Luke Bilton, Director - Digital & Content, UBM
Roland van Breukelen, Director, Customer
Engagement & Commerce, SAP Hybris
Automating more efficient customer experiences
New research by TFM and eCommerce Expo
In partnership with
Improved efficiency and increased customer satisfaction were seen
as the two top benefits of chatbot technology
Chatbots offer efficiency gains as virtual
employees who can work 24/7
It’s inevitable that chatbots will become a
standard feature of all digital platforms.
Chatbots can inform and shape products
and services going forward”
Chatbots will be a “game changer” if they
become the primary touchpoint between
customers and organisations.
The tech has far to go before it will really
Conversational UIs work great in some
contexts but are inefficient for many tasks.
Chatbots are here to stay, but it's a massive
bubble. Huge brands are going to waste
huge money on chatbots which are, in
general, a bit ****.
Chatbots suppliers should find a way to let
clients know what they are really capable of,
and what kind of input they can process, in
order to avoid over expectation.
2/3rds said making them more human is no.1 challenge
Over 1/3rd have issues with development and maintenance
Customers would prefer to interact
exclusively with humans”
Customers would be happy use chatbots
for the majority of interactions, so long
as there was easy access to human
employees if needed.
“Customers would prefer to use humans
for the majority of interactions, with the
help of chatbots for simple tasks.”
A blend of human and chatbot interactions
Both human and chatbot interactions
are needed in order not to lose
Sales and customer service channels
should be there to support our
Like many previous technological
improvements chatbots can help us do
this - but we should not force our
customers to use them, and”
We should always provide a path to a
live human being
“Chatbots should provide assistance
with easy tasks. However, at some
point, users may prefer engaging
another human being.”
Welcome to day two of Ecommerce Expo
I am Luke Bilton, Director - Digital & Content, UBM and I’m here with Roland van Breukelen, Director, Customer Engagement & Commerce, SAP Hybris
To talk you through the findings of our new research into Chatbots in which we surveyed the audience of TFM and Ecommerce Expo for their views on how chatbots are being used today and in the future, and what are the benefits and challenges presented by this new technology.
So, to set some context before we go into the research.
It’s undeniable that chatbots
CHATBOTS are a way that people can interact with machines, mostly via tex messages
It offers a human-like interface to get information, when they want it, with near immediate response, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
The human types in a request – in this case, looking for available flights to Seattle;
The machine uses Natural Language Processing to understand what is being said, and Machine Learning to deliver an appropriate response.
In this way the machine can give the human relevant information, in much the same way as if he or she were conversing with another person.
The most obvious application for it is in customer service, where it has potential to replace the need for human reps.
The fact its text based is importnant
64% of consumers prefer to use text over voice as a customer service channel
While the humble text message is a relatively primitive
form of digital communication, it’s ronic
that the technology has evolved to become one of
the most dominant channels in existence today.
More than 22 billion SMS messages sent each day worldwide.
Text messages remain the most used feature on mobile
devices; an incredible feat when one considers the
wealth of applications and communication channels
One more stat, a study, by MobileSquared, suggests that age plays important role. 90% of students prefer messaging over any
other channel for customer service-related tasks.
It doesn’t just have to be customer service, of course. There are all number of creative applications for Chatbots
When thinking about Chatbots, Facebook Messenger is a good place to start.
Facebook Messenger has 1.2 Billion USERS and 2 billion messages are sent each month
has been a catalyst grown to support 100k developers who have made 100k bots
53% of users say they are more likely to do business with a business that can message.”
Because I’m an admin of a couple of Facebook groups, I’ve recently been targeted by Chatbots givning me campaign reports & selling to me via messenger
KLM’s Simple chatbot for flight information via Facebook messenger. s KLM Royal Dutch Airlines customers to receive flight details through its Messenger bot.
But what to people really think about chatbots?
Are they really useful or stupid?
What are they being used for?
How is this going to increase in the years ahead?
That’s why TFM and Ecommerce Expo worked with SAP Hybris on new research into Chatbots.
Roland van Breukelen, Director, Customer Engagement & Commerce, SAP Hybris
Will now talk you through some of the findings of the report
Chatbots are becoming mainstream
19% are currently using chatbots
77% are considering deploying chatbot technology
95% believe their use of chatbots will grow in the coming years
As expected Customer Service is where Chatbots can be seen to have immediate impact.
