The Expansion of Chatbots
Even though bots continue to struggle on many fronts some vertical solution are already successfully deployed into the world and provide consistent reliable value to customers and businesses.
Developers and businesses are learning the limitations of bots and the practical approach to utilizing them successfully. Modern Consumers (anyone said Millennials) look for efficiency and reliability in service, they want their problem solved with minimum time wasted. For Chatbots to start gaining consumer confidence they need to deliver such service. No more and no less.
The successful Chatbot solutions currently out in the market have gone down that practical path and have two things in common.
Why Chatbots Survive in the Competitive Business Ecosystem
Vertical bots (as opposed to Horizontal bots) are made with a specific task in mind (schedule meetings/ buy an air line ticket), which gives them a clear advantage, they have less to learn. The result is that while horizontal bots are supposed to be good at a lot of things but fall short too often, vertical bots are becoming more and more reliable and therefore a better solution.
The best bot solutions are those that address relatively simple consumer issues. Getting some problems solved all the time is better than getting all the problem solved some of the time. To achieve this, bot solutions are made to work within structured conversations – where the context is relatively limited. When a bot is trying to schedule a meeting the flow and the context is relatively simple. That helps creating a safe environment for the conversational bot and results in better performance.
Survival of the fittest: In Which Industry Is the Chatbot Surviving?
Applying the process of evolution to innovative technology is nothing new. Survival depends on the ability to transform easily and to adjust in order to fit the eco-system. Fitting in a business world means successfully and reliably performing a needed functionality for customers for the right price. That’s what Chatbot solutions has to deliver in order to survive.
Similar the the first forms of life, the first Chatbots to successfully emerge have been simple basic forms of AI. From them will emerge more complex breeds that will continue to evolve, add abilities, combine knowledge, grow and mature to become the intelligent Chatbots we all hope for.
With that in mind we’ve put together a list of seven bot solution from seven different verticals that provide reliable solutions. What these Chatbots do will give you a good idea of what could be done at this point in time and what you could expect from Chatbots in your vertical.
Personal Assistant Chatbot
Scheduling a meeting with 4 other people – nightmare, right? There will be cancellations and rescheduling and headache. Well, not anymore. You send your assistant Amy Ingram (that’s the name of the bot, we’re in the personalization game after all) a single email, and she takes it from there until there’s firm confirmation from all attendees. X.ai found a vertical that they believe they can get perfectly. The intent is clear – find a time slot that works for all participants. The data sets are clear – participants schedules. And the communication is structured a participant has limited options to answering a question such as are you available at this time? X.ai philosophy with building an assistant is well articulated in this quote from theverge “We are hell-bent on being world class at this one thing – scheduling meetings. Not kind of half-assed at looking up a little bit of hotel rooms, doing a little bit of flights, no just really world class at scheduling meetings”
Got a parking ticket? Speeding ticket? Airline lost your luggage, delayed your flight, ruined your suit and you want some compensation? Landlord won’t fix what the contract says he has to? No need to pay a consultation fee, nor navigate a website till you find the relevant category. Your friendly bot lawyer at donotpay.co.uk will let you type in your problem and take you through your options from there. This bot has been helping consumers make Small Claims court easier than ever before.
This is a tricky one. While you definitely can’t rely on bots for medical advice, they can do wonders at managing patients, monitoring them and maintaining their prescribed routine. While it may not be your classic example of a Chatbot Sense.ly is a good example for using bots within the medical arena. It follows and maintain patient’s procedure, checks on their symptoms, monitor their vitals and reports an alarming development.
Finance is a great place to experiment with chatbots. Many inquiries are simple enough for a bot to understand, the data is often well structured and connected. This results in multiple bot applications developed for the sector. Both for consumers looking to track their expenses and for banks looking to turn some basic customer service inquiries to bots.
One solution worth mentioning in the consumer finance space is Cleo. What it does is simply keep track of your money in a simple conversational interface. It eliminates the need to build excel sheets and is friendlier than software solutions that do the same. A perfect example for a simple solution that takes some burden of your shoulder in a reliable way.
Growthbot stands out. Even though it’s extremely focussed in its vertical, it covers many topics and solutions and doesn’t have a structured flow to it. Yet it’s been designed by the CTO and Founder of Hubspot, and he’s done a couple of things right before, so it’s worth checking out. Its web page is also one of clearest presentation of a Chatbot’s functionalities you’ll see online.
This is one more vertical with a perfect use case for early bots. You need to put in the data and receive some options. It’s very simple, but with a good interface and friendly bot face you can get a lot done.
Checkout maya of Lemonade. Lemonade relies in its business on more than a bot, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that they’ve put into use an effective bot solution that is simple but is bound to survive, learn and evolve.
One of the busiest verticals for Bots. It seems elementary that when it comes to looking through different flight options you should be able to provide a bot with your preference and get the right flight booked for you (or at least significantly minimize the options you have to look at yourself).
And indeed most travel search engines, airlines companies and then some have a bot deployed. One solution worth mentioning is hipmunk or “your personal travel hipmunk” as they put it.
Bots are here to stay. Being intelligent entities, their evolution depends on their ability to survive the business eco-system. The bots that will survive are not the ones that are smartest, strongest or well financed. In order to survive bots need to answer a need in the market place and do so in a reliable and successful manner. Those solutions work best when keeping a lean operation and flexible structure. Testing every step of the way and being ready to go in a new direction at any time, responding to consumers demands and use habits.