We are living in a century where technology dominates lifestyle; Digital Transformation with Big Data, IoT, Artificial Intelligence are such examples. Over the past six months, Chatbots have dominated much of the tech conversation, the next big gold rush in the field of online marketing.
Chatbots are built to mimic human interaction, making them seem like an actual individual existing digitally. It could live in any major chat product (Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Text Messages, etc.), powered by basic rules engine or NLP and AI.
Chatbots have helped in conversation commerce in real time such as booking a cab or ordering a bouquet of flowers or pizza. Consumers will benefit from chatbots through personalization, and this is where social media plays a big part.
Here are a couple of other examples:
- Weather bot: Get the weather whenever you ask like Poncho
- Grocery bot: Help me pick out and order groceries for the week like Yana, MagicX
- News bot: Ask it to tell you whenever something interesting happens like TechCrunch, CNN
- Personal finance bot: It helps me manage my money better like Abe
A chatbot for an airline will function fundamentally differently from a banking bot, for example.
People are now spending more time in messaging apps than in social media and that is a huge turning point. Messaging apps are the platforms of the future and bots as over 90% of our time on mobile is spent on messaging platforms like Facebook messenger, Whatsapp, Wechat, Viber etc.
Typically, businesses need to answer the following questions to create a bot:
- Do you need a constant communication back and forth with the consumer?
- What are customers’ expectations for the interaction?
- How will the bot act?
- What happens when the bot fails?
Chat bots have to be great at answering questions, this is usually how they are challenged, and IBM’s Watson is probably the best question and answer system.
There are several advantages of Chatbots:
- 24/7 availability – A bot exists digitally unlike a human being, and can thus be pressed into service continuously without any interference
- Faster response time than humans, coupled with an AI, chatbot’s machine learning and multi-tasking abilities make it a highly efficient virtual assistant
- Bots allow for a two-way, personalized interaction between the consumer and a brand
- Saves Resources – Employing a chatbot to handle basic customer interactions can free up valuable human resources without a decline in productivity
KLM has a customer service bot that's able to check your flight status and let you know if it's been delayed, for example. It's applications like this (customer service roles in particular) that will bring chatbots into the mainstream. Interacting with software at a human level is becoming more commonplace already, with digital assistants like Google Home, Google Now, Apple Siri.
Going forward, people will scarcely be able to tell the difference between human and machine when interacting with brands online.