Chatbots: Just a Tool or a Tech Revolution?

By: Krish Kupathil

Robots have fascinated the human mind for a long time. Fueled partly by sci-fi movies and partly by raw imagination, some humans have come to think of robots as the ultimate tech creations that will eventually rule the earth. Rosie, the robot housekeeper in the Jetsons TV series, Wall-E the trash compactor robot, Optimus Prime in Transformers and of course the Robocop, are all different robotic visualizations created to do everything to make human lives easier or safer. It is not then surprising that the audiences view chatbots and digital assistants as magical creatures that reside on your smartphones and with your every command run around to fetch every little piece of information. 

Some may assume these automated helpers are smart enough to pull off complex business tasks within seconds. However, everyone who has actually used a chatbot or a virtual assistant knows that this is far from true. Be it the lack of contextual awareness or the challenges with natural language AI, chatbots have deficiencies that need to be improved. Chatbots and virtual assistants can be a great technological asset only if deployed wisely. Using an automated conversational interface can be worth its weight in gold only if business owners use it in the right way and for the right purpose.

Chatbots and virtual assistants are often confused to be one and the same, however, they should not be used interchangeably. Chatbots are essentially robots that live within a single app or messaging interface and can be programmed easily with a selection of automated actions for specific business tasks. Virtual assistants like Siri, Cortana, or Alexa, on the other hand, are omnipresent AI helpers embedded in our smartphones and smart speakers. The specialized nature of chatbots can be particularly helpful for companies to revolutionize business processes and enhance revenues.

The benefits

Customer engagement and customer service are arguably two of the best uses of chatbots. Thus, it is not surprising that an enviable number of bots within Facebook, Slack and Skype are focused around customer support. Chatbots can be the future of customer service and relieve upset customers from the painfully long and frustrating automated call system just to speak to a customer rep. Chatbots can be the perfect tool for 24/7 customer service and can provide quick resolutions for customer complaints, troubleshooting or for tracking order status.

Yet another scenario where a chatbot fits right in is retail. Using a chatbot for product suggestion based on the buyer’s searches as well as purchase history can help brands to increase sales, especially at times when buyers do not have anything specific in mind.


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