The evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in full swing, dominating virtually all aspects of our lives. The sheer number of users of today’s messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Skype and the likes, are increasing at an unprecedented rate. Facebook messenger alone has more than 1.2 billion users monthly. To meet up with these exponential values with regards social media users, AI based ChatBots capable of imitating human interactions have become an integral part of the industry.
What is a ChatBot?
ChatBot (also known as a smart bot, talkbot, conversational interface or Artificial Conversational Entity) is Artificial Intelligence (AI) software that can simulate a conversation, via audio or text, with human users, usually over the internet.
Contrary to popular belief, ChatBots have been around for a long time. The first conversational bot was written and created by Joseph Weizenbaum, a computer scientist of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1966. And she was called Eliza. Despite certain limitations, the principles used in Eliza laid the foundation for the structure of subsequent ChatBots. Some of these principles include special keywords, specific phrases, and preprogrammed responses.
Other ChatBots were introduced in preceding years namely Parry in 1972 by Kenneth Colby, A.L.I.C.E (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity) created by Ruchard Wallace in 1995, and SmarterChild which was developed by ActiveBuddy Inc.
Over the next decade (2010 – 2015), AI-based voice integrated ChatBots became very popular among high-tech companies, starting with Siri (Apple, 2010), Google Now (2012), Alexa (Amazon, 2015), and Cortana (Microsoft, 2015). These bots were able to respond to voice commands and perform internet searches among other tasks.
Currently, ChatBots are expected to be the next big thing in the fields of social media and customer support services. A recent survey by Oracle brought to light some interesting facts: about 80 per cent of businesses, both startups and established, expect to use ChatBots for customer interactions by 2020.
Hence, entrepreneurs, these days can hardly afford to ignore the widespread advantages that a ChatBot offers. The first place where ChatBots were utilized was in customer-support interactions to create services that would be both cost-effective and efficient.
Apart from cutting down on the size of an organization’s team, AI-based Chat bots designed for any sector tend to revolutionize the way employees function within organizations in the various sectors. Some of these sectors include retail, medicine and hospitality. By allowing ChatBots to handle and automate time-consuming administrative tasks such as scheduling meetings and keeping a record of attendance, dealing with suppliers and new recruits by answering basic inquiries or supporting HR needs internally for existing employees, organizations save more while ensuring more efficient services. ChatBots are also very useful in ensuring that employees working remotely stay connected with their teams, thus revolutionizing traditional workplace setups and collaboration networks.
Real-time Sector Where ChatBots are Increasingly in Demand
The banking sector was among the first set of industries to adopt AI based ChatBots. The use of ChatBot utility in the banking sector began with personalized banking, aimed at improving customer relationships and interactions. Banks now assign ChatBots to interact with customers to clarify banking queries such as: accessing and asking for account balance, bank statements, transfer of funds, the creation of deposit, saving and investment advice, and so on.
Bank of America introduced an AI-based ChatBot, called Erica for its customers, to perform similar functions for them. Customer support and feedback are areas where ChatBots have taken over, while this is on the customer relationship front, the business side of banking also seem to be buying into the idea of ChatBots. ChatBots also perform tasks for financial institutions such as contract review and analysis, employee engagement, IT ticketing, parse messages, and password management to mention but a few.
JPMorgan Chase launched a ChatBot, Coin, in 2017 to manage their back-office operations. Coin can efficiently analyze complex contracts quicker than human lawyers. The Legal industry has a language of its own and it continues to grow daily across multiple document structures. Analyzing these documents in their peculiar languages is a particularly time-consuming process for humans.
The insurance industry, just like the legal, has its own set of jargons. It is said that confusing jargons and insurance policies are synonymous to each other. Traditional insurance agents have not been able to satisfactorily handle the task of educating customers and subsequently providing for their needs. This may be attributed to the fast-paced regulations and updates that happen within the industry. Magda, deployed by a Polish insurance firm (Link4), is a revolutionizing ChatBot in this industry which sells insurance policies online.
ChatBots are also revolutionizing the education sector, from personalizing education, helping people learn new languages, spaced interval learning, student feedback, lecturer assessment, essay scoring, acquainting students with school culture and for administrative formalities. AdmitHub launched an AI-based ChatBot to aid new students to navigate the college transition process. Jill Watson, a ChatBot, also works as a teaching assistant. Duolingo, on the other hand, is an AI-based ChatBot that teaches different languages.
In fact, more and more teachers and students are independently trying to create their own ChatBots using certain platforms.
In hospitals and clinics, ChatBots have helped save considerable amounts in cash. While one category of ChatBots performs tasks for receptionists, nurses and interns, another category assists doctors with patient progress reports, checking in on post-op recoveries, assessing drug interactions, and so on. Your MD is a ChatBot used by patients and clinicians to assess personalized health information. It learns common symptoms and provides recommendations for relevant resources.
Since the inception of AI based ChatBots in the field of customer service, there has been a progressive growth in the quality of customer service especially when considering the ability of organizations who would ordinarily have had to hire hundreds of human employees to tend to tickets to no have an AI based ChatBot do all the heavy lifting, leaving the intricate issues for human employees.
While this might be good news for the organization in terms of efficiency, the development has further increased fears of technology applications taking human jobs in the modern workplace, especially AI.
In marketing as well, ChatBots have aided the personalization of services on different fronts, tailoring these ChatBots to the needs of different industries, typical examples of such include: a sports team receiving score updates, video highlights, news about trades, etc.
Due to the streamlined type of information associated with this sector, ChatBots seem to be an extremely efficient tool within this industry.
In conclusion, ChatBots have a variety of use cases but it is important to find a high-yielding use case which can deliver a high Return on Investment (ROI). Should you need any help with more case studies, get in touch with us, and we will help you to understand how the ChatBots can transform your business to achieve your goals with the help of artificial intelligence.