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Businesses are introducing customer service chatbots as part of a much-needed digital transformation, bringing the benefits of AI-powered automation to diverse industries, ripe for innovation.

But as the demand for automated customer experience (ACX) rises, so do the number of chatbots available on the market — leaving many businesses lost when it comes to selecting the right tool.

In fact, according to a recently commissioned Forrester Report, even after implementing a chatbot solution, many market leaders are still unable to achieve the level of personalized support they need. Only 21% are able to provide highly-customized automated experiences.

With ⅔ of CX leaders planning to introduce deeper levels of personalization over the next two years, companies continue to embrace the promise of automated chat. But a successful implementation requires a strategic approach.

As part of this strategy, I’ve outlined five key considerations for selecting a chatbot platform to raise CSAT and ROI.

1. Invest in accessible AI

As shared in the Forrester Snapshot Report, “if organizations continue to invest in tools which actively fight against the typical business user, they will not succeed. AI-powered chatbot technologies, that can be customized and operated by CX teams, must be embraced.”

Businesses are no longer dependent on the time-consuming and highly-technical skills required to build and manage a customer support chatbot. Instead, businesses should seek out an easy-to-use, code-less platform that empowers CX professionals — those who know the business best — to build a chatbot with empathy, hands-on knowledge, and expertise.

Over and above allowing businesses to build automation rooted in empathy, it also lets them move quickly. Without being tied to the IT department, long timelines are eliminated, so that automation can be quickly introduced, changed, and strengthened in ways that reflect customer needs in real-time.

2. Go beyond answers — automate actions

Although Forrester found that 91% of CX leaders want a chatbot to automate actions, only 52% have the capability to do so. By introducing a chatbot that is too basic, organizations are losing out on opportunities to save their customers time and effort, raise CSAT, and in some cases, generate new revenue through automated up-sells and payments. As demand for self-service continues to soar, businesses should look to a platform that lets customers do more on their own, including:

  • Change and update contact information
  • Automatically schedule appointments, bookings, and activities
  • Instantly process payments by authenticating the customer’s account
  • Update and upgrade account services and products
  • Leverage loyalty discounts and coupons for savings

3. Enable highly-personalized experiences

Customer satisfaction is more than simply a score. CSAT has a direct impact on a company’s bottom line, and the level of personalization provided by an automated solution can greatly influence these results. In fact, Forrester has found that good CX has a quantifiable impact on top-line revenue across all industries.

That’s why forward-thinking organizations should invest in a conversational chatbot platform that offers a high degree of personalization, leading to happier customers and business success.

“Firms must offer highly personalized chatbot experiences that are specifically tailored to the interests, contexts, and behaviours of its users,” states the Forrester Snapshot.

Businesses must push FAQ bots aside and prioritize new chatbot capabilities, including:

  • Understanding issue context and account history to provide unique responses
  • Identifying customers and addressing them by name
  • Engaging customers with offerings tailored to individual interests and intent

4. Consider every language…and then another

While the majority of chatbot platforms allow companies to provide 24/7 customer support anywhere around the world, the ROI of automation is instantly lost when you don’t have the ability to engage with an international audience.

Speaking every customer’s language is certainly challenging. That’s why multilingual self-service support can quickly become part of a brand’s differentiation. Without requiring your team to carry a dictionary and manually translate each answer, the right chatbot solution can allow those creating content to instantly translate answers into every language your customers speak.

5. Don’t forget the handoff

We don’t believe live agents and chatbots should work against one another. Quite the opposite. We think they should work as a team supporting one another to build the best experience for the customer. There are some issues that always require the human touch.But to build this tight-knit team, a business needs a chatbot platform that allows for both parties to support the customer with ease. As if handing off a baton, the success of the experience comes down to how the customer is transferred from chatbot to live agent without impacting the quality of the experience. The moment a customer asks to speak with a live agent, the bot should be able to retrieve and connect them, all within the same interface.

But customers can’t be connected to just any agent — that’s where things could get complicated, and the baton dropped again. With at least 35% of enterprises maintaining more than 50 chatbots by 2021, it’s important to select a solution that can direct customers to an agent within the correct department, geography, and even language.

Investing and incorporating the right chatbot platform into your customer service strategy can dramatically transform the support experience. But selecting the right one is key to driving results.

