News and Trends in Chatbots for November

SeaKnight By SeaKnight, 14th Nov 2017 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Business>IT & Ecommerce

The chatbot industry continues to grow at pace. More vendors are launching platforms to provide a chat service to the huge number of businesses, enterprise and SMB, who want more active and helpful bots on their websites or social media presence. Bots are being used to handle customer interactions, provide help and advice, and perform increasingly involved tasks. Here’s the highlights from the latest news and events.

State of the Market

According to a recent LiveWorld Survey, Only 43% of business are currently using messaging apps to help with their marketing efforts. Under 50% believe that messaging, chatbots and similar methods can help them achieve suitable two-way chat. However, 79% of around 2/5ths of surveyed Fortune 500 brand marketers reckon that they will expect to use two-way chat in the future.

When it comes to messaging apps, customer service leads the way as the primary reason for deployment with 55%, followed by marketing at 43% and customer experience at 27%. Sales at 14% brings up the rear, but we’d hope to see that rising in the 2017/2018 survey as confidence grows in the technology.

This highlights the uncertain nature of the market, driven by a lot of hype and little in the way of statistical results. Yet, the positive feedback from so many businesses will help drive business engagement, and there is little evidence to suggest consumer or customer pushback against chatbots. See the full survey here (PDF).

Salesforce updates Einstein, adds Chatbots

To show how serious big business is about chatbots, Salesforce is rolling out a major update to Einstein, it’s AI tool. Einstein Bots is a whole new feature offering simple creation tools for chatbots to enterprise customers. The company claims that Salesforce clients can build, train and deploy chatbots with just a few clicks.

You can watch the recent Dreamforce event rolling out the new Einstein features here. With feedback from both customer support and customers, the company’s bots will continuously learn, improving themselves to deliver more accurate and relevant information. For company’s heavily into the Salesforce ecosystem, bots can easily be made to link to all those information assets to provide information, and Einstein’s AI will help these services become smarter over time.

Blockchain muscling in on Chatbot territory

Filed under was-always-going-to-happen, the other big tech trend of 2017 is entering the chatbot scene for financial uses, In some nascent examples, blockchain is being used to store the chat message log to prove that users are accepting the terms and conditions for particular products.

Other examples are highlighted in this fintech piece showing that combined, they can be a powerful force when it comes to chatbots offering regulatory advice at the most basic levels, or making more advanced suggestions around finance, property and legal issues.

The issue of trust is a key one for any digital scenario, people trust their TouchID iPhone but not so much their FaceID model, yet. It is largely a matter of familiarity and rampant press hype. Linking Blockchain and chatbots will provide a degree of certainty over the information source and the validity of any responses. Of course, that won’t stop people drunk-ordering pizza, but for serious regulatory issues, it was only a matter of time before the two technologies merged to provide trust.

Snatchbot ups its template library

Snatchbot is helping users with a fast-growing library of over 200 templates and bot examples, and these are growing rapidly, as users submit their own chatbots to a public directory.

The company’s templates cover the usual use cases of banking, customer service, online stores but increasingly add fun features like games, quizzes to help make chatbots more personable and interesting for users. Check out Snatchbot’s templates here.

For businesses of all sizes, SnatchBot offer free chatbots with cloud analytics to help users understand them. The ability to make a bot for free from existing templates is likely to be particularly attractive for smaller businesses.

Having a social aspect to the builder and encouraging others to share will help smaller businesses find the right features for their chatbot and bolt parts of templates together to create their perfect bot, and also encourage them to explore other features they can add. It is also good to see how creative people can be with the easy-to-use bot platform.

Major brands adding chatbots

At the chatbot coal face, big names around the world continue to add chatbots to their websites or social media services. Joining the line-up are Britsh bank Standard Chartered, their bot will first offer Hong Kong customers the opportunity to manage money, make payments and analyse their spending. The bot is driven by Kasisto’s conversational AI platform, KAI Banking.

Also in Asia, South Korean low cost carrier Jin Air is bringing chatbot Jaid to its services to help answer questions from customers about flight details and reservations to free up customer support staff.

And finally, Chatbots are scamming the scammers

While not strictly news, it is good to see chatbots being put to use for the greater good. This Guardian story highlights how New Zealand company Netsafe is using them to distract, divert and track actives scammers in conversations that can drag on and eat up the scammers’ time, giving the usual real victims on social media a break.

Let us know if you find any great alternative uses for chatbots.


Chatbots, Customer Service, Technology

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author avatar SeaKnight
Tech writer focused on how it can change the world, for better or worse

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