Earlier this year, media reports about Facebook’s experimental chatbots going ‘’rogue’’ rang plenty of false alarms. Speculations were rife with real imitating reel — rise of the machines, and so on. The actual scenario was far from those stories. It turned out that the bots, which were being trained to get a sense of language negotiations and ultimately have intelligent conversations, failed to respond with meaningful sentences. As many reports suggested, the bots didn’t come up with a language of their own.
But researchers and businesses are actively looking into chatbots as substitutes for human assistants. Facebook’s experiment was one of many projects currently being taken on by organizations to create bots that can do more for customer experience than simply respond with basic logic. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020, the average person will have more chats with bots than they do with their spouse! Imagine then what a high-quality chatbot experience could mean for your business.
Next-gen chatbots are far more sophisticated
Traditional customer service chatbots are functional only to the extent that they can identify keywords. They can neither decipher natural human language, nor can they come up with contextual solutions. The idea behind improving customer experience with chatbots is to create digital assistants that can actually do something for customers, rather than giving stock replies based on pre-programmed responses.
The new generation of bots are “self-learning agents” whose behavioral patterns are powered by AI. A more suitable name for a bot like this is “cognitive chatbot.” IBM’s Watson paved the way for this new wave of bots using cloud-based cognitive computing environments — something the Topcoder Cognitive Community specializes in.
How chatbots can deliver a superior customer experience
Chatbots can go beyond human limitations. For instance, a chatbot that doesn’t sleep is a cost-effective way to ensure 24/7 availability, the basic tenet of a truly supportive customer experience. They also drastically reduce the possibility of human error. Where a customer representative may forget a small but important detail, a chatbot won’t.
Using chatbots could also cut down on the time spent on direct — and often frustrating — interactions with customer service representatives. Recent trends show that potential and/or existing customers prefer connecting over messaging platforms (such as Facebook Messenger or even WhatsApp) when engaging with brands. Yet companies often ignore or take too long to respond to such messages. The average consumer wants a response instantly; that’s where bots come in.
Businesses are also looking at using chatbots — both for mobile and desktop — to direct customers toward specific information or requirements. Banking organizations, among businesses in other industries, are already using chatbots effectively to not just improve but streamline customer experience.
Erica, the Bank of America bot is a good example. According to Forbes, Erica helped customers perform simple transactions such as paying down debt, checking account status, and more, and even gave advice on reducing debt. In another instance, Wells Fargo used a chatbot that could answer simple questions regarding account balance and give the location of the nearest ATM.
Topcoder’s custom IBM Watson chatbot
At Topcoder, you can now easily train an IBM Watson chatbot with your own customized conversation structure. Built by the Topcoder Community, the cognitive chatbot is powered by an AI-driven contextual conversation service for specific business processes — all on a case-by-case basis. Customers receive a fully customized, trained Watson service ready to be deployed to their chatbot.
How your cognitive chatbot comes to life:
- Reach out! It’s quick and easy to get started.
- We analyze and evaluate your requirements.
- Topcoder Community members use relevant customer data (like previous customer messages/conversations) to work on a prototype.
- Next, members create visitor/customer scenarios for testing the conversation service. These cases are then tested to solve any issues and refine the conversation service.
- We compare test results and apply customer feedback to make final updates to the conversation service.
- Your cognitive chatbot is ready to be deployed!
Ready to improve your customer experience with a cognitive chatbot? Get started today.