5 Core Considerations For Choosing Your Chatbot was originally published in Chatbots Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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In today’s noisy world it is harder than ever to build a meaningful relationship with your audience. This is especially true if you are a…

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Chatbots Magazine by Sonrat Priyanka - 1d ago

For many decades, Designer has been creating Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) which have dominated the way we interact with computers, But conversational user interface (CUI) is still new to the word. So you might have many questions in mind,” What is CUI?”

CUI is a way of interacting with computers and humans where the medium changes from graphical elements like links and buttons to the human-like conversation — emotions and humour. CUI is used in chatbots that mimic a conversation with a real person via text or voice. So now the question that arises is “What is chatbot?”

A chatbot is an assistant that communicates with the user through text messages, that integrates into websites, applications or instant messengers. Chatbots can be used in almost every industry. It is used to order Food, Book a taxi, Book a ticket, Banking etc. Instead of tapping buttons on a screen to find an answer, users can simply ask the bot a question, like “Can you tell me how much money I have in my account?” or, They can say “I want to order two large Italian pizza with extra cheese”. You just have to say a few words and your task is done!

Now, what if your chatbot replies you with imperfect, long or boring answers. Would you consider your experience useful as well as fun? NO! It just completes your task but you will not enjoy that conversation. To be remarkable, a chatbot must have an interesting conversation. In chatbot development, conversation design is the most important aspect. Instead of making it too hard or complex, you just need to make it more human-like. Have a look to this both conversation with Travel bots :

  • Bot: 1
  • Bot: 2

Both Bots are having the same conversation with the user. But what makes the difference is the conversation design of Bots. When you look at this conversation you can clearly say that Bot 1 is more fun, While bot 2 is just doing its task, it’s like more Robot. Interesting and humorous conversations make the bot more human-like.

You need to accept the fact that people are not used to AI yet. Honestly, it’s a bit scary for some. How do you get users to talk to your bot? It’s not easy to trust a machine that has a mind of its own. How do you build trust? It’s not that hard as it sounds.

Today I’m going to list a few points which you need to consider while creating a conversation of a bot to make it more interesting:

  • First Understand why the client wants to build a chatbot and what does the customer want his chatbot to do.
  • Then Give the bot a Personality(Persona), Avtar and a name according to the purpose of making the chatbot.
  • Don’t forget to manage the Tone of the bot!
  • Manage professionalism, but don’t be boring.
  • Try to give funny conversation but it should not be Humiliate.
  • Try to create small dialogues, don’t throw too much at once.
  • Manage the thin line between being proactive and instructive.
  • Don’t generate multiple messages with multiple buttons.
  • Don’t repeat the same message again and again.
  • Ask a question- “Are you sure?”, “Should I confirm this details?” etc before any making confirmation.
  • Use smiley and expressions to convey emotions.

It’s that simple! You just have to get ideas and inspiration before you set out to design conversation. Your curiosity will help you to learn from observation, hearing and experience and, You need to accept the fact that conversation is going to be the future of design.

I hope this can be helpful to you. If you have other tricks or things to consider to improve chatbot conversation, please let me know! If you’re curious, you can have a look at different chatbot examples for various industries on www.kevit.io, or want to have your own bot? We’re ready to lead you into the future of business development. Get in touch with us at coffee@kevit.io.

Make a bot more human-like was originally published in Chatbots Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/woman-robot-artificial-intelligence-3124083/

As artificial intelligence continues to become increasingly accessible to more companies, it has allowed brands to better understand consumers and personalize interactions with them because of it. The rise of virtual influencers, on the other hand, provides businesses with an intriguing alternative to traditional influencer marketing.

Could the marriage of AI-powered technologies make virtual influencers and influencer chatbots actually boost customer experience (CX)?

This article discussed virtual influencers, its potential benefits, and how important it can be for your branding strategies.

What are Virtual Influencers?

Virtual Influencers function much like human social media influencers. The main difference is that virtual influencers like @lilmiquela are computer generated images (CGI) with personas that rely on algorithms that allow them to function as next-Gen social media influencers.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BoSlP49F3Wg/?utm_source=ig_embed

And there’s a reason why some of the largest brands have been drawn to virtual influencers like Lil Miquela and its 1.5 million followers. With a portfolio that boasts brands that include Chanel and Supreme, along with spreads in publications like Vogue, this virtual social media star can rival the influence of most human personalities.

