Do we need AI-powered chatbots for excellent customer experience?

Most of you have probably heard of chatbots and other intelligent assistants. The developments in artificial intelligence and smart applications proliferate due to the desire for owning such a bot. But, do we really need AI support for running a chatbot? Must the mere fact that something exists imply we must have it? 

We are definitely at the beginning of the road to the new reality, where technology itself isn’t a challenge – it’s finding the practical use of the AI mechanisms. Based on my observations, I find that most people who hear about a solution that uses AI mechanisms, approach them rather skeptically. This is mainly because they are currently unable to build a clear and real business case in their field of activity. 

Why do I write about it and what does it have to do with chatbots? 

Here’s how Wikipedia defines a chatbot: 

A chatbot (also known as a talkbot, chatterbot, Bot, chatterbox, Artificial Conversational Entity) is a computer program that conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods. Such programs are often designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, thereby passing the Turing test. Chatterbots are typically used in dialog systems for various practical purposes including customer service or information acquisition. Some chatterbots use sophisticated natural language processing systems, but many simpler systems scan for keywords within the input, then pull a reply with the most matching keywords, or the most similar wording pattern, from a database.” 

If you own a small company and are interested in chatbots, then explore the resources which are publicly available on the Internet. There are plenty of presentations and articles that will curb your enthusiasm. Calculate the cost of such investment and you’ll rethink it anyway.

The good news is: you can actually have a chatbot that will be very useful without the backup of sophisticated technology or AI. I believe that nowadays the implementation of the application in a chat with the need to implement artificial intelligence is being wrongly associated with each other. This approach slows down the adoption of IMs in companies and blocks the potential which is associated with this communication channel. And this is the exact opposite of what the end-users and organizations expect! 

So what can you do? 

The answer is trivial. You should start with simple things, such as asking the users through a questionnaire (that can be in the form of a simple chatbot!) what they would like to do in Messenger by themselves. With this, you will show that you respect your users and that you pay attention to their comfort and needs. At the same time, you will get information on how many users are able to communicate via Messenger. By doing so, you will kill two birds with one stone. 

If this task proves that investing in a chatbot does not make sense – it is also valuable information for you! 

Then, having those engaged users and a simple chat application that suits your customers’ needs, you can begin thinking about the next steps, such as new features, interaction analysis, conversation optimization, etc. Giving continuous value to your customers is crucial here. 

Why Facebook Messenger? 

I’d like to encourage you to use Facebook Messenger, as opposed to other instant messaging apps. Messenger has better technological capabilities and the advantage of openness to external systems. 

Moreover, a few weeks ago, Sensor Tower released its study of the most downloaded apps in Q1 2017. The first four positions belong to Facebook! Among them is Messenger, which currently has over 1.2 billion users globally. The potential is making me dizzy – it would be a sin not to make use of this fact! 


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