During a segment titled, “Man Versus Machine in the CX Equation,” at the recent Forrester CXSF Conference, Josh Jacobs, president, Kik Services, talked about how chat can elevate a brand’s story while gaining a new and more highly engaged customer base.

“The thing driving this whole phenomenon now is that chat, in particular, is the killer app for millennials and gen X consumers,” Jacobs said.

As a result, Jacobs advised attendees in a purposeful fashion.

“For all of us in this room thinking about how to build experiences to benefit our customers, your next customer is sixteen to seventeen-years-old right now, they’re spending four hours a day in a chat app, and the only relationships that matter to them are the people that can engage with them in messaging, and that’s the reason that we all need to start paying attention to this,” Jacobs said.

Kik Services is a messaging platform.

“I’m responsible for the ecosystem there that allows brands to build experiences powered by chat and exist inside a messaging platform,” Jacobs said.

A common misconception, Jacobs said, is that “this is just another channel. People don’t read in chat. They want to interact with you. This is the biggest opportunity with this channel, bar none.”

It’ all about companies finding out what interactions people want to have with a brand and its content, and not just about “what I can push out to them. Marketing is a conversation where we talk and people listen and, hopefully, buy something from us. This is about interactions. Chat is this amazing opportunity to re-imagine your brand as someone your consumers would want to be friends with.”

With chat, users have buddy lists.

“These platforms are opening opportunities to go and be on those buddy lists,” Jacobs said. “The number one thing people start doing when they build bots is to invest all this time in interactions and the number of daily users. It’s easy to make friends in chat. You don’t have to think about customer lifetime value as a payback window that happens in two weeks. You have an opportunity to build a relationship over time. If you are patient about that, you’ll see wonderful success in terms of engagement.”

When it comes to who should have control over a bot project, Jacobs said there are two groups: IT and Marketing.

“What are our goals from a marketing perspective?” Jacobs said. “Building brand affinity and brand loyalty are two key themes we are seeing. Imagine your brand actually has a personality and voice and makes people see you stand out from the crowd. Marketing can do things very well, but you can confuse the two (marketing and IT).”

Jacobs said people shouldn’t stop working on their respective brand apps.

“There is this weird thing going on with this unbelievably new platform,” he explained. “We need to be thinking about what are the conversations we want to have with our consumers? The state of the art of what is possible gets bigger, better, and more powerful in this space each month. How do I date my customers effectively? Everybody should start thinking about where chat fits into their strategy.”

And keep it simple.

“Start by trying to do one cool thing that will delight your customers so they will come back and ask for more,” Jacobs said. “The cool thing about being in a conversation is they can tell you what they want next.”

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