Because virtual influencers resonate with the next most important economic demographic — Gen Z — brands are lining up to leverage the draw of these virtual influencers for their marketing strategies. Add to that that they have more control over how virtual influencers behave in act (in a way that they don’t with human influencers), brands can shape consumers’ minds precisely how they want.

Pros of Virtual Influencers
  • More control on how products appear on the influencer’s feed.
  • Because virtual influencers are bots, brands have more creative freedom over design and conceptual aspects of influencer marketing. This makes campaigns more aligned with their branding strategies.
  • And because of the amount of control over virtual influencers, the potential for controversies are much lower. Everything can be calculated precisely. There are no untoward incidents in night clubs, and no DUI cases to deal with.
  • Of course, while it’s too early to determine the staying power of these virtual influencers, one thing is undoubted: they’re not human. For the most part, it’s the human aspect of influencers that creates a connection with audiences. And while this innovative take on influencer marketing continues to rise, only time can tell how long they’ll continue to resonate with the young.
How Virtual Influencers Can Boost Your Brand StrategyStriking Personal Connections

When it comes to virtual influencers, it doesn’t have to be limited to characters like Lil Miquela and Shudu. These can also come in the form of chatbots — a virtual buddy that can get to know consumers, and make recommendations based on their lifestyle and interests.

There are already brands like Sephora and their style guru bot that have stayed ahead of the curve, not just by developing their own ecommerce app, but also by utilizing virtual social brand mascots to strike more personal connections with their audiences. It can even be a combination of the two, with fictional influencers having a chatbot counterpart to allow for conversations beyond traditional social media posts.

The power of artificial intelligence to leverage key market insights derived from chatbot analytics makes influencer chatbots a potentially powerful marketing tool for any brand, and a great boost to CX.

Creating a Virtual Community

While developing a personality that resonates like Lil Miquela is easier said than done, when done correctly, brands can develop virtual communities with their audiences. The people behind Lil Miquela has done a tremendous job of blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, mostly with its online activity. The character actively replies to comments and DMs, and even submits itself to media interviews.

To a certain extent, Lil Miquela even surpasses its real-life counterparts when it comes to nurturing communities, frequently posting its liberal stand on socio-political issues.

Source: https://www.brandknewmag.com

This is an example of how a virtual influencer can become relatable despite its obvious lack of human characteristics. Find an angle that draws people together, and use virtual influencers to lure them into your community.

Staying on Brand

This has already been alluded to earlier, but it bears mentioning again because of how important it is. When brands collaborate with human influencers, they open themselves up to people’s distinct personalities relaying their messaging. And while that’s a big part of partnering with influencers, it also makes brands vulnerable to branding mistakes.

With virtual influencers, brands can control the type of content produced, and make personalized recommendations using AI. Staying on brand will no longer be a concern.

Modernizing an Old Strategy

As with most advertising strategies, consumers have also learned to tune out branded messaging from even some of the most popular influencers. How many times have you seen a celebrity you genuinely like on your feed holding a product, only to scroll past the post? For the most part, people are interested in what they have to say, not what products they endorse (unless it’s something really cool).

With virtual influencers, particularly when it comes to influencer chatbots, brands have a chance to modernize an old strategy — delivering their message in a more nuanced, tailored way. As people get even more used to interacting with virtual personas like digital assistants, it’ll only become easier to influence them, especially with AI providing insight into what it is they already like.

Stretching the Influencer Budget

Of course, collaborating with virtual influencers like Lil Miquela will cost you. But developing your own influencer chatbot (with the help of a growing number of software engineers) — one that your community can not only get used to, but also trust — allows you to spread influence on a budget.

Often, it’s the accessibility, relatability, and personality that draws people in. And with the wealth of data AI-powered influencers can tap, you can provide a virtual influencer that truly understands.

The Future of Virtual Services

There are obvious benefits to having an influencer that brands can fully control. But as mentioned earlier, it’s still far too early to determine whether this virtual influencer concept is one that can truly stick. But as progressive companies like Marriott, Sephora, and Coca-Cola have found, having chatbot influencers can be a boon for boosting CX.

We’re a year away from an Oracle study’s finding that 80% of businesses want chatbot assistants by 2020. And with the continuing capabilities being developed for these type of AI-powered tools, we can only expect this trend to grow.

