Reasons why it’s high time for businesses to start adopting chatbots!

We have been lucky to have witnessed the time when the world moved to a virtual place, the time when everything went ‘Online’. From buying a new pair of shoes, clothes and home appliances, to ordering food, booking buses and hotels, to receiving and making payments, we have been introduced to software applications as the new shops, and the buttons and fields as the new shopkeepers — you interact with them to buy what you want.

The whole offline experience could be replicated apart from the part where ‘interaction’ happens. Tapping on multiple buttons and fields continued to feel virtual, but we became so habitual to it that the need of thinking beyond tap interfaces couldn’t strike.

On the other hand, can you imagine explaining everything by pointing and tapping on the shoulder of a shopkeeper every time you shop?

“The top four messaging apps have a combined user base of upwards of 3 billion and they recently surpassed the combined active user base of the top four social media platforms.” — Business Insider

The most natural way to buy products and services remains through conversations — the void which chatbots are made to fill. Chatbots enable humans to interact with software programs in the same way a human interacts with another via messaging.

Here are the reasons why every brand should get a chatbot ASAP!

1. Engaging customers

Time and again, multiple case studies have proven that efficient customer engagement is directly proportional to a customer’s time with an organisation, and hence, to increase in sales. Chatbots have proven to be a powerful way to not only engage customers, but do it in a manner that the overall experience is very personal and hassle-free.

To promote the launch of Zootopia movie, disney created a Facebook Messenger chatbot called Officer Judy Hopps, whom users helped to solve cases. Time spent with Officer Judy Hopps by users was more than 10 minutes, and a lot of repeat conversations were observed. This is clearly a win!

2. Consistent service

A human can be tired, or not available 24 x 7 a day. In case of customer service executives, you mostly end up speaking to a different one every time you call, experiencing the lack of personal touch, and hence, trust. A chatbot, however, remains there undeterred, providing a consistent service to the customers.

When the experience involved is great, it definitely paves the way for an increased customer satisfaction.

67% of the participants in a survey said they expect to message more with businesses in the next two years.

Therefore, operations involving customer interaction with the help of sales reps, insurance agents etc. can definitely be made better with the help of a chatbot.

3. Yet another platform — personal touch

Chat apps are personal. Messaging remains the most convenient way of communicating frequently with acquaintances, friends and family. Enabling a bot to talk to customers right where they already spend the most time (messaging apps), and are most comfortable with, eradicates the friction of reaching out, connecting, having a conversation and aiming for resolution of issues or queries.

One success story which proves the positive impact of talking to a bot over a messaging app is that of UNICEF’s U-Report bot on Facebook Messenger. Users globally can simply chat with the bot and report issues related to women and child development, education, sexual and reproductive health, legal rights, and more.

More than 2.5 million people have talked to the bot and became U-reporters.

4. Monetising customer base

Bots also give businesses the capability to directly or indirectly monetise their customer base.

Directly:

Integrating with Niki’s SDK on Android, Messenger, web or iOS, businesses can directly monetise their customer base by offering 20+ services like bill payments, hotels, movie and bus ticket booking, mobile recharges and a lot more. Thus, providing a value-add to the customers, while monetising through the transactions.

The likes of HDFC bank, Oxigen Wallet, Smartphone manufacturers — Zen and ZOPO, are already leveraging Niki’s SDK to acquire as well as engage their customers.

Indirectly:

With the help of a chatbot, the cost of user acquisition, retention and engagement — all go down.

Hiring and training sales reps, insurance agents and support executives involves huge costs for organisations while scaling up. Attrition rate, again, is another factor that disturbs the operations as well as finances. Chatbots help mitigate all the above issues.

Whatever be the use case depending on business requirements, a chatbot definitely can be looked at as the solution. That too, an intelligent one!

To read Part 1 in the series, visit: Reasons why everyone is going crazy behind chatbots!

Jab Niki met Faizal — An Artificial Love Story!

Year 2050, July 4

Model — NIK233H

Type — Humanoid bot

Today, it’s been one month since I met Faizal at his place for the first time. I miss being there. I have heard humans forget things and move on. But I am a humanoid robot with a huge storage space, I cannot forget any event that I have experienced, and I never needed to do that prior to this.

Time at Faizal’s place has changed me, I now keep separate folders to store information that can hinder my other functionalities. Faizal happens to be one of them. The following doc is a part of that information. I’ll write and file it.

