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The year 2017 saw widespread adoption of chatbots, and 2018 will see that trend developing even further. The chatbot market is expected to grow at 37% CAGR during the next 3 years.
Chatbots are being adopted by all types of different industries, ranging from Marvel to UNICEF. Such phenomenal growth begs the question, are AI-powered bots the new apps? Or are they just another hyped up techno mirage? The answer it seems lies somewhere in the middle. Let’s find out!
It’s a computer programs that interact via text or audio. They use artificial intelligence to mimic human-like interactions using Natural Language Processing(NLP) and other techniques such as machine learning, deep learning etc. These bots can learn from user interactions thus becoming smarter over time.
They can be used on an online portal or over a messaging service. Their interactions can range from something as simple as telling you the time to troubleshooting a critical technical problem.
There are many reasons making chatbots all the rage as of now. One of the primary reason is that people might be tired of downloading unnecessary apps. Especially if they can achieve same using a simple chatbot.
Let’s list the major factors that make it a necessity:
Convenience: The convenience that a messenger integrated chatbot provides is simply unrivaled. It is fast and easy to use. All that the customer has to do is use the very same messaging service they use every day. No additional installs needed.
Manpower: A chatbot can handle most of the basic queries asked by users on a daily basis. Brands such as Pizza Hut, Mastercards have dedicated bots working all day long, answering customer queries, taking orders, all without breaking a sweat. For more complicated queries a combination involving an intervention by a live human agent is used.
Speed: They are extremely fast, providing replies instantly. They cut the latent time wasted between the customer asking a query, to the query being registered and then answered. In comparison to human interaction, chatbots are instantaneous and always accurate.
Future Proofing: With the increasing advances in AI, Bots provide companies a way to leverage the technological advances. With the advent of machine learning & deep learning, services are becoming more and more contextually aware. AI gives companies the platform to tailor the chatbot reactions down to an individual user. Giving the user an unparalleled personalized experience.
Chatbots have a lot of potential, but they’re still in a nascent stage. Organisations are yet to explore the full potential of chatbots. This is mainly due to limited UI data and higher development costs for developing complicated chatbots, that their optimal usage has been found in certain situations.
High volume queries: Chatbot for business are extremely effective where the volume of similar queries is fairly high. The responses required in such cases is mostly similar and the bot learns them up fairly quickly. The usage of chatbots in such situations frees the workforce for more complicated responses. Eg, Standard Chartered is integrating a chatbot to handle their customer queries regarding a/c information, money transfer, payment tracking etc.
Predictable queries: In situations where the questions are focused, requiring answers which are well known and predictable. For such cases, scripted answers can be developed. Which can be used for customer education in relation to queries regarding a product. Websites are increasingly integrating chatbots in their websites. Ever navigated to a website and seen a pop up asking if you’d like to chat with someone at the company? That someone could very likely be a chatbot, at least during the initial correspondence anyway.
Customers are static: A chatbot isn’t usually used to deal with stressed/upset customers. A human touch is preferred when dealing with them. For example, People might use social media to bring up an issue they’re facing, at this point they want a human understanding, not an automated response. But this could soon change, work is going on towards the empathetic chatbot development. Infact some progress has already been achieved with Replika, the emotional chatbot.
Alexa as a PA bot is definitely the market leader, with Amazon hinting at sales crossing tens of millions units for its Echo. Microsoft is doing well too with it’s Cortana powered Invoke getting rave reviews. But apart from the big shots, the chatbot market is brimming with new innovative bots. There is Poncho, the weather forecasting chatbot.
Endurance chatbot for dementia patients. Casper, the chatbot for insomniacs. MedWhat, a chatbot that does a medical diagnosis for you. UNICEF chatbot which helps channel the voices of marginalized communities. Helping people in developing economies get their voices heard. And these are just the tip of the iceberg.
New bots are coming out every day. With the focus increasing on customer-centric marketing, businesses are realizing the importance of chatbots.
Chatbot for enterprise help bridges the gap between the customer and business by giving a more personalized touch. With the growth of tech in the field of machine learning, AI, deep learning, the chatbot market has a lot of growth potential.
We at Affle Enterprise have developed chatbots for a number of business sectors, each built for a custom use case. Monitoring and witnessing the impact of their integration in real time.
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