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chatbot, sales, marketing, retail
Automation
Chris Knight

Chatbots Grow into Sales and Marketing Tools

The evolution of chatbots from a customer support tool continues as retailers, events, hotels, airlines and other sales-focused businesses seek to claw back some of the trade lost to scalpers, scrapers and comparison sites. The wide range of ways to buy almost any product online creates confusion, brand dilution and further moves the consumer away from any relationship with the maker or original business. That change continues to impact the most disrupted areas, notably hotels where major efforts to regain direct bookings (details required to access report) are a major industry trend, as it highlights, “Hoteliers are prioritising their guest-facing digital assets to deliver more, while ensuring marketing efforts remain pocket-friendly. Much of the focus remains on websites, social media and messaging, an intersection where agile technologies like chatbots are taking shape.” While the owners would prefer that hotel rooms and airline seats were full, the drive to selling them

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insurance bot
Automation
Gopika M

How Chatbots Are Making Insurance Agencies Customer-Friendly and More Approachable to Do Business

Virtual Assistants (VA) or chatbots are no longer uncommon. They have moved into the mainstream in a quick manner. No longer do they cause consumers to stumble awkwardly when coming encountered. The same is true for insurers. Chatbots are more than a novelty and are entering deeply into the insurance industry. While it is true that insurers are yet scratching the surface of AI customer service, still there is no doubt that chatbots are becoming hugely popular across various industries including insurance agencies. Intelligent Query Solver AI-based chatbots will bring about new efficiencies which can be achieved by assisting various queries simultaneously. Also, being a recent technology, bots are intelligent and in the coming years, will be bound to improve their insurance industry specific Natural Language Processing models. Now even though chatbot development services provide multiple benefits, still it is important that insurance agencies need to make sure that they

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customer service chatbot
Automation
Chris Knight

Customer Service Is Boosted When the Bot Is Always Right

Customer loyalty is changing, and marketing isn’t always getting the message right when it comes to building an appealing brand. Instead, practical efforts like chatbots, apps and AI-powered services all help to deliver what the customer needs. Marketers perennial panic about the loyalty of their customers is often based on old or plain false information. The customer’s mood is as fickle as ever, and whatever many brands or businesses do, they can come and go in a heartbeat. Recent research from DFA, The Customer Loyalty Landscape in 2018, suggests that 78% of customers feel some loyalty, but 39% have less loyalty than 2017, with 57% happy to go where the deals are. Customers expect their modern brands to be functional, personalised, available, convenient and flexible, with immediate and valuable customer support. Technology also makes it into the customer want-list, and that’s where bots can come into play, helping with all

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chatbot in jail, chatbot, arrested
Automation
Chris Knight

Chatbot Identification Now Law in California and Expected to Spread

A clampdown on video face recognition systems is spreading around major cities, as politicians police and others continue to argue its merits. Meanwhile, a tightening of rules on other AI and smart technologies is on the way. Chatbots are the latest to feel the effect with a Californian law banning bots that fail to identify themselves as such. When any new technology arrives, there are people who want pragmatic laws to protect users and bystanders – think the red flags that had to be waved in front of early cars. There are also crazy laws passed to try and protect vested interests or big business. Look at all the roadblocks thrown in front of solar power and electric cars to keep big oil happy. With digital technology, there might not be such an obvious risk or hazard, or a line of legacy business to protect. But people taking this approach

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iron man, robert downey jr
Automation
Chris Knight

Robert Downey Junior Talks Real Bots to Save the World

A real flying Iron Man isn’t going to show up any time soon. Even if he did, he’s hardly in a position to tell everyone else to make the world a better place, and few would likely listen. So, the real world Robert Downey Junior is talking up his new initiative to use technology and AI to help improve the world via his Footprint Coalition. While the Footprint Coalition might not have the ring of The Avengers Initiative, it plans to have plenty of problem-solving power behind it next year when it launches officially. Robert Downey Junior was talking about at an Amazon Re:Mars future-navel-gazing event keynoted by the actor and in-part hosted by Amazon Alexa as a guide to the AI future. The actor is already producing a series about AI for YouTube, and this new chapter in his post-Tony Stark mission seems to tally with his interest in

