Bot, or Not? Factors To Consider Before Implementing The Technology

May 4, 2017

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Chatbots are currently ‘everybody’s darlings’ in the field of digital interaction. Interestingly, the precursor to all chatbots was created more than 50 years ago by Joseph Weizenbaum, a German-American computer scientist. ELIZA, an early natural language processing computer program, was developed to show the superficiality of communication between man and machine. Since that time there were several successors, no one of them, however, was really successful. In fact, the digital assistants have recently experienced a rebirth.

The growing popularity of AI in mobile services (e.g., Siri, Cortana) has a great potential for customer loyalty optimization. It can significantly improve customer service: for example, decreasing problem-solving and customer wait times, and thus increasing customer satisfaction.

For many companies, chatbots represent a kind of savior that is able to solve all the customers’ problems at one fell swoop. However, before starting with ‘botification’, companies have to analyze all the risks and chances the new technology provides.

Moreover, the enterprises need to carefully consider whether the chatbot innovation is really compatible with their customer loyalty strategy.

Users’ attitude towards chatbots may differ

Chatbots represent a good approach for communication with the target audience. However, they are not always suitable for interaction with all target groups. Many people still prefer personal communication with a human. While millennial users mainly have a positive attitude towards chatbots, the majority of elder customers is less internet-savvy and still gives a priority to traditional solutions.

Suitability for a particular subject

The chatbots that are currently available on the market are good in managing simple issues. However, they are not applicable for any kind of questions.

Similar to autonomous cars that can undertake a large part of tasks, but not all, there are questions that can be answered only through the communication between humans.

Recommendations that internet users in the United States would like to receive from chatbots as of November 2016:

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Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/657739/preferred-chatbot-recommendations-in-the-us/

Chatbots are not a recipe for business success

Implementation of chatbots seems to be very attractive for enterprises.

However, a survey found out that a lacking customer service via chatbots often causes a customer loss. Chatbots that do not function properly can have the same frustration effect as telephone hotlines usually do.

In order to create the right business strategy, enterprises should be fully aware of the customer structure and their needs.  In that case, the question ‘Bot, or not?‘ can be answered much easier.