People have been influenced by celebrities since celebrities became a thing. So while human influencers don’t appear to be going away anytime soon, virtual influencers provide an intriguing alternative.

What’s your take on virtual influencers? Let us know in the comments below.

Virtual Influencers: The Significance of Influencer Chatbots to Your Brand Strategy was originally published in Chatbots Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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How your restaurant can benefit from using a Chatbot

According to Gartner, by 2020 85% of enterprise-customer relationships will be managed without a single human interaction. Quite a crazy stat right?!

Chatbot’s are affecting so many industries, and those who are adopting the technology are really seeing big results. A business can convert up to 700% more customers, if they follow up immediately and for a business like restaurant, who rely on Social Media enquiries, keeping on top of your messages can be quiet time consuming.

As a consultant, I’ve worked with many companies and restaurants who haven’t got back to their customers in time, and have then lost the customer. A perfect example was a customer who messaged a client page a few weeks ago, they wanted to know if they’d cater for people who are vegan as they were looking to host a family get together.

Sadly, the client got back to them too late and the customer had already booked a table at another restaurant. What’s most annoying for this client is that a Chatbot could have responded to this enquiry and created a booking request, without having to involve any human interaction at all.

For a restaurant, a Chatbot can act as both a customer service agent, and a marketing channel.

Some of the main benefits to implementing a Chatbot into your restaurant include:Accept booking requests through Messenger:

Allow your customers to instantly create reservation requests around their preferred date and time. You can use a Chatbot to collect the relevant information from your customer, which can then be sent directly to the person that manages your bookings. With our clients, we send the customer requests as an SMS message to someone’s phone who can then call up the customer and confirm their booking.

A demo from one of our test accounts.Pre-answer customer enquiries:

Like most businesses, you probably receive daily enquiries from customers who are interested in visiting but simply don’t have the time to get back to them right away. You can train a Chatbot to answer questions that your customers have by using both natural language processing, which is the process of understanding the intention of what your customer is saying.

You can also provide a menu accessible within Messenger which a customer can use to navigate around lots of information about your business. Think of the menu as a website header, with main headings followed by subheadings which link you to different sections of information. Alongside the menu, can be some simple buttons which also direct the user.

We can pre-train your bot so that it knows how best to respond to customer questions, and what content to deliver. When the bot doesn’t have an answer, we can setup an alert to bring a person onto a live chat to directly speak with the customer.

An example of how we can display our clients restaurant menus. Rather than using one file/button, we can showcase with images the different types of food or drink that are available.Build your customer database

One of my personal favourites for using a Chatbot with your restaurant is the ability to build a customer database through Messenger. Anyone who interacts with your bot can be added to what’s called a Messenger marketing list. Think of this like an email marketing list, but instead done through Messenger.

You can organise your customer database using tags, which can later help to send personalised marketing messages to their Messenger inbox.

A perfect example of this could be sending Messenger broadcasts to customers who are tagged VIP, where you can send them a unique offer.

You can even go as advanced as sending a follow up broadcast, a day or more after the customer visits your restaurant, to ask them for a review to be left on your FaceBook page.

An example Messenger broadcast. We can include call to actions with broadcasts, taking your users directly into creating a reservation.Create orders within Messenger

Believe it or not, I’ve implemented an in Messenger payment processing solution for restaurants who want to create a quicker way for their customers to place an order. It might not be as effective using this for a table of say 8 people however, for smaller meals or even drinks, we can allow your customer to create an order within Messenger and then pay for it in Messenger.

We can even integrate with your POS so that when your customer places an order, it’s sent right into the kitchen. This is perfect for companies who also offer a takeout option, as you can preorder the food from your home!

If you use Square then we can integrate with that!

Without a doubt, Chatbot’s and Messenger marketing are changing the way businesses communicate with their customers, and those who adopt early on are already seeing the pay off!

If you’re interested in learning how a Chatbot can help your restaurant or business then feel free to send me an email, I’d be more than happy to show you a live demo and answer any questions that you have! hello@alfra.io.

How a restaurant can use a Chatbot was originally published in Chatbots Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Machine learning is a matter of mind than the code

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Human Resource department in jeopardy: is technology an opportunity or a threat?

