One of the great hallmarks of customer and brand relationships is fast, reliable, and personalized communication. This is where chatbots are now changing the game. As consumers become more tech savvy, chatbots are set to become the new norm for forging sustained loyalty between customers and brands. A chatbot is simply a way for customers to get the information they need through messaging that brings immediate, personalized engagement. The customer simply needs to speak or type their inquiry, and the chatbot gives them the answer. And, aside from the obvious convenience, chatbots can respond to a customer in a more conversational tone than, say, emails, or even apps do. It’s a sort of pocket personal assistant.

In recent years, more and more businesses — such as Facebook, Google, and WhatsApp — have taken advantage of the use of chatbots and the text-based services they provide. Using Facebook Messenger, Uber is able to connect with customers looking for a ride. The Uber chatbot not only takes a customer’s request but also sends the driver’s arrival status updates via messenger to the customer. Likewise, Bank of America is now using a chatbot service that offers real-time alerts on a customer’s account status, such as updated info on the how much they spent at a recent food run, or to request sending money to a friend.

For businesses, chatbots serve as a means to administer input for the customer, while building trust cultivated by prompt, reliable and personalized information. Communicating with a chatbot may be more appealing to a customer than speaking with a customer-support agent, and certainly more attractive than having to go through dialing up an entire menu to get the right response.

Moreover, shrewd customers are past sending email inquiries to businesses that may or may not have been received or may not be responded to in a satisfactory timeframe. Instead, with a chatbot, the customer can ask for and receive immediate, dependable information. In turn, trust is built between customer and brand. A customer that is no longer forced to have to look up a Frequently Asked Questions page, or dial a set of numbers to get answers, is a satisfied customer that will keep coming back. A personalized response from a chatbot gives the customer the immediate answers they seek and meets needs while forging a kinship with their favorite brand. The conversational tone a chatbot provides also offers familiarity and freshness. The engagement isn’t static or impassive but, rather, entertaining, appealing and fun. It’s a sort of personalized butler a customer can private message with made to give a prompt and satisfactory response to any question about a particular brand. And the information is always ready, immediate and accurate.

Built as an engine that can access the entirety of a brand’s product and services information with just a word or text request, a chatbot bypasses the old ways of answering customer queries with clear, concise and fast service. In many ways it serves the same purpose as an app, but with a more personalized touch. What also separates a bot from an app is the bot’s ability to adapt and learn in real-time. Chatbots are coded to learn on the go, adapting to input and user reaction to become more accurate with use. The more a chatbot is used by customers, the smarter it will be and, in turn, the more efficient in meeting customer needs. Apps still play a pivotal role to be sure, but it’s the chatbot’s ability for nuanced interaction that is making it the new standard for customer, brand relations.