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Chatbots And Future Of Consumer Search Experience?

Recently we all saw Bing experimenting with a chatbot feature directly in search results. Is it the effect of the Google’s impending mobile first index which is leaving every search expert ransacking their brains?

When thinking about the future of organic search, common considerations include the impending mobile-first index, machine learning, AI, natural language processing, voice search, site speed, HTTP 2, personalization and consumer behavior changes led by the Internet of Things and digital assistants.

However, one technology that is not included in the list is the chatbots. However, since May in the US (Seattle area), Bing has been testing chatbots directly in paid and organic search results, as shown below.

Though chatbot integrations have been a mush talked about topic in the recent past, most people outside of the Seattle area won’t have seen them in action or truly considered how such integrations could be used.

Now let’s see if chatbot integrations really make their way in search results what will be the future of search? Chatbots can be used to carry out the following without ever leaving search results:

  • Book a test drive
  • Engage with customer service
  • Order products and services

The possibilities are huge.

What Are The Challenges?

If we assume for a moment that Bing’s testing is successful and chatbots roll out in search results, getting brands to a point where they can leverage the technology is going to be a challenge. This may be a much larger challenge for the brands that they must not have encountered before.

Do brands have the data infrastructure and customer service setup to make this happen? Who leads these teams, and are they willing to cooperate? What reporting metrics will be required? New relationships and process will have to be forged and maintained.

Measurement and reporting will also pose new challenges, as consumers will interact with brands through search results pages rather than on-site. Analytics platforms will need to find a way to track these interactions.

Looking at the current scenario, if at all chatbots become a permanent feature in search results, it will likely take a bit of time to get fully integrated and implemented.

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