Rise of the Chatbots

Chatbots (short for “chatting robots”) have become an increasingly common online feature. They can be found on shopping, banking, medical, and insurance websites by clicking the “Chat Now” button to reveal a Chatbot window. Just as automated phone attendants assist by answering calls and connecting callers to a selected department, Chatbots have the promise to improve customer service through human-like, but automated services. Have a question? Need tech support? Want to file a complaint? Use the website Chatbot!

Chatbot pros and cons

Chatbots are driven by the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology. For the consumer, Chatbots offer speed and convenience to get information, find a product, or to resolve problems. For businesses, Chatbots can increase customer satisfaction through faster handling of customer issues. Chatbots can be customized to suit customer needs by selecting language, email or text messaging, or by having a voice response programed to mimic human interaction. In addition, Chatbots can be integrated into customer side or internal workflows. Filing an insurance claim, for example, may be easier with the assistance of Chatbot technology. In some organizations, Chatbots can manage internal processes that require milestone tracking or have a complex decision tree.

Some people do not like Chatbots because they prefer to speak directly with a human, while others simply do not trust the Chatbot’s AI powered responses. Chatbots are often given human names to make them more personable; however, their true machine nature is often revealed as the chat progresses. Other people may have a deep suspicion that machines will one day take over the world, and any flaw in the chat stream deepens that mistrust.

Need a Chatbot?

A skilled software developer can write a simple Chatbot. High functioning Chatbot templates are available as cloud services, which can be customized for both capability and  communication style. AI platforms, such as IBM’s Watson or Amazon’s Alexa, are increasingly used for Chatbot technology, which allows customer facing websites or internal workflow applications to include Chabot functionality.

Chatbot of the future

A Chatbot experience is available today on many websites. Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa demonstrate that voice-operated Chatbots are also practical. The growing reliability of AI and NLP will further the value of Chatbots to assist with simple and complex tasks. In the coming years, expect to see incredible advancements in Chatbot technology and the variety of applications to everyday life.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Norm DuBow at ndubow@windes.com or 844.4WINDES.