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How smart are AI chatbots today?

Blog
24th February 2017

Bots blog image 1

Last year Facebook launched a chatbot facility inside Facebook messenger. It created the ability for companies to offer artificial intelligence driven customer support 24/7 inside one of the most commonly used chat apps globally.

Chat was already a very popular and growing customer support channel, but the ability to combine chat with AI has created an opportunity for many brands to improve their support. In fact, the way that Facebook deployed AI on their messenger app allows for transactions, not just support. It’s possible to text a flower emoji and message like “send flowers to mother” and the 1-800-FLOWERS.COM service will go ahead and process the order.

But AI and bots are still in  their early stages. It’s easy to over promise with these new tools. Customers who think that they can have a friendly chat with a chatbot are likely to be disappointed. They are far from replacing human agents at this stage.

Venture Beat magazine recently published a feature on how brands can deploy chatbots and how customers can be convinced that they are worth using. There are several points made in the analysis, but in my opinion the two key points are:

  • Don’t over promise: when CNN offered a chatbot, that was supposedly able to answer questions about the news, it was soon ridiculed. The number of questions and topics is potentially endless – expecting an AI chatbot to debate foreign affairs was too ambitious. Ensure that your chatbot is focused on what you need it to do and make sure customers are aware  of the expected scope.
  • Use customer knowledge: customers expect brands to know them and to know their behaviour. This is even more so when using electronic systems like chat. Ensure your chatbot can learn and adjust responses based on the history of your customer.

Chatbots and AI are getting better, but they need to be deployed carefully. The system needs to be capable of improving, but customer expectations also need to be managed if you want the AI experience to be a positive one.

What do you think of the potential of bots and AI in customer service? Leave a comment below and let me know, or get in touch on LinkedIn.

 


David Turner
Article by: David Turner

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