Nowadays there’s been an increasingly high interest for investment in HR technology.

Study carried out by CB Insights (2016) revealed that over $1.96 billion have been invested in start-ups that exclusively dealt with HR tech. However, developments in technology require continuous workplace changes. Automation and artificial intelligence are among those tech practices that allow companies to become the definition of efficiency, high performance and cost-effectiveness. While some worry about people losing their jobs to “superior” robots, others are optimistic that with technology we can all achieve greater things.

The tech revolving around HR is there to automate and streamline practices

While there is a vast amount of HR management solutions available on the market, the pressure is perpetual. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is growing and a report by Accenture shows that with its integration, economic growth is expected to double by 2035.

With AI becoming more and more sophisticated, manual roles may eventually be taken over by robots. Robots are nothing new to such fields as law, journalism and medicine but what about HR? Will HR department soon be managed by non-humans? It’s already happening! Talla is a Boston based start-up that offers companies a chatbot which performs HR department everyday tasks such as explaining company policy, surveying, collecting information and training. Talla bot operates inside enterprise group messaging software (e.g. Slack, HipChat) and uses language processing software to understand the messages and respond accordingly.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a new factor of production and has the potential to introduce new sources of growth, changing how work is done and reinforcing the role of people to drive growth in business

Although the idea of HR being comprised of bots may seem frightening, there is a bright side — while chatbots are taking care of low-level monotonous tasks, HR staff can focus on more strategic and engaging activities.

One of the biggest challenges HR faces is lost time. It can often be related to recruitment process; HR department spends numerous hours browsing resumes of unqualified applicants. Implementing the right technology may solve the problem. Al requires huge amounts of data; therefore, it could do a huge favor in recruiting. For example, imagine a database of resumes in a multi-national company. While users of applicant tracking software (ATS) can search through large amounts of resumes by keyword, education, location and years of experience, a search engine may not necessarily ensure that you are seeing the most relevant candidates. With the help of AI the exhausting screening process can become much faster and cost-effective. AI chooses a list of candidates with desired traits and background, and furthermore grades them from best to worst.

One of the artificial “assistants” that deal with communication process is Mya. Created by a Sanfrancisco based HR tech company FirstJob , Mya uses natural language technology to ask questions to candidates based on job requirements. Furthermore, it is there to answer any questions applicants may have about their employers, as well as to keep them informed about their hiring status.

Automation can be helpful in many ways

Technology development may also bring serious changes in training. It is known that with the help of virtual reality (VR) it is possible to simulate any type of environment. Universum Global recently published a study, evaluating how emerging technologies may influence business in the future. While there still isn’t enough research about the actual practice of implementing VR in workplace, it is claimed to ease the testing and training process tremendously. This technology will also allow recruiters to assess candidate’s skills and abilities. Moreover, VR could be a game changer for the whole HR industry; ability to provide potential candidates with a realistic view of the job will allow hires to understand company’s culture and thus help reduce turnover.

And last but not the least is a giant that will not only bring some serious changes to recruitment but also affect processes related to payroll. With Blockchain, also known as the world’s most popular digital wallet, applicants will have a comprehensive digital record of their experience and accomplishments accessible to all companies, managers and recruitment agents. Moreover, transferring money abroad using Blockchain will be less hassle and save you some money — no unnecessary fees from banks.

Artificial Intelligence heralds dramatic potential for growth for both the economy and for humans

The trend of HR bringing robots and human together does not necessarily mean the death of the recruiter. Yet for the future of HR, it is important to recognize and balance the opportunities and threats posed by technology. While we should all embrace technology, there is also a risk of losing the personal touch. Therefore, as the workplace changes with the automation and implementation of digital technologies, HR must continuously update the way it applies HR practices and policies to the workforce.

Let the robots take over day-to-day tasks, while you are focusing on the strategic development of the company!

AI is not a novelty. HR will soon be able to focus on more important issues. was originally published in Chatbots Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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It is common for organizations to have a not-so-good experience with AI-driven chatbots. It is a common instance that users get stuck on a chatbot trying to clarify a query. But all they get is a message that says, “I didn’t understand, can you try rephrasing your question?” We have all had chatbot experiences where we get stuck in a loop and the bot just doesn’t get the query. It seems like the task we could have done in 5 minutes, the bot took more than 10 minutes to comprehend. Unfortunately, even after those 10 minutes, nothing fruitful happened.

