagement points the most are financial services (49 percent), retail (27 percent), and travel and hospitality (24 percent).

While the slow adoption from businesses may be partially attributed to the rise in chatbots seemingly coming out of nowhere, a look back on the overall mobile landscape reveals its adoption was inevitable—particularly in relation to the fall of the mobile app. While they’ve had a somewhat silent decay, the reality is mobile apps are less popular today than they’ve ever been, and the numbers prove it. One of the most compelling statistics that the app era is over is that 49 percent of all smartphone users download zero apps per month. On top of this, Gartner says that in two years’ time, 20 percent of all major brands will have completely abandoned their mobile apps. With that outcome looming, a new window of opportunity is wide open for businesses to interact with their mobile customers. You guessed it, SMS chatbots.

In addition to the obvious perks like convenience, immediacy, and ease of use, one of the overtly powerful features of SMS chatbots is its machine learning capabilities. It’s capable of “remembering” past exchanges and making logical, accurate assumptions for the future. As a result, the opportunities for businesses to capitalize on the technology are endless, and it’s worth noting—cost-efficient.

These technological benefits, combined with global consumers’ demand for more personalized self-service tools, make the adoption of SMS chatbots for the enterprise not only natural and effortless, but an obvious next step. As 2017 unfolds, it will be in every business’s best interest to heed the call and incorporate chatbots into their communication plans.