Every day billions of us talk to each other on IM channels such as Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. We have an expectation for immediate answers and easy access to information, be it business operating times or where our couriered package is right now. Bots are perfectly aligned for that, as they can interact with popular chat services and provide human-friendly conversations to resolve queries both inside and outside the business.
“Software bots can do a lot,” said Riaan Bekker, Force Solutions Manager at thryve. “You can integrate them with your CRM to handle customer enquiries, such as finding an order status or applying for an ID book. They are also being used inside organisations for repetitive but necessary roles, such as managing meeting room requests or finding contact information from the internal address book. There’s a new use for them every day because they can take care of basic tasks that normally would require a human. That frees up people to focus on more complex problems and demanding customer needs.”
But bots sound like science fiction. How are they suddenly a reality in our world? The answer lies with modern software platforms.
In the past companies had to invest in expensive and elaborate IT projects that took years to implement with meagre results. Today any business can access a cloud platform at low cost, start training bots using the platform’s built-in AI and bot services, and expand as they manage demand. One of the most remarkable modern advances is the improvement of artificial intelligence, which benefits from the tremendous amount of information contained in Big Data and the convenient scaling power of cloud systems.
“Something many people don’t release is that the hard part – getting the software and infrastructure – is now quick and very affordable. You can start very small and adapt as demand grows. The new challenge is actually training the bot: like a new employee, you have to get the bot’s skills to match your business’ needs. But that’s a great problem to have, because all the barriers to get there, like costs, are no longer an issue.”