Don White, CEO and Co-founder at Satisfi Labs talks about the impact of conversational AI on customer experiences and why marketers will need to rely on these platforms to drive future online journeys…
Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Don, tell us about yourself and your B2B journey through the years, we’d love to hear more about Satisfi Labs and how it’s grown over the years…
I started at Bloomberg full-time while I was still in college. In a sense, I grew up there. Those 15 years provided me with tremendous opportunities that started with an internship and led to me managing the Tech Support department, becoming the Head of Product, and eventually the Head of Sales. After that, I linked up with the Datahug team (now SAP) that was launching its U.S. operation after establishing its business in Dublin. Going from a company like Bloomberg to a start-up was definitely a culture shock and although it was challenging, I can’t imagine a better way to truly learn what it takes to launch a company. Finally, I was connected with the early investors at Satisfi and after starting as CRO, I was elevated to CEO and remain in that role today.
There’s been increased interest and growth of conversational marketing over the recent years: can you talk about some of the biggest observations/trends you’re following when it comes to conversational marketing today?
As far as consumer trends, I recently read that 85% of consumers want their brands to support them with a chat interface.
Most chat options have been deployed specifically for customer service use cases, which is why I believe there are so many poor applications of conversational AI for this use case. Customers want to converse with a brand so they can get information and acquire the goods or services they need. They are able to achieve this now with people or by reading a Q&A on an e-commerce site, however there are little to no digital experiences available today that meet this expectation.
Why should brand marketers look at conversational marketing as a must-have when it comes to planning their multichannel strategy today?
Customer relationships are now being built on digital messaging. Brands need to be accessible in the same way their customers reach out to friends, family, and colleagues. Customers today choose their channel and expect brands to be available on their terms, not the other way around. The conversational interface is what people prefer to engage with because it provides a faster, more direct, method of communication.
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What are the five top of mind thoughts/tips you’d share with B2B marketers who are new to using tools that drive the conversational marketing experience?
- Focus on the brand experience. If the conversational experience is strong and provides value, customers will tell you who they are to receive more personalized experiences in the future. Businesses that engage in conversational marketing will buy more from you.
- Know where it belongs. The placement of this technology is incredibly important. Most of the time, the location of the experience alone makes a difference. You may need different experiences for different web pages or email campaigns, opposed to today where you see a lot of one and throw it everywhere.
- Make it solve a problem for the user. Not everything is really better in a conversation. We once experimented with food ordering and one concept there was an item that had 1,000 unique combinations as far as toppings. It was either a conversational interface, which we would build, or they would keep with the menu tap system they had currently. Despite the revenue opportunity, I told them what they had was optimal compared to what we could do. The same is true in a lot of areas.
- Make sure your reporting is strong. I have seen many implementations where the system is up and on a website, but the brand really has no idea what is happening with it. While it might be taking in some emails and SMS numbers, it’s possible that most of the time the customer is attempting to converse about topics that are not covered.What if they expect it to do something different and are now left frustrated? It is important to ensure you can see what’s going on and have the ability to make changes if the experience is actually harming some of your customer relationships.
- Don’t wait until you think you are ready. I have worked with a range of companies – from very small organizations to enterprise companies. Regardless of size, at some point, you always find someone who thinks it’s not something their customer cares about, or they believe their data is so unstructured that they won’t be able to launch anything good. It’s actually very easy to get started and it’s more important to solve a small problem quickly to get your customer communicating with you conversationally, than trying to solve all the problems with one giant solution.
Some last thoughts on the future of martech and B2B marketing?
I believe B2B conversational marketing will change the landscape of B2B sales in the near future. Much of the buying experience is contained in conversations, yet in the B2C world you see a lot of consumers buying things via automation. It is only a matter of time before businesses start to expect their vendors to provide them the same experience they are being forced to provide their customers.
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