Why Chatbots and Text Are Replacing Phone Calls


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Chatbots

Our phones are capable of doing almost everything we could imagine, but younger generations like Millennials and Generation Z are using the actual call function less frequently than ever before. We simply don’t like to communicate through phone calls as much as older generations do. Instead, we like to communicate through text or social media.

Millennials and Generation Z have a combined spending power of around $700 billion. By 2020, Gen Z will account for 40% of all consumers.

Due to the sheer size and influence of Millennials and Gen Z, brands that choose to ignore these groups will be left behind.

Why Millennials and Gen Z-ers Don’t Like Phone Calls

To understand the most effective way to converse with us, you first must understand exactly why it is we dislike phone calls.

To us, phone calls are what we call a big NOPE, or nightmare fuel. Here are some reasons why:

  • We want to avoid prolonged conversations
  • We’re not always available during business hours
  • We want the quickest and most convenient solution
  • We know that calls don’t provide a written history
  • We can’t converse silently
  • We believe it to be too time-consuming

Younger generations don’t like talking on the phone. It’s just not something that we enjoy doing. We don’t want to take the time to call a business even if it’s about simple matters, such as trying to find a product on your website. We’re afraid (and often rightfully so) that by calling a business we may end up on hold or in a lengthy conversation that we can’t end.

There’s also a matter of convenience that we need to address. The time someone may be navigating your site may not be an appropriate time for them to make a call. Many Millennials and Generation Z-ers work or are in school during typical business hours so once we are actually able to schedule appointments or online shop, it’s too late to call to get answers to our questions.

Imagine that I am browsing an online store that is running a Memorial Day sale that ends at midnight. It’s 11:00 pm and there isn’t anywhere on the site that has a sizing guide. If the site has a chatbot, I could easily and quickly ask how the sizes typically run. If the site doesn’t have a chatbot but instead has a customer service line that is only open during business hours, I can’t get the answer to my question.

Either I’m not going to buy anything or I’m going to move on to a different store with a similar sale that can get me the answers I need in that exact moment.

Odds are your business doesn’t have someone manning the phone lines 24-hours a day. This becomes an issue because typically we aren’t going to remember to contact you the next day, or we may find an alternate solution to your products or services. We want answers and we want them now!

The solution to this challenge is to implement a form of communication that Millennials and Generation Z members are more likely to use: chatbots, texts, and direct messages.

Implementing Chatbots

Implementing a chatbot allows users to type in questions without navigating away from the page they are on. It gives us the opportunity to engage with a customer representative on your end immediately without having to speak on the phone. We can ask a question and have that question answered almost immediately (based on how involved the question is). Chatbots are more convenient than having to call customer service and it encourages us to continue exploring your site.

While you can have customer service representatives responding to live chats initiated by leads on your site, this isn’t always an option, especially if you don’t have the resources to staff your customer service department for around the clock responses. Fortunately, the use of AI is on your side. Chatbots allow you to respond to leads in real time on your website no matter what time it is without the aid of a customer representative.

The way chatbots work is relatively simple:

  • It can answer basic questions by filling in the questions and the answers to those questions.
  • When a lead asks the chatbot a basic question, it will be able to pull from the answers you provide an accurate response.
  • Chatbots can also track the behavior of the lead on your site in order to personalize responses more effectively, thereby making customers feel like they’re speaking with a person and not an automated system.

The most notable platform to incorporate chatbots is Facebook. They’ve enabled organizations in a variety of industries to engage with users like never before by enabling them to send order confirmation or details through messenger, provide news updates, and elicit a series of recommendations based on the questions asked or information provided.

Incorporating Text Messaging

Another great way to reach Millennials and Generation Z is through text marketing and notifications. Notifications can include anything from appointment reminders to booking confirmations to account notifications.

My hair salon sends me confirmation text for my appointments instead of calling. I prefer to receive texts as my reminder instead of phone calls. In fact, if I receive a call from a number that I don’t already have saved, I won’t answer. Chances are that unless I am able to listen to the voicemail right then, I will forget about it and the voicemail will never be heard.

Text Messaging as an alternative to chatbots

 

Another way to incorporate texting into your marketing strategy is to send text reminders for upcoming specials, contests or coupons. Receiving a text like this one from Juiceland makes me feel like a valued customer and increases my loyalty to them. I love this because they aren’t wasting my time, they aren’t requiring me to take action, but the text serves as a reminder that I can choose to act on or not.

Text Messages as an alternative to chatbots

Be Responsive with your Direct Messages

Social Media is becoming the perfect channel for one-on-one conversations and customer services through direct messages.

Generation Z-ers spend an average of 3 hours a day on social media, in comparison to Baby Boomers who spend an average of 1 hour and 48 minutes a day.

When younger generations use social media, we don’t only think of it as a place to see photos and videos. We view social media platforms as a place where we can reach out to a business for customer support. This is why it is important for your business to be active on social media and respond to direct messages in a timely manner.

I can’t count the number of times I have used Direct Messages on Instagram to get a quick response from a brand. When a brand responds to me on social media, it instantly creates a sense of brand loyalty and gives me a personal connection with a brand.

Here are a few examples from one of my favorite clothing stores in Lubbock, where I used to live. I responded to their story, quickly received a response and as a result, I visited their store, and then repeatedly continued to reach out over Instagram DMs. I never had to call the store, I never had to visit the website, but I still managed to get an immediate answer that created a stronger relationship with the brand. As you can see, businesses can be straight to the point without taking much time or effort to respond.

Direct Messages are an alternative to chatbots Direct Messages are an alternative to chatbots Direct Messages are an alternative to chatbots

 

Millennials and members of Generation Z don’t want to talk on the phone because we view calls as a hassle and an inconvenience. There are other ways to talk to us. An effective way to encourage Millennials and Gen Z-ers to contact you is by adding a chat feature to your website, incorporating text messages and by responding to DMs on your social media accounts.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to aim your marketing strategies towards Generation Z, check out our Gen Z Book.

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