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How COVID-19 helped MSF enter the world of chatbots

Nick Scott, Head of Digital at MSF Spain, writes about how the organisation had nice success with the implementation of chatbots because the COVID-19 pandemic unfold internationally. Together with Toni Matas, director at Persualia, Nick spoke about their expertise at #FRO2021 from The Useful resource Alliance.

In March final yr, our world modified from at some point to the subsequent. At MSF Spain, we knew that the lives of our confined audiences had modified massively. Their days lived on-line. Work on-line. Faculty on-line. Even events on-line.

It was an opportunity for us to attempt a brand new advertising technique: inbound advertising.

COVID-19 would require us to launch digital-only advertising campaigns. Most of those could be campaigns based mostly on interruption by means of adverts, during which communication with a possible donor was fast, and the response we sought – a donation – was speedy. And we knew they’d work, as a result of emergency campaigns do work nicely on digital. There’s urgency, the difficulty is well-known, and the necessity is evident.

However there was additionally a possibility to attempt one thing totally different. For the primary time ever, the factor that the majority pursuits MSF – medical-humanitarian motion – was additionally the factor that a majority of individuals in Spain. These have been individuals who have been residing by means of a medical-humanitarian emergency in their very own nation, and these shared pursuits are the core of sturdy communication.

4 days after the primary lockdown was carried out, we acquired one thing sudden by e-mail. It was an inside doc, containing a sequence of suggestions to assist workers handle their emotional and psychological well being within the face of the pandemic.

With the arrival of this doc, we noticed a novel alternative. We already knew that psychological well being was a key theme for our audiences. A sequence of movies we’d launched providing recommendation on psychological well being in a pandemic was getting attain we hardly ever noticed with our content material, being seen by tons of of hundreds of individuals. We noticed the chance to create a marketing campaign that doesn’t ask for one thing however relatively presents  it. A marketing campaign that doesn’t chase, however attracts.

An opportunity to attempt a brand new instrument: chatbots

We additionally had an opportunity to check a brand new sort of channel that we knew had the capability to be extremely partaking: chatbots. We have been already in negotiations with an company that specialised within the space of chatbots and conversational advertising and had been satisfied of their potential. Why chatbots?

  • They’re very versatile. You should use them to adapt to the wants and responses of every person with totally different journeys, and work with totally different targets with every chatbot (consciousness, engagement, conversion, and many others.)
  • Customers perceive the chat format. Chatbots really feel just like broadly used instruments like WhatsApp and, not like with touchdown pages, customers solely must course of one piece of knowledge at a time when partaking with them
  • They’re extremely optimisable. Each click on is an information level. It’s straightforward to know the place individuals are being engaged and the place they aren’t so to shortly and simply adapt and alter every bit of textual content and each level of interplay
  • They’ll include many types of media and content material. Customers don’t want to depart the chatbot to expertise all the pieces from textual content and video to video games, information seize, and extra
Introducing our chatbot for psychological well being in lockdown

We launched our chatbot in the beginning of April in 2020. The “bot” was truly certainly one of our group members: Maria Cecilia from our psychological help unit – we even included her image to reassure customers and make the expertise really feel private. The content material she delivered was based mostly on MSF’s inside psychological well being help doc, however rewritten as a sequence of tales within the punchy conversational textual content fashion of chatbots. It supplied recommendation on eight potential types of emotional stress, with numerous illustrations to interrupt up the textual content and produce it to life.

Moreover, we created a downloadable lockdown package that supplied recommendation and steerage based mostly on the ideas contained inside the chatbot expertise, together with different assets. Customers who give their contact particulars to obtain the package are registered for a follow-up e-mail journey, which is the inbound advertising a part of the equation. Those that gave their particulars have been additionally given an summary of MSF’s operations and the possibility to make a direct distinction by donating to help the combat in opposition to COVID-19.

We added the newly-created chatbot to our coronavirus net pages. As a consequence of their excessive rating in Google for the search phrases “epidemic” and “coronavirus”, these pages have been receiving hundreds of distinctive guests each day, guaranteeing sturdy preliminary engagement with the chatbot. We additionally posted in regards to the bot on our social media channels, understanding we might anticipate enormous attain on any content material referring to psychological well being and COVID-19.

Along with e-mail advertising, we additionally developed Fb adverts to advertise the chatbot and attain an viewers past our most conventional supporter base. Inside the first three weeks, we achieved very promising outcomes:

  • Over 100,000 arrived on the level of first interplay
  • 71,000 noticed one of many emotional suggestions
  • 7,700 leads (2,000 exterior Spain)
  • 78 donors (€3,350 donated)
  • 33 common donors

One of many bot’s best successes was WhatsApp, the place it was shared tens of hundreds of occasions. On one event, a message despatched by me and one other member of my group to highschool mother and father teams on WhatsApp went world wide; hundreds of individuals from Guatemala and Mexico have been reached by forwarded messages. Months later, we heard from our psychological help group that we’d had sufferers from a centre in Guatemala congratulate our docs on the chatbot!

The chatbot has since been tailored into totally different languages and contexts. However, as lockdown has grow to be much less strict and the viewers utilizing the unique bot in Spanish has dropped, the price of adverts has continued to rise. So, we now have continued to optimise and now have to revisit our technique to plan how we are going to use the bot in an always-on method, in a time when COVID-19 won’t be such an element.

A primary (of many) forays into the world of chatbots

In our digital response to COVID-19, we didn’t cease at only one chatbot. Throughout 2020, we went just a little chatbot-crazy, releasing a number of bots to fulfill quite a lot of totally different targets: peer-to-peer fundraising, engagement, recruitment, common donor acquisition, and extra. Throughout our speak at #FRO2021, we talked delegates by means of the seven superpowers of chatbots and the way MSF Spain employed every one to check this newest instrument in our arsenal.

In the course of the pandemic, nonprofits and charitable organisations world wide have made enormous modifications to how they increase funds and interact with donors. Learn how UNICEF stepped up its donor retention efforts because the coronavirus took maintain.



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