Chatbots are one segment of AI (artificial intelligence) that I haven’t written much about thus far, but it’s an exciting and interesting area. For starters, we should begin by answering the question, “What is a chatbot?” To assist, I’ll share this article on newatlas.com by Emily Ferron titled, “Mobile 101: Whatare bots, chatbots and virtual assistants?” It does a nice job of laying the foundation and describing bots and chatbots.
Also, to better understand where chatbots fit within AI, I’d recommend this article/graphics on the site thinkgrowth.org by Mimi An titled, “Artificial Intelligence and You: Demystifying the Technology Landscape.” They’ve plotted the elements of AI based upon the intersection of Sophistication and potential for Mass Adoption. This article has tremendous content…be sure to check it out.
Now, let’s tackle the question of the best use-case for a chatbot. There are many potential applications, but my favorite is…customer service. Why…you ask? The current state of AI and chatbots is eerily similar to beginning days of the mobile.
If you re-wind the clock 9 years, I was a VP and product manager for Huntington Bank based in Columbus Ohio. We were at the fore-front of developing the earliest mobile banking solutions nationwide. In fact, here’s the announcement in a blog post title, “Huntington Mobile Banking” that I shared on June 30, 2008 on my Mobile Banking blog. So, how do you think we built our very first business case for mobile banking? That’s right…customer service. Our goal was to reduce the number of expensive calls being fielded by live agents for basic information such as, “Has my direct deposit posted?” And most importantly…it worked. We were able to drive a 30% reduction in calls for the use-case segments that we built into the solution, and achieved our 12-month user goals in a fraction of the time.
To help re-inforce this point, I like the article posted on venturebeat.com titled “What to do about the chatbot dilemma.” In this article Tobias Goebel does a terrific job of building the case for using chatbots to aid with customer service and credits the Facebook CEO by saying, “You could argue it started in April 2016, when Mark Zuckerberg introduced Businesses on Messenger at F8 by saying: ‘I don’t know anyone who likes calling businesses.’”
So, to recap, we now understand what a chatbot is, a beginning use-case, a supporting quote from an industry leading CEO, and some broad strokes of how to construct a business case. The only thing left to do is actually build your chatbot…and I have some potential tools to help you with that as well.
This is an article by John Rampton on entrepreneur.com that is titled “Top 10 Best Chatbot Tools toBuild Chatbots for your Business.” I’ve used a few of these tools but many of the others I have not yet vetted. As with anything, each tool has pros/cons and you’ll need to evaluate each within the framework of your business and what you’re looking to accomplish.
Finally, be sure to check out Botlist if you’d like interact with some bots currently in the market to get your creativity flowing.