2018 is the year chatbots will come good according to many tech pundits, as they move from test and experiment to the front of many business websites, embedded in most social media platforms and apps.
Chatbot adoption continues to grow across many verticals and lines of business with Netatmo, the smart home company recently launching a Facebook Messenger bot. It allows users to chat and instruct their smart home appliances, heaters, lighting and so on, through text commands, rather than navigating various apps and options.
Schroders, Japanese forex business Monex and Jordan Ahli Bank are among the latest financial institutions to roll out chatbots offering advice or information to their various customers. Currently in beta, SchrodersGO offers asset management advice for clients, demonstrating advanced features like fund report cards and market links. Check out the video for some interesting details.
The other leading adopter of chatbots remains the travel industry with Singapore Airlines the latest major carrier to jump on the chatbot bandwagon. Their bot called ‘Kris,’ lives on the airline’s Facebook page, the English-language bot can help with baggage, check-in and online booking queries. A live beta, “Kris will be under constant development as we further develop its knowledge library based on what our customers are most frequently asking for,” said the airline.
Looking at the wider travel market, an Apex Insight piece highlights how AI is rapidly changing the passenger experience but needs to evolve further, for example using image recognition… “In the next 3 to 4 years, we’ll see chatbots get much smarter as they start to bring in other forms of AI to help sell products or meet customer service needs. For example, if a traveller gives the chatbot a picture of a beach, the AI can look at all the features of the image and see what travel destinations closely match the content, and then display those options.”
What is strange is that while some brands are promoting their bots with smart logos, like Ahli Bot, providing informative videos and other efforts, as highlighted in this piece. Others, like Singapore, are doing a least-effort option with just a press release to soft launch their bots. Singapore carries over 1.5 million passengers a month, but I bet only a few check the company’s press site, and there isn’t even a mention of it on the Facebook page. How will customers find out about bots if there is no marketing, and how to company’s expect to get feedback data and for their AI bots to learn if no one is visiting them? This is an aspect of company-thinking that needs to change in 2018.
Others are talking about their bots, and the results they produce. Even for a low-key use, chatbots are proving their worth around the globe. Take English Premier League side AFC Bournemouth’s first foray into the world of chatbots with #Cherrybot.