(Article originally published by App Developer Magazine)
Chatbots are revolutionizing the way customers interact with businesses. While chatbot technology is nothing new to the enterprise, many current solutions that bolster the service experience difficulties like unresponsiveness or imprecise interactions when trying to connect with their customers.
To avoid this, Conversable and Mindtree have partnered to standardize back-end system integration and transform customer conversations. App Developer Magazine (ADM) recently had a conversation with Ben Lamm, CEO and cofounder of Conversable, and he revealed some facts about chatbots that might surprise you.
ADM: In basic terms, what is a chatbot?
Lamm: Chatbots enable automated experiences for commerce, customer service and contents via major messaging platforms (text and voice) to get consumers what they want the way they want it.
ADM: What’s wrong with most of today’s chatbots?
Lamm: Most chatbots today do a bad job of customer onboarding and expectations management. Most chatbots are “basic bots” and don’t offer much utility to the customer. so when a user goes to one and it has an empty prompt, the user doesn’t know what it can and can’t do. Also, many chatbots are not cognizant of important concepts like security and personally identifiable information.
ADM: What are some of the ways chatbots can improve customer service?
Lamm: The future of automation and chatbots through messaging will completely disrupt certain industries and, in many cases, will replace the need for brands to invest in older technologies like mobile apps and antiquated systems like call centers. We see a world where consumers can get the answers they want, solve their problems and order the products/services they want without the need to ever download an app or make a call into a call center. Customer service via conversational interfaces offers benefits to both consumers and businesses by allowing the service to happen on the customer’s terms, at the customer’s speed and in the customer’s preferred channels.
ADM: How can chatbots be a more personalized experience than other forms of automated customer service?
Lamm: There is nothing more personal than an experience that is uniquely catered to a particular user. If a chatbot’s conversational model is built correctly, experiences for multiple users are completely different and unique to each respective user. Chatbots also are also request-based systems, allowing users to simply ask what they want and get an instant response without needing to search through a menu system or learn the structure of an app or website.
ADM: What are some examples of how brands are successfully using chatbots?
Lamm: Automation through messaging gives brands the ability to streamline interactions with consumers in ways that mirror how they currently communicate with their friends and families. Customers can order a pizza, rent a car or interact with customer service in seconds without using an app or even having to make a phone call. See: Wingstop, TGI Fridays, Pizza Hut, Whole Foods.
ADM: Describe the back-end system integration that needs to happen to allow chatbots to help businesses better serve customers.
Lamm: There is a combination of custom and standard system integrations. Custom integrations are required with companies’ internal and proprietary enterprise systems to help their users complete transactions or manage their accounts. There are also standard integrations with popular CRM, knowledge base, customer support software and more to make sure bots complement a brand’s existing business processes.
ADM: How do you see chatbot technology continuing to evolve in the future?
Lamm: We will continue to see chatbot technology evolved with expanded more detailed responses and additional functionality. In addition to helping facilitate orders, frequently asked questions and reservations, chatbots will start to allow for deeper customer care interactions and recommendations by using a combination of human-powered and supervised machine learning to build models for predictive data analytics, resulting in more fluid and seamless interactions.
Ben Lamm is a serial software entrepreneur who currently serves as CEO and cofounder of Conversable, the enterprise conversation platform for creating intelligent, on-demand, automated response flows through one-to-one conversations in major messaging channels.