- The latest chatbots and where they’re headed next
With the news that supermarket LIDL has launched a chatbot sommelier to offer up wine advice, there seems no limit to what type of business chatbots can support and what information they can offer up next, so where are they going, and how can your business use one?
Chatbots reach new markets and customers
Chatbots continue their march into all aspects of our lives. In recent news, they’ve expanded further into holidays and travel as Teletext Holidays offers a bot to provide inspiration and deals to holidaymakers. The Facebook Messenger-based service was added in response to changes in the travel market, which at a global level has been one of the keenest to adopt chatbots, and to meet demand from customers.
The company says, “The future of chatbots is incredibly exciting and as a forward-thinking company it is important for us to embrace this technology and use it as part of our offering. Teletext Holidays will be able to interact with their customers in a more consistent and organic way at just the click of a button.”
The truth is, so many holiday locations, destinations, hotels and apartments look the same that it must be hard to differentiate. By asking what people are interested in, the bot stands a better chance of finding something that will resonate with the customer, without them having to wade through the endless offers and white-sand, white-walled venues.
LIDL’s wine chatbot, the charming Margot, is present on Facebook Messenger. She can tell customers what’s on sale and what wines to go with a range of meats, meals and so on. There’s also a quiz to engage users.
The trouble is, there’s no obvious sign of Margot on the LIDL page. Users have to start the standard LIDL Messenger feed and then select Start the Wine Bot from an option list. This highlights how brands still struggle to promote their bots. Lessons that can be learnt by the next batch of companies to experiment.
Where are bots going next?
While consumer brands are still eager to roll out chatbots that hit a specific niche or help with a particular promotion, there are lots of markets that remain untapped or seriously underexploited.
Charities and non-profits are always under-resourced, and chatbots could help people understand a charity’s aims and engage better. Ida is a newly launched project that can help people find a suitable project to donate some time or money to in a simple and non-chugging manner.
The video shows how it works, and while the launch is likely focused around a few U.S. charities, there’s no reason why others can’t join the list, or other versions can deploy to support particular countries and efforts.
Enterprises are a different story, with surprisingly little effort in adding chatbots to help simplify business processes. With their own internal markets, enterprises are actually a better bet for chatbots, as use cases will have a strict focus, such as HR (onboarding information, holidays and sickness), scheduling (booking meeting rooms or transport) and asset management (stock checks, delivery monitoring and so on).
All of these basic tasks can link the chatbot to back-end services that provide a quick and accurate response to queries without workers having to wade into other systems. It also saves the relevant department from having to respond manually, helping general efficiency.
Those are the easy wins for chatbots in a business, but things could soon get a lot more interesting with chatbots linked to NLP or AI providing information or insights as a service to workers. As chatbots can better understand people, and can access smart data services like the Internet of Things, IT research firm Gartner has an interesting post on the subject.
These implementations will be harder, but help set up the enterprise for simple access to next-generation services and help make business knowledge more accessible. With the drive to knowledge-based growth among many companies, being able to simply ask for data and get it beats out creating reports or filing requests.
How to get your bot up and running
There are a range of chatbot solutions available, from the might of IBM’s Watson AI down to Salesforce and a host of dedicated platforms. These focus on particular types of business, or offer a general solution. Most come with analytics and self-design features allowing the business to craft its perfect chatbot without the need to hire external designers.
Offering totally free cloud-based design and analytics, Snatchbot is one of the best providers, a library of templates and use cases. Any business or company department can establish the script they need that meets their business objectives, add NLP features and test before launch to Facebook Messenger, Skype or other services.
- Date of publication:
- Wed, 02/14/2018 - 02:08
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