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How often do you send a text instead of making a phone call? Especially with the younger generation, there’s a preference for quick answers. This method of conversing is convenient and gives us a record of the exchange as a reference. It’s fast becoming the preferred way of communicating, which is why businesses can take advantage of automoation and chatbots.

What is a Chatbot?

Chatbots have been around since the 1960s, and the theory of intelligent machines developed more than a decade earlier. See the video below for a quick explanation of computers designed to interact with humans.

Artificial Intelligence and the Turing Test

Modern chatbots are pretty successful at communicating with their human counterparts. They can respond to pre-programmed commands. They can also be trained to use machine learning to adapt their responses to fit a situation. A bot that most closely mimics human interaction is based on the concept of the Turing Test. Developed in 1950, this test evaluates whether a machine can carry on a convincing conversation with a human. That is to say, will the human think they’re talking to another human and not a machine?

AI has been around since the 1950s

The actual term “chatbot” is a shortened form of “chatterbot”. In 1994, computer scientist Michael Mauldin created Julia. This was the first chatbot made using a conversational software program. Modern AI chatbots are known as everything from talking bot to interactive agent to artificial conversation entity. Whatever you call them, chances are good that you’ve interacted with a computer without even knowing it.

Business Bots

Many companies are either already using chatbots or are thinking very seriously about the possibility. One study projects that US businesses could save $23B in customer service expenditures just by using the automation. Acting as the initial customer contact, a chatbot can be programmed to answer common questions or it can direct the caller to a live agent. The type of chatbot employed by a business can be determined by its intended use, from simple interactions to complex exchanges.

Facebook data shows that 56% of people would rather message for customer service support than get on the phone. People are also more likely to shop with businesses they can message. This is about user experience and giving the customer what they want. Using business bots can provide services and conveniences that result in higher customer satisfaction.

Chatbots for Happy Customers

Chatbots benefit the business and the customer

Gartner forecasts that by 2020, over 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human. Here are some of the things a chatbot can handle for your business:

  • FAQs
  • Complaint resolution
  • Customer support
  • Reservations
  • Bill payment
  • 24-hour service response

A Bot for Every Occasion

If you use Alexa, Google Home or Siri, you’re already interacting with a chatbot. But chatbots go way beyond personal assistants when it comes to helping you navigate the digital landscape.

The Whole Foods chatbot plans dinner
  • Do you like pizza? Order from Domino’s through Twitter with a  🍕  The pizza icon propels the Domino’s bots into action.
  • If you’re flying with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, you can use Facebook Messenger to talk to  “BB” ( BlueBot). This bot will help you book tickets and let you know about your flight status, gate changes, and other data-driven information.
  • The Whole Foods Market bot can help you decide what’s for dinner. The bot will get the conversation going with an explanation of its services and then you can access a database of recipes.
  • Mental health gets a boost with Woebot, a therapy chatbot that debuted in 2017.
  • Let’s not forget the kids! The Hello Barbie doll uses a chatbot from ToyTalk to interact with your child. Cue the horror film.

The Human Touch

In a digital world, quick and efficient service is part of customer expectation. Chatbots are one of the ways companies can deliver good service without putting extra pressure on employees or their bottom line. Key West Video is certainly a tech-forward business, but we’re still devoted to personal interaction. Call us today to learn how video is another benefit you can take advantage of for better customer service.

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