Posted by : Du-Ann Daniel Wednesday, 14 June 2017



What a time to be alive. Every day we look around and see ever-improving technology that would have been thought only possible in science fiction a mere few decades ago. The promises of virtual reality and artificial intelligence are finally coming to fruition, and who knows what’s next; actual walking, talking robots or flying cars perhaps. Okay, I’ll reign in my inner sci-fi nerd now.

The latest advance in AI technology are smart chatbots that can help out customers  with simple questions and tasks, thus possibly alleviating the need for large customer care centres in the near future.

Back in April 2016, Facebook released an open version if its Messenger app and invited developers to artificial intelligence chatbots that would interact with Facebook users. In these early days of chatbots, it was predicted that we would no longer need to make phone calls or write emails to companies in order to get essential information. We haven’t quite got there yet, but there are more and more chatbots appearing, ready to (at least attempt to) help consumers who need answers fast. Though the advancement of this new technology will no doubt be fraught with errors (and the inevitable memes that come with them), they do have the potential to be very useful.

Quick Communication

Looking for important info about a company’s offering? Usually you would need to scour their site and social pages in order to find the answer yourself, or if you can’t find the answer you would need to submit a support ticket and wait the 24-48 hours for them to get back to you, even worse - you may have to make a lengthy call to a customer service centre. Chatbots can easily disseminate simple information immediately, creating a quicker, positive experience with your brand.

They Will Only Get Better Over Time

As with all other technology-based innovations, as the technology improves, so the experience becomes better and costs are reduced. The more opportunities a bot has to chat with real people the more it will learn how about the nuances of language and give useful advice.

E-Commerce With Ease

Chatbots can help consumers make orders online. If you have a rough idea of what you want to buy, instead of browsing through pages and pages of products, you can ask a chatbot to show you all the products that match your criteria (such as colour, style and brand) as well as suggest related items. Retailer H&M’s chatbot helps you choose outfits by suggesting complementary garments and accessories, which adds to a better retail customer experience.

Poncho: A Popular Chatbot

One of the most popular chatbots today is Poncho, the weather cat. He’s available to chat on Facebook messenger at facebook.com/hiponcho/ and provides weather data including current conditions, 5 day forecasts, and specialised forecasts for runners. Though you can get weather details with one tap on your phone, Poncho adds a personal touch with his character and fun GIFs.

Chatbots are still in their infancy, but we’re looking forward to finding out what the future holds with this advance in AI technology. As we use chatbots more, they will learn more and be better equipped to give correct and relevant answers to our needs.

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