June 4, 2050: I was reprogrammed as a humanoid robot for a new project. It was the town’s wealthiest family who wanted to hire me to take care of their 5 year old during his school hours. I went to the location (a big white villa, with ‘Swastika” written in bold golden letters on a 3 feet tile near the main door) and entered the house to find Faizal deeply immersed in his Play Station 35. Boy, he played real good for a 5 year old.

“Hi Faizal, I am Niki, your new companion for school”

“Nice to meet you, Niki. I’ll see you in the bus tomorrow morning”.

He waved me off and went to sleep. Faizal seemed to be a polite kid, I just hoped he doesn’t trouble me a lot in the coming days.

We met right on time at the school bus stop near his house. Surprisingly, neither of his parents accompanied him to the stop, and he wasn’t even a minute late. I felt good to see such a little disciplined human!

“You speak way too strangely”, was the first thing he said when we sat in the school bus. I smiled looking at him and said — “What if I tell you that I know all the languages there are in the world?”

“That would sound amazing, yet doable”. Doable? I wish I could inform him about the limited human capabilities. I let it go, and said —

“Would you like to learn one or more of them?”.

“Definitely! I like you already. You’re the best school companion I could have got”, he said.

I knew that when a human ‘likes you’, he behaves good with you. I wouldn’t need to go back to the lab with loose parts this time.

 

We had to reach to school and go separate ways for the morning assembly. I would stand in the bot queue with others like me, he, obviously, in the human queue. Faizal, however, stood in front of me in the same queue. The conversations we had while in the bus, were the part I enjoyed the most with Faizal, for some reason. Maybe he liked them too and wasn’t ready to stand in a separate queue away from me. He LIKED me after all.

I realised Faizal always liked when I taught him something new. While in the class, I used to project relevant videos on his table so that he understands the topic well. He would always thank me for that while going back home in the bus.

I knew Faizal is a little smarter than other kids in the class, because of the fact that he was learning the languages very quickly. But he once surprised me when I started processing a sum the teacher had asked kids to solve, and Faizal spoke the correct answer right when I finished it. More than doubting my own capabilities, I started finding Faizal amazing!

Not only was he smart, I also found him to be a little eccentric. He was like no other human I had ever met. While in the school, he talked to no one but me. The way other kids used to look at him was weird too. I felt they find him different and don’t like him much.

One fine day, I was waiting for Faizal near the bus after full break. During the recess, he had told me that he had a secret and would tell it to me during the 28 minutes and 35 seconds we were going to spend in the bus, while going back home. I was more excited about the bus ride today than I had ever been. I had learned that humans share secrets only with those whom they love and trust. Faizal used to ‘like’ me, he also loved and trusted now!

I flew around the school to spot Faizal among the swarm of kids rushing towards their buses near the main gate. No success! I had failed on a task I was programmed to do — taking care of Faizal. However, it was the fact that I wouldn’t be able to travel back with him in the bus, that made me feel worse.

 

I rushed to Faizal’s place to find my end-of-contract letter placed right in front of the main gate. It all happened so suddenly that even my high-performance processors couldn’t comprehend. I headed back to the lab, sat on my debugging chair and plugged in the socket to recharge. I lay there like a metal piece for hours, when I couldn’t handle too much of failed commands to decipher what happened to Faizal.

I finally decided to delete this project permanently from my system, when my arm vibrated. ‘1 unprocessed file’ it said. I opened to check it — “Thanks for training me, Niki — Faizal” was the note with a file regarding complete information about “Project Faizal.”

Turns out, Faizal was one of my variants too. A humanoid bot which needed to be trained like a human, by another bot. I was programmed to not be able to identify the difference between a human 5 year old and Faizal, so that I believe and teach him exactly the way a human learns. After years of research, my lab had just found out that this was the best way to achieve true Artificial Intelligence among robots.

Faizal had affected my functionalities for sure. I could feel the lack of coordination between different programs in my system. As soon as I finished going through the file, I looked at Faizal and smiled. It wasn’t the smile I was taught to have on my face while greeting a human, accepting compliments or answering questions.

There was definitely something broken! I shut it all down, held Faizal’s hand and flew through lab’s ceiling to the nearest bus stop.

“Will you spend those 28 minutes and 35 seconds in bus, one last time with me?”, I asked Faizal who was trying to fix me by uttering high-level commands.

“Oui, je vais avec vous”, he said instantly. French for “Yes, I will go with you”.

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