Interestingly we then have
SALES – imagine a sales rep that doesn’t sleep, dealing with all the low value sales items. Much how Facebook are using it themselves to encourage you to buy small promotional packages
MARKETING then SOCIAL MEDIA – imagine personalised 1:1 messaging with customers at scale. Customers are spending more and more time off the main social networks and in messaging Apps, so could be the perfect way to have a dialogue with them.
Will marketers start shifting their social media budget to messaging?
Let’s look at technology landscape.
We have to mention Facebook’s 2016 announcement that the Messenger platform would support the use of bots was a landmark moment in the evolution of chatbots. While chatbot development was already vigorous, Facebook’s platform announcement acted as a springboard for businesses looking to leverage the capabilities of the technology.
Looking at the AI platforms specifically, IBM Watson is perhaps the best-known technology on the market today. IBM's question answering system shot to fame on the US tv program – Jeopardy - when it defeated two of the show’s most successful contestants. Watson has since been successfully commercialised with the Watson Conversation Service API offering developers access to the platform’s cognitive and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) capabilities.
In 2016, Microsoft announced Bot Builder. The framework provides open-source SDKs for development of chatbots, primarily for use in Microsoft’s ecosystem of apps and services.
Microsoft has also developed the Azure Bot Service, which provides an integrated environment, enabling developers to build, test and deploy chatbots in a serverless environment.
Despite AI technologies being readily available, this fractured ecosystem of tools, micro-services and frameworks introduces obvious challenges for developers and organisations looking to build sophisticated chatbots. Many of these competing services lack out-of-the-box interoperability, making it difficult to develop well-integrated solutions with the deep functionality and cross-channel deployment capabilities needed.
This has led to the rise of ‘Platform as a Service’ providers such as Kore.ai, which offers an end-to-end platform for building, deploying, and using chatbots in a fully managed environment. PaaS providers such as Kore are likely to play and increasingly integral role in the development arena, by packaging all of the tools and components needed to build, test and deploy complex chatbots.
Of those who are already using Chatbots, these are the most popular platforms
39% are using Chatbots in Slack
28% are using Chatbots in Facebook Messenger
28% are in Line
17% are in WeChat
11% are in WhatsApp
Improved efficiency from 24/7 virtual employees and increased customer satisfaction were seen as the two top benefits of chatbot technology
We had comments
“ if they become the primary touchpoint between customers and organisations.
INEVITABLE “that chatbots will become a standard feature of all digital platforms.
We also had comments about the INSIGHT potential. Informing and shaping products and services.
Chatbots are not free of problems.
2/3rds said the biggest problem is making them more human / less robotic
Over 1/3rd have issues with development and maintenance
Some of the comments were interesting..
“Chatbots are here to stay, but it's a massive bubble. Huge brands are going to waste huge money on chatbots which are, in general, a bit ****.”
NOT READY YET:
“The tech has far to go before it will really add value. Conversational UIs work great in some contexts but are inefficient for many tasks”
“Chatbots suppliers should find a way to let clients know what they are really capable of, and what kind of input they can process, in order to avoid over expectation.
We asked about how businesses see chatbots and human employees working together.
Whether they are ready for the chatbots to take over.
“Customers would prefer to interact EXCLUSIVELY with humans”
More than double that number (33%) said
“Customers would be happy use chatbots EXCLUSIVELY (so long as there was easy access to human employees if needed.”
But the preferred solution for 50% was that
“Customers would prefer to use humans for the MAJORITY of interactions, with the help of chatbots for SIMPLE TASKS”
So while the benefits to the business are clear, respondents felt that striking a blend of human services and chatbot interactions remained critical to the success of chatbot deployments.
Yet it won’t be long before machines will be able to interpret emotions too, understanding not only explicit actions, but
also implicit signals that come from customers.
Despite the many advancements made in fields of AI and machine learning, chatbots still lack the ability
to interact on a truly human level. While this is a technical limitation, it would be a mistake to assume that chatbots
lack business value simply because they are unable to achieve a human-levels of intelligence (yet).
So to summarise.
Chatbots are here to stay, 95% of respondents felt that their business’s usage of chatbots would grow in the coming years.
They will become an important part of the customer journey as the technology becomes applied to customer service/support then on to sales and marketing as it advances.
The question is, what will your business do in response?
Chatbots are nothing more than a means to an end. Your real objective should be to ensure that your customers’ needs are met, rather than bolting on a technology, But as the technology continues to mature, and younger customer choose to interact via text rather than phone, it will play an increasingly important role