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polls, surveys, trends, chatbots
Automation
Chris Knight

The Smart Future of Chatbots and Self-Service Customer Support

As customers have more ways to get in touch with their bank, local government, favourite brand or other business, the move to self-service support is a natural step for most high-volume companies. But how to prepare your customers for the step, and monitoring how they react are key issues in making it a success, and beyond that – what happens when customers have their own bots? Customer-led automation is a fresh term coined in recent research by tech analyst firm Gartner. In their latest piece, they highlight that to handle the growing load of customers, engagements and data, automation is the key, but letting the customer choose how to engage is vital to maintaining a positive relationship. There will always be people who want to talk on the phone or chat to a real agent on messenger, and there are those who simply want a problem solved in the fastest

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emojis
Automation
Oisin Muldowney

Toward the Systematic Evaluation of Chatbots

Currently, the best method for evaluating chatbots relies on humans, but the lack of standardization can make this difficult. Six people at the University of Pennsylvania are working to solve this problem. They have developed a unified system to evaluate chatbots that augments current tools and also provides an online hub for chatbot developers to test and show off their latest creations. Evaluating chatbot performance Even small variations in the training stage of a chatbot can lead to different model performance scores. Adding several evaluation techniques and the lack of a large community for chatbot developers makes the problem of evaluating performance even more difficult. Taking a look at the various papers surrounding chatbots, it’s easy to see that all the unique methods for rating performance makes it harder to pin down consistent and reproducible results. To solve these problems, Joao Sedoc,  Daphne Ippolito, Arun Kirubarajan, Jai Thirani, Lyle Ungar,

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people use chatbots
Automation
Oisin Muldowney

Why People Use Chatbots

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is on the record for saying, “Chatbots are the new apps.” During the last few years, tens of thousands of chatbots have been deployed on a variety of online platforms, including but not limited to Facebook Messenger, Skype, Slack, Discord, and others. Companies are using chatbots for customer service automation and countless other tasks. Some researchers have formally studied the reasons why people use chatbots. We share one such study below. Chatbot questionnaire on usage Petter Bae Brandtzaeg and Asbjørn Følstad are two of the few who have taken a scientific look at exactly why people are interested in chatbots. They surveyed 146 people from the United States aged 16 to 55 about the technology. Participants were asked 17 questions about their chatbot use, including motivations for using the technology and experiences with chatbots. Demographic information was also collected. While a substantive amount of research has

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chatbot news
Automation
Chris Knight

Customer Service Chatbots Ready to Enter A Golden Age

Just a few short years ago, customer service chatbots were stilted affairs, little better than the scripted agents they were supposed to replace. As AI has grown in stature and usefulness, those chatbots are now serving millions of customers for brands big and small. And the agents are still here, focusing on complex issues or those that require a human touch, and as 2020 beckons chatbots will be ubiquitous. Back in 2017, the likes of IBM were quoting estimates that Chatbots will save businesses $8 billion each year by 2020. And it looks like that number won’t be too far off, as bots augment and replace traditional customer services. And that was in the very early days when virtual assistants and chatbots were starting to scope each other out as best buddies in the race for digital engagement. More recent research shows it costs $8,800 to hire and train agents,

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chatbot news
Automation
Chris Knight

Conversational AI Gets Its Own Trade Event

Chatbots continue their rise up the IT and business agenda, with an increasing presence at business events, technology expos and in the keynotes of thought leaders. VentureBeat’s transform is going all AI with its upcoming Transform 2019 event. Whenever there’s a technology roadshow or event on the go, AI and chatbots are at the cutting edge of the business conversation. SalesForce Basecamp events are currently touring Europe, helping business leaders get up to speed on all sorts of technologies to drive growth and innovation from digital employees, who are likely the final form of chatbots with a full personality. Follow the hashtags and see all types of businesses discussing how AI will change how they work, and work smarter. The idea isn’t only about revenue growth but having happier, more loyal customers, who are willing to spend regularly. On with the show For a longer look at the issues affecting

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