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Chatbots have been an exciting concept for years, but the technology is finally here to make them a mainstream reality. See why you need to start thinking about chatbots today.
2019 Is going to be the year of chatbot adoption. You don’t need to take my word for it. Gartner’s Market Guide for Conversational Platforms says, “With only 4% of enterprises having deployed conversational interfaces but 38% planning to or actively experimenting, this market is set for growth.” That means this year is the year for you to adopt chat interfaces, otherwise, by next year, you’ll find your competition is already rolling out their own.
Why is this happening today? The market has been maturing and the technology underpinning conversational user experiences has reached a point where it is easier to implement within your technology stack. Plus, it can provide a better experience for your users, who have become comfortable interacting with applications via natural language text.
If you're still not convinced just yet, here are five key reasons you need to consider a chatbot today:
Not long ago, conversational interfaces were largely constrained to complex hardcoded decision trees based on text. If a user provided an unexpected response, the experience would break. If a user needed to pick a date or select from among a list of options, a tedious series of text-based exchanges was required. If everything went right, this could work, but more often than not these experiences left users frustrated as they desperately attempted to contact a human.
Today, cognitive artificial intelligence can learn as it goes. Feed your bot a set of training data and conversation goals that you define, and it will continue adapting based on chat histories without ongoing developer costs. Improvements in conversational user interfaces also mean that a bot can serve up a calendar, or a series of stylized “cards,” or other UI tricks that make interactions with the user far more fluid.
The result is an increasingly natural conversation that is easy to get started with and more enjoyable to use. In other words, you can build better chatbots today, faster.
A key distinction in the chatbot industry is that between transactional and knowledge chatbots. Interfaces like Siri are knowledge bots that attempt to answer literally anything you could ask—which is a tall order, even today. Just ask anyone who regularly uses Siri if they’ve ever had a frustrating experience.
Transactional chatbots, on the other hand, are focused on a specific set of goals or transactions, and there is tremendous potential in these to make the lives of your users easier. Many tasks your users complete regularly likely involve filling out forms or requesting basic data—things like scheduling an appointment or getting account info. Automating these with a chatbot that elegantly handles the transactions can save everybody time.
When your customers are not calling your support employees for simple requests, it doesn’t just make life better for your customers—your employees benefit too. Employees can spend more of their time on the kinds of complex issues that require a human touch. This can sharply reduce wait times for customers and increase employee satisfaction at the same time.
It should be noted that your employees can benefit in other ways too. While the example above focuses on a customer-centric chatbot, employees can also use internal chatbots to quickly pull up data or execute basic operations. This can make everyday tasks both more efficient and less frustrating.
As a younger, digital-native cohort continues to make up a larger percentage of your audience, a chatbot is increasingly an expectation rather than something extra. Most Millennials have had a smartphone with an AI-powered assistant in it for much of their adult lives—not to mention Generation Z, who have been trained on this since childhood. This is an area where standing still means falling behind as expectations change.
Note that implementing even a simple chatbot can have positive effects across your user base. For those who expect it, you meet the demand. But for those who may not expect it, you can lay the groundwork for the future AI interactions that your customers or employees will have with you down the road.
Cognitive chatbots are powered by data, and one big reason they are better than ever is that the supply of data is better than ever as well. Your chatbot needn’t, and shouldn’t, live in a vacuum. Take advantage of your data by integrating it with your chatbot, enabling it to improve its conversational skills and complete transactions more effectively.
This data flow can also go both ways. A chatbot can give you information on how engaged your users are, what their friction points are and where they have the best experience, at a scale that would otherwise be hard to achieve.
Chatbots aren’t necessarily a fit for every organization, but for all the reasons above it’s clear they are becoming an increasingly attractive, and even necessary, solution for more and more enterprises.
Once you’ve decided that you have a business need that a chatbot can help you solve, the next step is to figure out how you can quickly and reliably deploy them across your organization. At Progress, our we offer a fully integrated and cognitive chat solution, making it easy to rapidly deliver enterprise-grade chat. Easily connect to existing enterprise or legacy systems of record and implement a chatbot that can fully automate a process.
You can learn more about NativeChat, including interactive demos, at the link below.
A member of the marketing team at Progress, Danny loves all things tech and has been writing about the industry for over 12 years. He enjoys the process of making complex subjects easy to grasp. He studied both English and computer science in college because he's fascinated by languages (including code!) and never stopped.
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