November 7, 2017

Curious Season 6: Better Bots

This Thursday we’ll be joined by the good folk from Filament AI for the fourth installment of  Curious Season 6 – “Rise of the Machines”. Our focus this week turns to the chatbot phenomenon and its ongoing transformation of business intelligence, a trend that the team at Filament AI are very much at the forefront of. In anticipation of them sharing their insight into how the technology is likely to develop in the coming years, this blog takes a retrospective look at some of the innovative ways in which brands are already harnessing the power of bots.

With research firm Gartner predicting that approximately 85% of all customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020, it seems prudent for us to get to better know their rapidly-evolving replacements. For the slightly less tech-savvy amongst us, you might be asking yourselves what a chatbot actually is. Many will think primarily of social media messaging platforms, but this is only the beginning. Today’s enterprise chatbots are comprehensive toolsets that are becoming increasingly vital to brands hoping to retain their competitive edge, and are being used for a variety of functions including customer support, data mining and the streamlining of wider business processes. Below, we’ve identified three ways in which the technology is specifically disrupting the communications sector;

 

1.) Consumer Behaviour

As consumers tire of endless subscription emails, they turn to social media as their preferred means of interacting with brands. Buyers are on a continued search for the most direct line between their problem and solution, and with bots, communications, service, and transaction merge into one platform. In the advertising world, this means a shortened customer journey towards conversion. The takeaway delivery company ‘Just Eat’  have enjoyed particular success in this regard, driving orders and frequency through their chatbot, alongside improving contextual searches and CRM advertising. However, they acknowledge that the technology still has teething problems and a safety brake algorithm is built-in to detect if a user is becoming irate. When this algorithm is triggered the automated responses are stopped and a customer service rep can take over the conversation.

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Image Source:The Drum

 

 2.) Content Marketing

As with most technology, the evolution of chatbots has been something of a double-edged sword.  While some brands have experimented with the technology as a means of content marketing, many bots operate and learn through a process of ‘conversational understanding’, meaning they respond directly to the data inputs of their user. This is all very well as long as you can guarantee the integrity of the inputs, but as the brains at Microsoft found out – twitter and its legion of trolls isn’t exactly a nurturing environment. Their ill-fated chatbot ‘Tay’, targetted at millennials, went from broadcasting earnest observations on Twitter to proclaiming that “Bush did 9/11” amongst other more unsavoury gems, all within the space of 24 hours.

 

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Image Source: Twitter

 

3.) Bots & The Brand World

Just as it was with the advent of social media, brands should augment their strategy to ensure they authentically fit into this shifting channel environment. Branded bots need to walk a fine line between being engaging instead of creepy. Earlier this year National Geographic celebrated the launch of their new documentary series on Albert Einstein with a dedicated Facebook Messenger bot to promote the show. The bot invited audiences to learn about the lesser-known aspects of Einstein’s life by chatting directly to the man himself. It’s charming and maverick tone proved a hit with fans of the show and offers a good example of how other brands might leverage the popular appeal of their mascots.

 

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Image Source: Top Bots

Want to learn more? Join us on Thursday 9th November to get the inside track from the brains at Filament AI on all things bot. Until then, stay curious!

 

 

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Team Curious

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