While the idea of a “killer app” has turned out to be mostly hyperbole, the rumor thatbots are “app killers” is a prediction that seems to be coming to fruition.
With messaging platforms like Slack and WeChat offering convenient methods of communication with A.I.-interactions and Apple Siri or Amazon Alexa remove the need for touch or visual interaction, bots are quickly usurping the app craze by driving more efficient business practices than ever before.
Well on their way to the tipping point that apps reached years ago, bots are skyrocketing upwards. Early adopters made clear that these innovative tools will only grow into increasingly indispensable roles.
In order to take full advantage of the growing bot market , businesses need to know when to get on board. Not every business needs to take the leap just yet, but knowing what is on the horizon can help make the right strategic decisions today.
For many companies, hiring a bot is not a high priority. But for those with high volume customer service centers, companies wanting to automate marketing tasks, and for simpler calendaring or scheduling tasks, bots make sense.
1. Customer service bots
Bots are already poised to take over the basic customer service role of getting customers connected to the right department when they call or chat for service. With bots, customer service departments have the bandwidth to solve more challenging problems instead of spending time answering calls from frustrated people who wait on hold for twenty minutes.
Current bots excel at taking on repetitive tasks and entry level customer service needs . Some can even hold human-like chat conversations. They can help determine if a customer needs an automated answer or needs to talk to a real person. Some, like Apple Siri, follow simple voice prompts for conducting searches or adding calendar events. If your business traffics in large amounts of incoming customer requests, a bot can help to swiftly triage information and categorize requests to optimize human interaction. For example, Agentbot can perform a range of tasks including systematizing information and maintaining multiple simultaneous conversations in real-time.
2. Marketing bots
As more sophisticated bots grow, the closer they come to automating that of actual marketers. Just like Amazon Alexa can offer assistance by telling you the weather or who won a game, marketing bots can follow up with customers to drive new business. Humans once performed all this labor-intensive and routine work. Now, your business might consider a cost-effective marketing bot to automate and strengthen personalized customer relationships.
3. Assistant bots
As smart, scalable solutions, bots are able to amplify an organization’s performance and efficiency. Basic administrative bots take over communication and can execute a variety of tasks from number crunching to personal shopping.
Where current bots fall short is with context. Anything other than a simple, on-topic conversation goes beyond a bots abilities. The next generation of bots will be able to understand context in conversation as technology moves into more advanced stages of machine learning and natural language processing .
In the future, one person’s bot will schedule meetings with another person’s bot. Because project management will be incorporated, bots will help workers track their time and progress. As businesses develop internal bots, people will be able to query them about anything, like quarterly sales figures, or receive instant, correct answers. Businesses that are looking to optimize HR-type jobs rich in repetitive and paper-pushing tasks would do well adopting a bot to tackle such work.
Bots of tomorrow
As apps fade in dominance and the next generation of consumer interactions becomes largely text- and chat-based, bots will come to dominate our online lives. While this may sound far-fetched, bots are relatively simple to create. With bot engines like the ones provided by Facebook and Microsoft, any business is able to quickly create a bot tailored to their needs. This ability will only increase both in speed and complexity as more people use and refine the tools available.
Deciding when to hop onboard the bot train depends on the circumstances of your business. At this point in time, bots are the answer to specific tasks — customer service, marketing and administrative assistance — but as the field develops and bots refine their skillsets, the sky will be the limit.