Artificial intelligence is on the rise and not a day goes by when we don’t hear about bots, smart messaging or personal assistants. Those interfaces which make contact easier between a service and a customer, quickly became a real trend, so much that many brands are now interested and want to have their own. Google, for example, is now integrating its Google Assistant in its smartphones and Amazon Echo is about to become the new « must have » in the American households with more than 3 million devices sold since its launch in 2014.
But, let’s be real, how does this technology work? At first, it is important to distinguish personal assistants such as Siri, Google Now or Cortana based on artificial intelligence and capable of dealing with a great amount of informations and bots which are aiming a precise objective by accomplishing a specific mission with a given scenario. From the user’s point of view, it is just a simple conversation, but in fact it is an interaction with a robot that follows an established algorithm that answers to the consumer’s needs. We are talking of a “graphical user interface” but of a “conversational user interface”.
The launch of bots signs a new approach of the interactions between humans and machines. For their first appearance in 2011, bots were just simple personal assistants based on artificial intelligence which answered to basic demands. We will have to wait 2016 to discover the first « chatbot » and to allow interactions between humans and machines with questions and answers, its purpose is to identify the client’s claim following a given scenario.
Since the appearance of this technology, many brands have tried to launch their own bots and they have solicited digital agency to create their own personal assistants. This popularity is encouraging for the development of bots and can be explained by several reasons. First of all, those are easy to integrate on social networks such as Messenger, Slack, Kik or Twitter, platforms that gather a great number of users. This way, they can simplify the relationship between brands and their clients. Then, concerning there services brought to clients, bots enable to have a personalised conversation with customers. It is one of the best solutions to answer their needs, they are used 24/7 and they can assume their missions without interruption. Their use enables to regulate interactions with call centres and to reduce the cost of putting through customers with brands.
Bots also represents an important advantage on social networks. Indeed, it is frequent that clients use Facebook or Twitter to express their frustration publicly and it is important to handle correctly reclamations otherwise posts can become out of control and can badly affect the brand. In a bots conversation, those risks are greatly decreased because clients’ critics remain private and are not published on social networks. That is why Messenger is now the most commun platform for the use of bots, with more than 10 000 bots currently in development and nearly 40 partners among Uber and SNCF. This is understandable when we know that this messaging service is currently welcoming nearly 900 millions users and more than 20 billion messages.
There is a lot of speculation surrounding the use of robots in our daily life, but the launch of bots and the democratisation of personal assistants give a new perspective to the interactions between men and machines. Even if it is now obvious that quick and personalised chat bots will change our way to interact with brands’ services, the regular discovery of new uses linked to bots and the diversity of exciting possibilities for the future of this technology.