11/09/2017 | Written by: Marc Loos
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Chatbots are becoming more popular and already commonly used for customer service. But there are many other ways to use conversations/interactions (a chatbot is just one of the examples). Right now companies are experimenting with conversations in other areas of the business such as marketing, sales and for internal training.
Most of your companies’ information can be entered into chatbots or virtual agents. It makes access to this information quick and easy, saving time having to ask a colleague or search through an instruction manual. Conversations can be used for internal training programs and teaching employees rudimentary elements of the business. They can also be used to help employees with simple and repetitive tasks. This leaves them with more interesting and challenging work. Virtual assistants (like a chatbot) can even be used to assist employees during important calls with a customer or client, due to their capability to rapidly identify and transcribe audio. This way they can listen along with you on a call and offer real-time advice on what to say or look for.
Context, tone and sarcasm
When we think of chatbots we tend to think of a computer responding to keywords and having difficulty understanding the context of a question. This makes the dialog seem very impersonal and can even be frustrating. But the new generation of chatbots – equipped with Cognitive Intelligence (CI) and advanced text analysis are able to understand context. Even tone and sarcasm. They are becoming more friendly and human, because they learn from every conversation.
In customer service, this means a large part of first line contact interactions can be taken care of by chatbots. They often assist in answering “general” questions (FAQ, password reset, etc). Moreover, a chatbot never gets tired or bored. They can work 24 hours, seven days a week and don’t mind answering the same question a hundred times, in multiple languages. Recent studies show millennials even prefer chats to phone conversations. Popular platforms like Facebook and Slack already have chatbots fully integrated in their service, making interaction with a chatbot something your employees and clients are getting used to more and more.
As you can see there are lots of opportunities where conversations can bring real added value to your business. But of course, a virtual assistant is only as smart as the data it has access to. So there should always be an option to talk to a real person if a chatbot doesn’t understand the question. Innovation is happening so rapidly. I therefore recommend businesses to get started with chatbots now and explore how they can be of best use to your organization. You can check the DIY guide on Github or learn more about the Bluemix platform you can use to build your chatbot.
BTW, in the coming months I’m giving a workshop to experience building your own conversation, what can help you to understand better what it can do for your business. View all the sessions here.