Guest Blogger

By Nate Simmons COO at GameOn Technology

Thanks to the artificial intelligence (AI) mechanisms powering them, chatbots are completely changing the customer service landscape. The best ones deliver a customer experience (CX) in which customers cannot tell if they are communicating with a human or a computer. AI has come a long way in recognising the content – and context – of customers’ requests and questions. So much so that, according to a report by Grand View Research, the global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025, an annual growth rate of 24.3 percent. Similarly, a UK marketing report found 55% of marketers are certain that artificial intelligence will have a more radical transformative effect on the marketing industry than social media – and they are right.

Improving the basics of Customer service

Of course, there are acceptance issues for AI and chatbots. Some customers have always used traditional phone support and have a hard time accepting anything else. But what is clear, is that OTT chatbots present the opportunity to build an authentic relationship with a key demographic on the social platform of their choice.

Today, customer service is all about convenience, on-demand. So, an intuitive, never-sleeping contact point has clear and obvious benefits. Similarly, chatbots don’t make you wait, removing a perennial pain point of customer service. But eradicating the CX challenges that have plagued industries for years is only the tip of the iceberg. Chatbots excel at collecting customer data from support interactions, essentially, serving as virtual assistants collecting customer data in real time. And this is where the real gold mine is when it comes to brands better understanding their customers, and what makes them tick.

Moving to an engaged audience

Yet, the future of user acquisition is not about changing behaviour; it is about taking content to where the user is already active and engaged. Chatbots are an ideal way to do this, though they have been dramatically misunderstood and misused by many. For the past 10 years, the install base and developer ecosystems have driven content owners to adopt iOS and Android applications as primary ways to build an OTT audience. Taking into account that Apple sold roughly 1 billion phones from 2008 to 2018 and chat platforms that support chatbots have 3.5 billion daily active users on them, one cannot look past the immediate, green-field opportunity for penetration and growth. Some chat platforms boast over 65% lifetime retention rates and are seeing monetization start to take hold.

Our partnership with Sky Sports on the Jeff Bot is a good example of this. The Jeff Bot, which provides coverage of the Premier League based on Jeff Stelling and Sky Sports Soccer Saturday content, has had a direct effect on customer engagement. Fans can ask Jeff a question about the EPL at any time and get an answer back, as well as subscribe to teams and get information sent to them based on real time developments on and off the pitch. This model of encouraging fan interaction is key to creating long term users.

Value of chatbot data

The volume of data generated by chatbots is huge. On any given day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is produced across social platforms by bots. This ability to bring order from chaos allows chatbots to answer customer service questions, scan restaurants to book dinner reservations, check sports scores, and order flowers.

Experts are predicting that we’ll be sitting on 35 zettabytes of data by 2020, more than our human brains can digest without aid. Fortunately, the artificial intelligence within chatbots has the potential to help deliver the level of deep, intuitive personalisation that today’s hyper-connected consumers demand, offering the ability to select the right audience for the most relevant conversation. Of course, we’re unlikely to see a customer service world without humans anytime soon, but more natural interactions with ever-improving chatbots mean a better, clearer and more intuitive connection to user insights brands can rely on.

[1] Weber Shandwick, AI-Ready or Not: Artificial Intelligence Here We Come!, June 2016

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