What are Chat Bots?

Chat bots OwnerListens

Chat Bots (illustration)

Chat Bots to the Rescue?

Chat Bots are the hottest new buzzword and not only in the tech world. Brands, government agencies, and even non-profits are talking about bots and how they might help their organizations. So what are chat bots? Are they relevant for your business? Let’s start with the basics.

Chat Bots are software programs designed to simulate a conversation between human users. On one side of the conversation there’s typically a customer asking for help and on the other side a software program that uses technologies like natural language processing and artificial intelligence to  ‘understand’ what the customer is asking and generate an appropriate automated response.

What’s the big deal?

Everyone is excited about chat bots is because they’re a win-win for organizations and consumers, and technology is finally ripe for wide spread usage. Customers will get faster answers and waste less time on the phone or browsing for answers. As a result, they will be less frustrated and happier with the brand. Businesses will be able to reduce call center expenses and boost customer satisfaction. They can also use the data generated by these conversations to make better products, personalize their offerings, and understand their customers better.

Imagine whipping open an app like Facebook Messenger, and typing “Order my usual pizza”. A chat bot would automatically know what you mean by looking up your past order history in a CRM. The bot will then ask you: “A large pepperoni with mushrooms. Correct?” And upon confirmation ask “Should I charge the Visa or Mastercard you have on file with us?” And then confirm that you want the pizza delivered to your home. Through location services in the app the bot can see you’re at home. Creepy? Perhaps. Convenient? Definitely.

The chat bot might then try to upsell you on drinks and garlic bread before thanking you for your patronage and updating your loyalty rewards balance. Two hours later the bot might ask if you were happy with your pizza and what can be improved about it next time – and you can answer it in plain English. If you’re unhappy, you may get a discount for next time. If you’re happy, you might be offered to join the VIP club. 

Sounds like a customer service utopia doesn’t it? Not so fast. In our next post we’ll explore the challenges of bots. Stay tuned.

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