Consumers remember too well the “your call is valuable to us” message while grinding their teeth, stuck in customer service hold-hell on the phone. Businesses shouldn’t make similar mistakes just because the chatbot eliminates that particular bugbear, being casual with your customer service bots will only lead to more problems. The drive to chatbots as a 24/7 always-on solution for customer service is one of the major appeals of the technology. Businesses from startups to enterprises use them to reduce the pressure on call centers or service agents and to triage serious issues while letting the bot take the load of typical queries, improving the customer experience. While early bots, when the technology raced up the adoption curve in recent years, only answered simple queries. We’re already at the point where modern bots can answer more complex problems, understand user sentiment, take orders or appointments, link to useful information, provide
The complexity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will require a simple interface if they are to become a realistic prospect for mass-consumption. Enter chatbots, a logical and clear solution to gloss over the complexity of digital currencies, blockchain and future transactional services. Banking has become a lot simpler in recent years, led by the need to speed up transactions. In most cases, you can pay for physical goods by tapping your phone or bank card on the till. For digital purchases, at worst you might need your three-digit security code, or thumbprint to trigger a transaction. So, it is hard not to laugh at all the proponents of cryptocurrency as a “simple” solution to the world’s banking and shopping needs. People need a trading account to buy it, a digital wallet to hold it in, and perhaps an exchange account to get at it in a traditional currency. And if you
Consumer banking around the world is in crisis. Banks around the western world are closing branches, reducing services and moving to a digital-first customer service model. That’s to counter the rise of startup online-only banks and to preserve their profits as consumer banking becomes a commoditized and nearly worthless endeavor. The best customers for banks are those deep in debt, always paying fees and interest. Not a pretty picture and one that’s hard to market. No wonder most banking adverts are ethereal or aspirational. And, as people invest better in property, stocks and so on, there’s less money sitting in banks for them to invest, a spiral that is only tightening. People also talk to their bank less often, they are less engaged by advertising and use apps in greater numbers and frequency. All of which sees a chatbot playing a greater role in customer services and interactions. HSBC has
The chatbot market, like much of technology, sees major brands trying to dominate among a host of niche, startup and market-specific players. Yet, as chatbots become a key tool for many, business is always easier if the developers talk your own lingo. That’s why vertical specific bots are a big hit for airlines, hotels, industries and other areas. Big names in tech struggling with bots The world of bots sees a fast-changing, rapidly-evolving playing field and those major names with their square peg products can’t fit easily into every round hole niche. Analysts are already wondering about the success or true potential of products like IBM Watson. IBM’s recent Red Hat acquisition has opened up a can-of-worms discussion by tech pundits about the super-AI’s real utility, opening the playing field for others. Also in recent news, Google acquired San Francisco automation startup Onward to bolster its own bots’ natural language
October saw the start of the big tech conferences and reveals as businesses prepare for 2019’s consumer tech products, and to help companies and customers communicate with further technology integration and adoption. While iPad and Mac were at the top of Apple news in October, something more practical, affordable and useful for business also came our way. Apple rolled out Business Chat features in Europe and Asia during October, giving the feature and tools a global footprint. While few humans could seriously benefit from a $3,700+ Mac Mini or a £1,800 iPad, Apple Business Chat could benefit thousands of businesses and huge numbers of customers. While it remains a beta, the app is good for public use, road tested by some major American brands. For example, the Four Seasons hotel chain was a launch user in the States and is now rolling it out to its hotels in other regions.
Chatbots are a growing research topic. In the spotlight since the advances in artificial intelligence in recent decades, conversational agents (CAs) constitute a part of the scientific literature, in the fields of information systems, computer science and human-computer interactions, among others. Here we will establish the lessons we can learn from these studies to create more efficient chatbots. Inefficient until now? One of the first lessons we can learn from the scientific literature and experiments that have been conducted so far – both in the laboratory and with the general public – is that most experienced chatbots have failed to meet the expectations of either their users or their creators. Thus, the majority of chatbots that have been implemented in the past no longer exist, because they were disappointing or because they are outdated, due to a lack of follow-up to keep them up to date. As users become more
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a powerful tool that Chatbot builders can use to add a human element to conversations and help reduce user frustration. NLP is, however, much more than just that and exists as a technology that’s become ingrained in our daily lives while also hiding in plain sight. What is NLP? NLP is an area of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that deals with how computers process, comprehend and output human language. It’s the input and output that allows deeper and more powerful AI processes to actually create value. While NLP’s time in the spotlight has been relatively recent, it’s far from being a new technology. Ever since humans have been using computers, applying their capabilities to process communication has been a core function. In fact, one of the most famous computer challenges – the Turing Test – deals fundamentally with how well a computer can communicate. To dig deeper
Chatbots for marketers, brands, and companies provide a fast and efficient response to a range of questions about a service or product. In most markets, however, consumers remain unsure or cautious. To that end, careful branding is required to get the right message across, and give your bot the right voice. Small Names for Big Voices The most popular names for leading bots are all short, vowel-led with soft-sounding tones. Around the world, The US Citizenship and Immigration Service uses “Emma” to provide services while India’s HDFC Bank’s has gone with “Eva.” Bot creators are happy to be creative with names and work in acronyms. The City of San Francisco’s “PAIGE” (Procurement Answers and Information Guided Experience) helps provide workers with contract information. India’s national railway’s new bot is called “Disha” (Digital Interaction to Seek Help Anytime), a strong girl’s name meaning direction. Closer to home, Ted Baker’s fashion brand
We examine what AI is, how it started, how we’re interacting with it, and where it’s headed. As you’ll see, the future of AI is much brighter than what the Silver Screen has predicted.