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February 4, 2019 | By

AI IRL Podcast Episode 5: Why chatbots are here to stay


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Chatbots are everywhere these days.

It seems like you can’t log into any sort of SaaS website without seeing that little popup window in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen saying something to the effect of:

“How can I help?”

But are those chatbots actually helpful? Are they actually doing what the customers are wanting? And is there a limit to what a bot can help the customer accomplish vs what an actual human can do?

On a recent episode of AI:IRL, we sat down with Mike McGarvey, Account CTO & Sr. Director at Atos and talked about just that.

What is happening in the AI space in terms of chatbots? Where is the chatbot technology going? And how might your company better set up a bot to help customers get the help that they need, all while they’re still doing other things?

Allowing for MultiTasking

“We’re finally getting to the point where chatbots are becoming able to break apart intent and really analyze a customer’s desires,” Mike says.

Once you’ve deployed a chat capability, you can begin to run change management and really get people to adopt use of the bot.

And once you’ve got a good handle on what people are coming to the channel for, what particular problems they’re asking the chatbot to solve, then you can begin to customize your bot and layer more and more intelligence on top of it.

Let’s face it. Chat has been a feature of the internet for the last 15+ years.

Unfortunately, for most companies, chat has been an afterthought, often even in the single digit adoption rates, which is a shame.

More and more end users, from all walks of life, but particularly in a corporate setting, are utilizing chatbot technology to multitask.

Think about it this way: If you’re on a conference call at work, but you know you need to get in touch with your cable company with a question about your bill, how much more likely are you to utilize a chatbot, knowing that you can continue on your call, while still at the same time, be negotiating your cable bill?

Now imagine that you know that if the bot can’t help you, it can escalate your problem to a live representative who can chat with you and help you fix your problem.

It’s a no-brainer.

What’s Next?

AI is very good at knowledge retrieval. At saying, “I see you input this information, allow me to return this information to you.”

But according to Mike, over the next 6 to 18 months, the future of chatbot technology is in DOING things.

“It’s not just about the simple things, which is sharing knowledge, it’s about the complex things where we actually DO work.” Michael McGarvey

But what does this look like? Let’s look at it through the example of planning a trip.

Knowledge Management

  • “Where is my flight taking off from?”

Assistance

  • “I need to check in 24 hours in advance. Please help me do that.”

Agency

  • “I need to plan a trip. Here’s my budget, timeframe, and location. Help me book a trip.”

Most companies are likely the knowledge management spectrum, maybe the assistance. But the AI technology isn’t quite to agency yet.

But it will be.

Personalize Intent

As we move forward in the chatbot space personalizing intent is going to become of utmost importance.

Even something as simple as analyzing a customer’s bill over the prior months and looking for increases. If a customer’s bill has increased 10% or more over the last month, there’s a good chance that that’s the reason they’re coming to your channel.

So starting the conversation out with, “I see your bill increased recently. Would you like help understanding bill details?” could be a massive shift in the chatbot space.

If your company isn’t currently utilizing chatbots for customer support, it’s likely that you’re either currently planning bot integration, or that you will be soon.

 “I think over the next few years, our interaction with chatbots is going to become second nature.” Michael McGarvey

Every business wants to adapt, save time, and allow for quicker interaction with customers. Chatbots do just that, and with the right data and intelligence behind them, can save you and your customers an untold amount of time, energy, and headaches.

So what are you waiting for?

This AI discussion with Mike McGarvey was taken from our podcast.  If you want more AI: In Real Life, check out our podcast on iTunes.


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