Article

Teodora Miscov
Teodora Miscov 19 December 2017

What's the value of developing AI bots in the New Year?

Mobile App time spent grows 69% year-over-year and the growth of chatbots created by brands is increasingly growing...

I don’t know about you, but have you ordered most of your presents online this year? Perhaps through an Alexa? How Christmas shopping has massively evolved.

In this digital era, Christmas seems to revolve around the latest tech. This year it is all going to be about the new Apple iPhone X which is set to be one of the top Christmas gifts for 2017. The need for the latest technology has evolved over time and with the increasing popularity of Black Friday, this has made it more accessible. However, it’s not just the technology itself but it is also how our Christmas shopping has revolutionised through ordering online (thank goodness!) and chatbots.

Throughout 2017, Lab have been on a journey. As we are obsessed with technology and human behaviour, we wanted to develop a chatbot that encompassed both of these elements. There have been different chatbots popping up left right and centre this year, but do they actually interact effectively with humans?

Creating a chabot for your business is hard. Brands hardly ever admit to it, but it seriously is. It is often portrayed in the media that developing these tools effectively is super easy and every business should be adopting it. Now. Well, its all fake news, because getting a fully functioning chatbot that we, as humans, can relate too is a puzzle that has been hard to solve.

At a talk the other day about the future of chatbots, one of the representatives from Facebook told the audience, ‘we want a few really good chatbots, not a lot of rubbish ones.’ A number of businesses have already started taking chatbots onboard and trying to make them work. A great example of this is TFL who launched their chatbot to help people with tube times, however, sadly the function couldn’t even identify the word ‘tube’ - mega FAILThis is just one example of how it needs to be fully functioning before it is released (or at least let people know it is still in progress!) As humans, we have a short attention span so this functionality needs to be ironed out in order to fully engage us.

 

So what do we actually want from a chatbot? For a chatbot to really stand out, it needs to connect the dots, not just functionally but personally. I want to be able to book a holiday online and a chatbot to be able to retrieve what i’ve booked, ask me if I had a good holiday and then suggest other places I might like, all in a human like way. There are already the likes of Amazon Alexa helping us with our everyday lives, but having these bots built into websites could take it a step further and differentiate brands in a very busy marketplace.

Yet, it is not just the technical part of a chatbot which needs to evolve but the chatbots personality. The evolution of chatbots and how we as humans interact with them, is really interesting. These chatbots need to have a personality, so that we can engage with them. Wouldn’t it be great if we could decide what personality a chatbot had? ‘Today I would like a chatbot to be sassy or argumentative or just generally helpful?!’ Obviously we don’t want to take away from the aim of chatbot being helpful to a customer and the personality may seem like a last thought to someone developing a chatbot, but it is so important and essentially what a customer is going to engage with.

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