The AI dust is real and more and more companies are implementing the use of chatbots to automate a wide array of operations. The hype regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in full force and no business wishes to be left behind. But as we divert our focus from the hype, we can see that there are certain pitfalls as far as the usage of AI chatbot is concerned that need to be addressed. Over the years, we have seen many chatbots fail or at least didn’t live up to the expected value. We keep wondering what happens time and again? Let’s take a look at the 5 main causes of chatbot failure.

1. Lack of understanding of user value

During the designing of the chatbot, the developer should establish the parameters according to what is expected of a chatbot during implementation. Most of the times, development teams get stuck on instigating a feature that the users don’t normally need. Sometimes, when there are way too many chatbots in production, they can increase the UX friction and cause an increment in the time required to complete an action. They can also increase the number of steps to accomplish a task.

2. Personality of the chatbot not defined

Bot personality is one of the most overlooked features during the development phase. The primary qualities that form a being such as behavior, characteristics, motivations constitute the personality. Research suggests that the users’ perception of the chatbots is highly dependant on the personality of the user. It can act as a determining factor that can affect the interaction between a chatbot and a user. The development team must keep in mind that the users might not interact with the chatbot again if it doesn’t meet the expectations. This is the main reason why a development team should build a documented and well-defined persona for their chatbot.

This is crucial for conversation flows and other related decision. An undefined, misaligned and a generic chatbot can have a detrimental effect on users and hamper their experience.

3. Unstructured conversation flow

Even though there is a lot of hype regarding Natural Language Processing (NLP), technology is not ideal for commercially designed, human-like bot conversations. Unstructured conversation with a certain degree of free flow can be effective in some cases but if the free-flow is too much, it can cause frustration to the user. If the users type an unexpected question and they don’t get a positive response for their query, the entire purpose of making the bot is null and void.

4. Adoption strategy not taken into consideration

Chatbot developers mostly overlook the fact that not everyone experiences the chatbot hype first hand. Apparently, ‘build it and they will come’ is not the case here. As suggested by researchers, humans are driven by habits. They don’t want to adopt something new as long as they have other ways to achieve the same objective. There have to be positive changes in the management and communication strategy of each organization. The development team should check the adoption strategy by knowing about whether the staff is ready to include the services of a chatbot in the workplace.

5. Insights and analytics aren’t considered

The above mentioned four pitfalls were about the design, development and the production phase. But the unpredictability in the behavior of the users is the main culprit. It is important to monitor the progress of the bot in the process of the implementation to make sure that users are finding it useful. Analysis of user feedback and steps to ensure continuous improvement are a must. There are many engagement channels and surveys to gather user opinion. The development team can also go live for the purpose of gathering knowledge on how to improve the chatbot.

Conclusion

Chatbots are easily capable of disrupting the entire customer engagement and degrade the experience. But since AI is continuously improving, the services have improved too. Even though we can utilize the power of AI chatbots to the fullest, a lot of pitfalls need to be addressed before that. Speaking of it, there is still a long way to go before we achieve a system free of discrepancies. However, that doesn’t mean we stop the creation of virtual assistants altogether. All enterprises need is a system to address the issues associated with the deployment of chatbots.

Originally published at https://blog.kore.ai.

Author Bio:

Anirban Guha is a seasoned Inbound Marketing & Communications professional currently working with Kore.ai, an enterprise-grade chatbot platform. He is a keen observer of the latest technology trends and loves to write about them. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

5 Reasons Why Chatbot Development Fail was originally published in Chatbots Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Did you know marketing and chatbots go really well together? Service and webcare departments often start their interaction with potential clients when the purchasing process begins. The role of service changes from giving a reactive response to proactively thinking along with the client to help them a step further. This is where chatbots can be of assistance. Chatbots can, for example, help to communicate campaigns on several communication channels, which has a positive effect on sales and marketing and opens up opportunities for marketers. In this blog we will give you three tips about how you can use chatbots as an effective and powerful tool in the customer journey and how bots can help you to boost your marketing strategy.

