What is A Chatbot? The Human to Computer Customer Service Experience

A chatbot is a computer program which conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods. This technology is designed to replace human interaction with customers and help them with processing orders or providing customer service. The promise made by vendors of this technology is that it would deliver smarter customer service through this automation. Historically, bots were used to do a simple task at computer speed like search engine spiders, but now they are adding an artificial intelligence layer to it.

A 2017 Forrester Research Report on bots says there were more than 40,000 chatbots created in the 12 months since Kik (An Android based message app) and Facebook Messenger opened up their platforms. The promise of chatbots is that companies can have a one on one conversation with their customers on scale versus human interaction that traditionally has long wait times on the phone sometimes during peak demand periods. According to the chart below content delivery in the future will most likely be automated.

The adoption of chatbots was still in its early stages of development for corporate markets in 2017, but the potential impact of chatbots is immense if the technologists can get the right recipe. Below is a chart of the projected uses of chatbots in 2018. You probably don’t even know if you are using one if you are ordering your coffee online with the company’s app or if you used UBER. The City of Hong Kong as part of their Smart City initiatives are using chatbots for government inquiries.

Another type of bot that came from the dark side are social bots and according to this MIT article is instrumental in spreading fake news that is part of the ad fraud industry as some Twitter accounts are automated. Chengcheng Shao at Indiana University who studied this trend says “Bots play a particularly significant role in the spread of fake news soon after it is published. What’s more, these bots are programmed to direct their tweets at influential users. Automated accounts are particularly active in the early spreading phases of viral claims, and tend to target influential users.” (What will these tech crooks think of next) But chatbots are here to stay, so yelling at your mobile company chat bot when they slip an additional charge by you, will not help you in the future. LOL

About the Author: Marty Seto is the Content Producer for Office Today and has been writing about the internet, digital, media and advertising for the past 10 years. Marty has over 30 years experience in the advertising, publishing and media industries and is the producer of the Canadian Online Publishing Awards that just had its 10th anniversary.  He considers himself a technology white hat and promotes a safe and transparent digital society free of any stealth capitalism.