05 Jun 2018

Can chatbots replace humans?

Chatbots are considered to be the next big trend for businesses in the coming years. The global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025, a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.3%, according to Grand View Research

Let’s get the basics right! What are chatbots?

Chatbots can allow companies to manage basic communication with its customers round the clock and hence in the coming years, we will see a rise of this technology for smooth, cost effective and instantaneous communication with customers.

Chatbots can be classified as simple or advanced bots. A simple chatbot can handle specific rule-based messages that means they require specific input to be programmed to generate specific output. Hence, it doesn’t leave much room for a proper conversation. However, advanced bots are grounded in AI and are programmed in a way to understand the conversation while constantly keep learning from previous conversations. They have the ability to grow and develop overtime.

A lot of people think chatbot means Artificial Intelligence. While AI is used to build chatbots, there are human designers who build it using the technology.

Remember, chatbots are as intelligent as the humans building it.

How can chatbots be utilized by brands?

Customer service: Consumers don’t have patience to call / e-mail their problems, they are looking for instant response and chatbots are really the simplest way solve the problem.

Sales process & buying decision: An advanced chatbot can help customers in the sales process and buying decisions. Data shows chatbot is 266% more effective at converting to a sale than the average social ad.

Insights & Data: Conversations with chatbots enables brands to understand their consumers better. Through structured or unstructured conversations, brands can get insights about their consumers like never before!

While there are more than 100,000 chatbots on Facebook Messenger, they can be deployed on platforms like Website, WhatsApp, WeChat or even text messages.

What you need to consider before deploying Chatbots?

Business sense: Before deploying a chatbot, ask yourself if the business/brand really requires one. Key to a good chatbot is to use them where it makes sense and not to have it just because of the growing trend.

Tone: Don’t try to trick users into thinking they are talking to a human. The tone shouldn’t be too robotic or too friendly, strike a balance!

Human Interaction: Always give an option to switch if a human can takeover the conversation. There are many times when a bot might not be able provide answers to a user’s query. In that case, keep an option open for the users to interact with a human instead to ensure seamless customer experience.

Considering all the above, chatbots can make life of humans much simpler, however, will they replace humans in the coming years?

Don’t forget that no matter how much technology evolves and makes our life better, it can never replace human qualities and emotions. With technology and automation, many tasks can be replaced, making it easier for people to focus on ‘human’ problems or apply social skills and emotional intelligence to create an overall positive businesses impact. Remember, chatbots are only as intelligent as the humans building it.

Technology is ever evolving and so are chatbots, but no technology can ever take the human emotions away ensuring that the two co-exist happily! What do you think?

Does your business uses chatbots or intend to do so in the coming years?

The article first appeared on LinkedIn.

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