Tip 1: Integrate marketing goals in the service process

An increasing amount of consumers come into contact with chatbots via service channels. A 2018 trend research from Mindshare has shown that 48% of the consumers would consider getting in touch with an organisation via chatbots. The amount of organisations that use artificial intelligence solutions to provide services is also increasing, according to this analysis from Chatbot Magazine. Moreover, the 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Report indicates that 41% of the managers has implemented artificial intelligence in their service processes.

Next to answering ‘simple’ questions about an order, you can also integrate your marketing and communication goals in your service process. Are you already using chatbots in your organisation? Then involve the bot in your marketing plans. Think about communicating campaigns or promotions to customers, providing price or product information, or directing visitors to other (web)pages. E-commerce businesses and travel organisations are especially advanced in this area and benefit from chatbots in clever ways. Two examples below.

On her own channels KLM refers to BB, the quickest and easiest way to book a ticket:

Based on a few questions HelloFresh gives you suggestions for a tasty supper. Only a few simple questions need to be answered to give the chatbot an insight into your preferences:

Tip 2: Use social media for chatbot conversations

Social media channels are of course an excellent way to reach your target group and to update your followers on the latest news and offers of your brand or product. Facebook Messenger and Twitter DM are ideal for quick chat conversations and Instagram DM is also on the rise. Next to answering service related questions, this medium also offers opportunities for cross- or upselling and creates the possibility to expose consumers to your newest product or service.

The fashion sector has embraced social media as an early adaptor and they know how to reach their target group through this channel. Chatbots offer the ideal solution for giving advice about, amongst others, a new purchase, like in this example from Hennes & Mauritz:

We know that the customer journey can start anywhere these days, whether it is online, in a store or on social media. Chatbots can help you to quickly provide customers with the information they are looking for. Is the chatbot unable to answer the question? Then there’s always an employee who can take over!

Tip 3. Make clear agreements to achieve a successful integration

For a successful integration of your marketing goals in chatbot conversations it is important that marketing and service departments make clear agreements before the chatbot is deployed. Both departments need to agree on the areas in which the chatbot will assist. For what purposes will the chatbot be used? And what information is the virtual assistant allowed to provide and what not? If both parties come to an agreement and create a joint goal, there is a greater chance that this goal will be achieved. It also helps to schedule interim reviews together.
An example of a successful integration in which the goal of the chatbot was discussed beforehand is chatbot “Rocky” from ROC West-Brabant. This chatbot helps pupils to decide on a study programme. Marjon Sundermand (UX designer) tells CustomerFirst:

“Before we started using Rocky we organised brainstorming sessions with students, deans and mentors. The outcome of these gatherings was that the bot would have to be reactive and easy to use, deliver quick results and be available 24/7. In addition, the tone of voice should suit the target audience, such as the parents. In the end we want the chatbot to help us realise a greater conversion rate , or in other words, to attract more students.”

In the example of Rocky the bot specifically focuses on helping prospective students to decide on their study choice. In this chatbot conversation the question is put in such a way that the student is asked to think about more than just a study, namely by visualising his or her dream job. By programming the chatbot to ask a specific question, your answer will contain more relevant advice. This is an extra service that will hopefully increase the amount of applications the school receives.

If marketing, sales and service all keep the corporate objectives in mind, planning and executing the strategy will be much easier. The result: a smooth customer journey where the customer journey is the main priority. Success will be guaranteed!

Would you like to know more about chatbots?

Curious what OBI4wan’s chatbots can do for your organisation? Request a free demo via info@obi4wan.com or call +31 (0)85 210 50 60.

REQUEST FREE DEMO

How chatbots can boost your marketing strategy: 3 tips was originally published in Chatbots Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Building a bot is a legitimately new addition on most of the business’s to-do lists nowadays. Right from shopping to doing business online, these bots powered by Artificial Intelligence have drastically transformed commerce.

Moving on, businesses today have greatly branched out. Most of them deal in more than a single line of product and service and consequently have different segments of customers to cater to. Accordingly, these businesses look for progressive features to handle their customer interactions with ease and expertise.

So, they have varying preferences when it comes to integrating chatbots for customer support. Some require a voice-activated bot whereas some require text-only bots.

In this article, we will have a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each medium (voice and chat) to help you decide between the two and extend the best experience to your customers.

Understanding a Text-based Chatbot

As the name suggests, a text-based chatbot is the one that interacts and communicates through text or messaging. This may involve media, such as videos, images as well as UI elements such as Carousels, Quick Replies, etc.

