Will Chatbots Make It Into Your Digital Strategy for 2017?

Will Chatbots Make It Into Your Digital Strategy for 2017?
Thursday, January 19, 2017
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If you’ve never heard of chatbots; then let me introduce you…

Chatbots are not exactly new, however they are starting to gain steam, especially with organisations that are customer centric.

google trends chatbot trends
Image: Google Trends – Keyword “chatbots”

Chatbots are messaging robots that use the power of AI to speak to (chat to) people (customers) about a variety of subjects. Chatbots tend to “live” inside messaging apps like Facebook Messenger (which has about 34,000 chatbots across a variety of industries), WhatsApp, Text etc.

Chatbots also exist in the telephony world. I recently experienced one that made me want to throw my phone against the wall…thankfully I didn’t. It was used by a delivery company I was having a terrible experience with and I just couldn’t get past the “gatekeeper” bot to speak to an actual human, it was frustrating to say the least.

If you do get it right though, chatbots can really transform service delivery and customer service on the whole. CNN for example, has a bot that gives you the latest news headlines. You can also “train” it so it never sends you news you’re not interested in, thus personalising your experience.

Check out how KLM use chatbots below:

Retailers can create bots that you can message (optionally via Facebook messenger or a native app) to purchase an item you’ve just seen or have been planning to buy. This could speed up the checkout process exponentially.

Chatbots tend to live mainly in messenger apps, and for the first time in a long time, messenger apps have actually taken over social media apps in terms of usage.

messaging apps have surpassed social apps

And people actually don’t mind interacting with chatbots; but they want the option to be able to transfer to a live agent. See a recent consumer experience survey conducted by aspect for a deeper dive.

A friend of mine, shared a recent presentation with me from her friend on chatbots. It’s a really insightful piece. Check it out below:

If you are considering chatbots, try testing out a few platforms first to get a feel for it, that way you know how to brief an agency/creator for your project. There are a few resources that compare bot creators, here’s a neat article http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/tools-to-build-chatbots/.

It’s important to understand the actual business problem that you are trying to solve. Is it speed of response? Is it quality of response or is it just a resource issue? Having chatbots as part of your digital arsenal can either enhance your operations or just add another unnecessary layer of complication.

In which case, I’m off to create a chatbot to talk to me about the weather… If you live in London, you’ll understand!