Facebook Messenger allows you to book an Uber with their application. The Chinese, as usual, have taken the application so far ahead that with their WeChat application, a user can do anything form ordering a cab, a coffee and even book an appointment with your doctor.
The trend is being set on two pillars, the increasing popularity and usage of mobile messaging applications and the exponential advancement in artificial intelligence. A study showed that messages through said messenger applications have risen from 31 trillion messages in 2014 to an expected 100 trillion by 2019.
Conversational commerce will aim to allow users of messenger applications to communicate with businesses via sending messages. Customer support and such aspects will be taken over by chatbots by applying of machine learning and natural language processing in the messaging interfaces.
Do the Bot?
People are already on chatbots. People want chatbots. The attention span of people is falling, screen-time is decreasing and microblogging is becoming popular. All of these factors suggest that chatbots are definitely an area worth exploring as users are showing interest in it.
It is illogical to expect users to download a new application every-time they want to avail a new service. It is both time consuming and uses up storage on the device. Even Mark Zuckerberg at the F8 in 2016 agreed when he suggested that people should be able to message businesses and not have to call them and install a new application for each business. Hence, a big advantage chatbots bring is massively reducing the need for downloading and installing several applications.
Since chatbots will be able to run twenty-four-seven, the consumer and producer relation is likely to enhance. Consumers can benefit greatly from round the clock support. Also, chatbots are fast and prompt in providing their service. Long gone will be the days where customers will have to stand in ques or wait on calls to get the simplest of information.
Chatbots are able to learn and implement artificial intelligence in their working to deliver personalised service to their consumers. They can retrieve information and provide a more “human” discovery mechanism.
Why Not To Bot?
As of now, chatbots lack the ability to sound exactly like a human. Even though they are able to use a million words and form personalised sentences, users aren’t exactly delivered the same experience they would get by chatting with a real-life person. Artificial intelligence, however, is breaking new barriers every day and as t evolves, so will the user experience.
Spamming is always the most annoying aspect of technology. An initial conversation with a bot can be mistaken for consent to send regular updates, which defeats the purpose of improving the customer experience.
Chatbots, after all, are not humans and hence will not understand irony and sarcasm and various characteristics that make humans unique in our ability to converse.
Hence, even though chatbots are the most probable course of development in conversational commerce, there are disadvantages and obstacles that must be adhered to. However, as to the question of “to bot or not to bot”, we say bot!