Text-based chatbots are amazingly effective and efficient. They quickly sense the need of the users and provides them with instant solutions. In addition, these chatbots assist in gathering feedback and keeping the customers engaged by solving queries quickly.

Currently, these types of bots are most commonly used by businesses to handle their customer interactions. They can be easily merged with Social Media, Messaging Apps, SMS, Emails and much more.

Understanding a Voice-activated Chatbot

Voice-activated chatbots are the one that interacts and communicates through voice. They accept the command in an oral or written form and reply through voice.

Furthermore, these bots can be categorized into two types- one which via text and voice together and the other, which only responds via voice. The most popular example of voice-enabled chatbots is the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Text-based Chatbot vs. Voice-activated Chatbot

The most significant difference between a text-based chatbot /messenger chatbot and the voice-activated chatbot is the way we interact with them. A text-based chatbot exists on various kinds of messaging platforms and allows the users to interact with them via text or button presses.

On the other hand, a voice-activated chatbot works differently. It uses pre-recorded answers and text-to-speech responses to address the queries of the users.

Both these types of bots share some key similarities as well as differences. Deciding between the two interfaces largely depends upon the purpose and setting for a chatbot’s use.

Let’s understand this with the help of an example.

Let’s assume that you run a restaurant and wish to incorporate a chatbot for handling customer interactions and making food ordering a hassle-free affair.

Now, you would think that using simple voice commands to order your food is extremely quick and convenient. However, if you delve in deeper, you would realize that it is only easy as long as you wish to repeat a previous order. For this, all you need to do is ask your voice assistant to open up the food ordering app, for instance, McDonald's and say “repeat previous order.”

Now, if you wish to order something different, using a voice assistant for the same is quite unproductive. Why?

Well, it is too hard to listen to the entire menu instead of quickly reading it and then choosing your favorite dish. By the time, your voice assistant reaches dish number 15, you might already forget the initial ones. Thus, having a voice-activated chatbot for an online restaurant is practically worthless.

Additionally, the bot may not be able to correctly pronounce the names of certain dishes, creating a lot of confusion. This may lead to the customer ordering a wrong dish whose name rhymed with another one.

In such a case, having a text-based chatbot that simply responds with images of the restaurant’s menu, allowing you time to choose your preferred dish is a much more feasible option.

So, deciding between a voice-activated and text-based chatbot greatly depends upon your business requirements.

If you are confused between the two, try to answer the following questions.

  • Who are your target customers?
  • What are the objectives of your target customers?
  • What are the objectives of your business?
  • Where do these objectives intersect?
Businesses That May Opt for Text-based Chatbots

To help you out further, we have listed certain parameters based on which your company may opt for a text-based chatbot.

  • Device-based inquiries: In case your target audience comprises of people who are always on the go, you can opt for a text-based chatbot for your business. This way, you can allow your customers to begin interacting and exploring your offerings at their own convenient time.
  • Limited resources: Designing voice user experience is a highly cost-intensive task. So, most of the small and medium-sized enterprises opt for text-based chatbots initially and avoid investing heavily in voice UX.
  • Small business: If you have a small business which is not very diversified, a text-based chatbot is ideal for your needs.
  • Screen Presence: In case your business requires a screen presence at all times, you will require a text-based chatbot. This will allow you to assist your customers with things they require during an interaction.
Businesses That May Opt for Voice-activated Chatbots

Owing to their interactiveness and ease of input, voice-activated chatbots are also quickly gaining prominence. If you are planning to integrate one into your business, make sure you meet the following parameters.

  • No budget constraints: As discussed above, developing voice experience is a fairly expensive task. So, only go for it if your business does not face any budget constraints.
  • A particular type of customers: Dealing with voice-activated chatbots is much more practical for people who are multitasking as well as have accessibility to a speaker. In such a scenario, a voice chatbot is more ideal in comparison to a text-based chatbot.
Final Words

Both text-based and voice-activated chatbots have their own pros and cons. Many times, using a text and voice bot together proves to be very successful.

Once you know what are your business requirements and the kind of user experience you wish to build, choosing the most suitable type of chatbot will become a lot easier and you will be able to find out which chatbot to get developed.

Is voice activated chatbot better than the text-based chatbot? was originally published in Chatbots Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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