Chat bots – How they are changing businesses

Although they’ve been around since the 1950’s chat bots are becoming a trend in 2018 because developments in AI are allowing them to become more and more intelligent. Over the past few weeks I have noticed how rare it is to go on a website and not have a robot pop up wanting improve my experience.

They have become so popular we are bringing them into our homes. 1 in 6 Americans now have an Amazon Alexa in their home, and any companies are also incorporating them. We have one in our office and really appreciate her vast music selection and the ease of communicating with her.

Chatbots work so well for businesses because unlike humans, they never need a break. Bots are available 24/7 to answer customers queries, and although research suggests customers prefer talking to a human, bots are developing and could soon be favoured. The smarter they get the less likely they will be to make mistakes and eventually they may be more trustworthy than humans.

Here are some of the chatbots that I find interesting:

  • Starbucks Their bot allows you to order your extra hot, no foam, skinny chai latte with ease and lets you know when it’s ready to collect.
  • Sephora They have created a personal assistant for their customers who gives makeup tutorials and product reviews, giving you all the info you need to spend $100 on a new mascara.
  • ASOS Last week the UK fashion brand introduced us to Enki, a fashion robot that you can send a picture of your dream look and desired budget and she will suggest what you should buy from ASOS. If it works I think it’s a genius concept, but they have stated via their Twitter that she is still learning and needs to be used to improve. An interesting one to watch out for!

The benefits of chatbots are that they are available 24/7, they will save businesses money and they do the repetitive job that no one else wants to.

The downsides are that people are wary of this new technology and many prefer talking to a real person. Also, in early stages when bots are still learning they may be likely to make mistakes. The most problematic thing in my opinion is how can brands get their identity across through a robot. In all my roles in customer service I have had one thing drilled into me, embody the brands identity and values and show it to the customer. With so many companies having a bot these days it could be hard to differentiate between them, leaving brand values behind.

Have you had any memorable experiences with a chatbot, good or bad? I’d love to hear about it. Personally, I like the bots and am excited to see brands I love using them more in the future.


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