Email and phone communications dominate conversational martech, but chat isn’t far behind

New research produced by Drift and SurveyMonkey Audience shows increasing shift in consumer expectations when it comes to communicating with brands.

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Conversational marketing technology, including chatbots, has exploded across the martech industry over the past 18 months, and consumer expectations are reflecting its impact. Findings from a recent survey of more than 1,000 consumers by Drift and SurveyMonkey Audience indicate that the ability to quickly communicate with brands to solve customer issues is among the top priorities for online shoppers.

Conversational marketing is an essential component to digital strategies today; companies need to continually improve their 1:1 customer engagements in order to maintain a competitive edge.

Why we should care

Brands that have been hesitant to jump into chatbots will find themselves playing catchup to when it comes time to implement the technology in order to meet the growing needs of consumers. Nearly half of consumers (44%) surveyed expect a response in a face-to-face interaction within five seconds, while 42% indicated the same response time from a chatbot.

CM Survey Response Data
Source: 2019 State of Conversational Marketing

Despite increased consumer expectations, chatbots and online chat windows are not consumers’ top picks: according to the survey, email (65%) and telephone (55%) are the primary communication channels for communicating with brands over the past 12 months. One-third of respondents indicated that they have used online chat over the same time period, but as it becomes increasingly accessible that number can be expected to grow over the next year.

CM Survey Channels
Source: 2019 State of Conversational Marketing

Integrated martech gives digital marketers the opportunity to use these channels to take a more customer-centric approach to conversational marketing. The top frustrations cited by the survey included not being able to find answers quickly on websites.

Enabling customer service representatives (on the phone or online chat) access to real-time customer data to resolve incoming requests can drastically improve the customer’s experience. Identifying and implementing the necessary integrations to execute this could be a key differentiator in brands’ customer interactions.

Additional survey findings:

  • 14% of those surveyed would rather use a chatbot than submit a webform.
  • Consumer frustrations grew over the past year with brands not providing 24/7 customer service. They also struggle to find basic information quickly and easily on brands’ websites.
  • The survey also revealed that consumers prefer communicating with a live person — regardless of the channel — is a better customer experience than dealing with a chatbot.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Jennifer Cannon
Jennifer Videtta Cannon is a markerting specialist at ShotFlow. She previously was a Senior Editor at MarTech. Jennifer has more than a decade of organizational digital marketing experience. She has overseen digital marketing operations for NHL franchises and held roles at tech companies including Salesforce, advising enterprise marketers on maximizing their martech capabilities. Jennifer formerly organized the Inbound Marketing Summit and holds a certificate in Digital Marketing Analytics from MIT Sloan School of Management.

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