Time to Chat to the Chatbot?

Remember how everyone complained when automated telephone answering began? I know I did! We wanted a human person to talk to. However, in today’s fast moving digital world, we want to communicate 24/7. Enter the chatbot.  

We’ve been texting for years, so text based chatbots was a natural leap, providing the digitally savvy consumer with the immediate response they wanted.  When Facebook announced tools for developers to build bots in Facebook Messenger their future was pretty much secured. Brands are now using them as a great way to communicate with their consumers on the platform of their choice eg Facebook, retailer’s own website.

Last year Mastercard announced plans to launch a bot which enables their partners to engage in dialogue with customers and provide personalized service, seamless user experience and contextual offers and rewards.” And they’re not alone.  A lot of other brands are using chatbots to communicate with their consumers - and not just in the area of customer service

Improvements in recognizing key words and understanding what consumers are saying has opened up new possibilities. In addition, the rise in messaging apps and virtual assistants (such as Amazon Echo and Google Home) have changed consumer behavior towards the bots. We live in an ‘always on’ society with consumers wanting things immediately, engaging digitally with brands. 

A great example of an educational chatbot is Yeshi, which was created to bring awareness to the water crisis in Ethiopia. 

Here you get a ‘Walk with Yeshi’ interactive experience of walking for 2.5 hours to find clean drinking water. She not only talks her about her life and asks questions about yours but also exchanges images, videos and there’s quizzes to answer. A truly interactive, educational experience.

As for the future, Gartner predicts  

“By 2020, the average person will have
more conversations with bots
than with their spouse”

Natural language processing, a human tone and engaging personality make them more pleasurable to deal with. The use of AI will enable brands to create a more engaging and personal experience with their consumers. Chatbots can provide the convenience of technology with the personalization required when engaging with today’s consumer. Get that right and they can offer a lot to both consumer and enterprise.